Editorial Board   

Mr. Kalanda

Jan Kalanda

Co-Founder, Morgansheer Hospitality

Jan Kalanda is a co-founder of Morgansheer Hospitality, an in-house hospitality team at Level Group, an innovative, full-service commercial and residential New York real estate brokerage company. Born in Czechoslovakia, Mr Kalanda emigrated to the U.S. in 1983, becoming an American Citizen in 1989. Mr. Kalanda began his 32-year hospitality career as Chief Engineer at the Garden City Hotel in New York. This experience at an iconic, 1874 Long Island landmark, with 272 rooms, multiple restaurants, conference facilities and a spa, laid the foundation for his successful career in property and hotel management. In 2002, Mr. Kalanda became a founding member of HK Hotels. As Executive Vice President he oversaw the development, opening and operations of six properties over a 15 year span in New York and Prague. With HK Hotels, Kalanda was responsible for all aspects of the pre-opening from design, to construction, to coordinating the opening with the property supporting and operations teams. The luxury properties became premiere boutique hotels in NYC and Prague, including the 100-room Wales Hotel, the 103-room Elysée Hotel, 50-room Casablanca Hotel, 60-room Library Hotel, 73-room Giraffe Hotel and the 52-room Aria Hotel in Prague. In 2008 Mr. Kalanda joined the Gansevoort Hotel Group, a young and dynamic company that had the vision to develop its first property in New York’s Meatpacking District. The hotel became the company’s flagship and led to a complete renaissance in the area. As part of the Executive team, he was instrumental in searching, developing and opening new properties. A further three properties were added to the Gansevoort portfolio: the Gansevoort South in South Beach, Florida; the ultra deluxe Gansevoort Turks & Caicos; and the 249-room Gansevoort Park in Midtown, New York City. All properties are now globally established, thriving financially and remain stable. Recently, Kalanda helped to found the in-house hospitality team, Morgensheer Hospitality, at Level Group. Backed up by Level Group’s commercial brokerage resources, Kalanda and his partner, Trica Jean-Baptiste, are uniquely positioned to address the full scope of the hospitality industry’s real estate needs.

Mr. Kalanda can be contacted at 917-593 3037 or jan@kalanda.us

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.