Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Tufano

Phil Tufano

Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Kokua Hospitality

Phil Tufano had dedicated more than 30 years to mastering the art of adaptability in the hospitality industry. Overseeing a company with a portfolio of eight U.S. hotels of both independent and global hospitality brands, he leads Kokua Hospitality with the keyword of “open mindedness” front of mind. It's a philosophy that he has fine-tuned throughout his career in managing and repositioning hotels, which he instills in his operations teams at the Chicago-based company with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Jacksonville, FL. “Leadership is what distinguishes mediocre organizations from exceptional ones,” Mr. Tufano says. “People will mostly remember how you made them feel over what you said. Associates perform for managers they like, and for organizations they respect and believe in.” During his time at Kokua, Mr. Tufano has nearly quadrupled the team from an office of three people when he first came on board in 2007, while establishing Kokua as an industry-respected, third-party manager overseeing properties for Chartres Lodging Group, one of the largest hotel ownership groups in the United States. He notably oversaw the conversion of the 25-year-old Ocean Resort Hotel in Hawaii into the Hyatt Place Waikiki in 2011. In the three years that followed the reflagging, Kokua nearly tripled the net operating income to make the property one of the most successful Hyatt Place Hotels in the brand. Prior to joining Kokua, Mr. Tufano served in a senior management capacity at luxury resorts, as well as urban, convention, and all-suite properties during the 21 years he worked under the Global Hyatt Corporation umbrella. He made a significant impact on sales at properties across the United States and the Caribbean, as well as on the people around him by always bringing an enthusiasm and motivation that he fluently expresses. “In general, people want to do the right things, perform well, and be recognized so they can advance in their careers,” he says. “As a manager, you need to understand what skills your team needs to develop, openly communicate this, and give them the tools and guidance that they need to grow. From my experience, attitude equals altitude.”

Mr. Tufano can be contacted at 312-219-8050 or phil.tufano@kokuahospitality.com

Coming up in December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.