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 April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.