Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Katz

Ellis Katz

Principal and Hospitality Studio Director, John Portman & Associates

Ellis A. Katz is a Principal and the Hospitality Studio Director for John Portman & Associates (Portman). Dedicated and energetic, he is one of Portmanís primary experts in the complexity of hospitality and mixed-use projects. Mr. Katz also heads the business development for the firm, currently concentrating on projects in the USA, India and Brazil. Client service is his number one priority. As a result, he often serves as the clientís primary point of contact, providing clients with responsiveness and accountability. His leadership of project teams is aided by his clear understanding of the technical requirements of the project as well as sensitivity to the design issues. Excellent communication skills, combined with a positive personal demeanor, organizational expertise and conscientious follow-through, all work together to help keep the team focused. Mr. Katz not only personifies Portmanís sensory/experiential approach to design, he also understands the business objectives of a hotel project as he works with the design team to ensure that firm projects deliver both a memorable guest experience as well as exceptional operational efficiency. He has been with the firm for 17 years and has worked in the industry for 31. Prior to joining Portman, Mr. Katz worked for ten years as an Associate Principal with Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Inc. in Chicago. His work there included design, master planning, and project management, with responsibility for complete project coordination through tenant move-in. Mr. Katz earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to being a registered architect, Mr. Katz is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He works out of John Portman & Associatesí Atlanta office.

Mr. Katz can be contacted at 404-614-5040 or ekatz@portmanusa.com

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.