Editorial Board   

Mr. Tess

John Tess

President & CEO, Heritage Consulting Group

John Tess started Heritage in 1982 when the historic preservation field was still in its infancy. Mr. Tess was working at the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, responsible for reviewing HTC applications. He saw that developers and architects were submitting applications where they clearly did not understand the program rules, and also did not put their projects in a favorable light.

Mr. Tess believed that, with proper guidance, applicants could secure NPS approvals quicker, achieve an overall better project and, by being efficient, be more profitable. These were the guiding principles he used to form Heritage. With the firm based in Portland, Mr. Tess quickly established a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his clients.

By the 1990s, Heritage dominated historic preservation work in Oregon and Mr. Tess actively pursued HTC work across the country. Heritage secured projects in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami Beach and other major metropolitan areas. Many of the projects were historic boutique hotels, only then becoming popular.

As with Portland clients, national clients appreciated Mr. Tess's tenacity, creativity and advocacy. One of the few tax credit consultants whose roots go back to the beginning, Mr. Tess is well regarded as a voice for the private developer in the continuing public debate on how to create better HTC program. It was for this perspective that he was asked by Presidential First Lady, Laura Bush, to participate in Preserve America, a national summit to review historic preservation in the United States, and to offer strategic direction moving forward in the 21st century.

In addition to frequently speaking at conferences for both public and private sectors, he also has a regular column in Novogradac's Journal of Tax Credits. Mr. Tess is a board member of Preservation Action, the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association and an active participant in the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, sitting on their Historic Preservation Committee.

Over the years, he has sat on many Governor-appointed boards, appointed by Governor Theodore Kulongoski to Oregon's Task Force on Historic Property, and was elected its Chair. He currently serves as a Governor-appointed board member of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Mr. Tess can be contacted at 503-228-0272 or jmtess@heritage-consulting.com

Coming up in April 2020...

Guest Service: First Impressions Matter

Hotels spend large amounts of money on marketing their operation and brand, but sometimes they fail to remember that guest service is the lifeblood of their business. It is outstanding guest service that allows a hotel to create an amazing and lasting impression, one that will remain with guests far beyond the duration of their stay. In pre-internet days, first impressions were formed the moment a guest walked through a hotel's front door. These days, first impressions are created long before a guest arrives at a hotel property. They begin when a customer visits a hotel's website or social media pages for the first time. When a guest connects with a property online, they immediately form an opinion of the hotel. First impressions matter and because of that, a hotel website should be mobile-friendly with blistering fast speed; it should be graphically appealing; and it should provide visual representation of the kind of experience a guest can expect. It is also vital to engage the customer; to actively solicit and respond to guest feedback. When a hotel personally engages with someone, it is demonstrating to other customers that guest opinions matter, and that management is willing to go the extra mile to provide superior guest service. Similarly, when a hotel sends out personalized emails with satisfaction surveys attached, it demonstrates that management values guest feedback, so that service can be improved at every level. Additionally, social media messages can be sent out prior to a guest's arrival to learn more about them, so their visit can be personalized. It's the small touches and details that are most remembered and appreciated. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate excellent guest service in their operations.