Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McGuinness

Brian McGuinness

Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Brian McGuinness is the Senior Vice President of Starwood's Specialty Select brands, including the Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton brands. McGuinness is responsible for development, strategic and creative direction, and overall performance of each of Starwood's select-serve lifestyle brands. Mr. McGuinness leads an integrated team, charged with ensuring the successful global launch of Starwood's first new brand introduction, Aloft Hotels, since the 1999 premiere of W Hotels; establishing Starwood's new green trailblazer, Element Hotels, as the extended-stay category leader and Starwood's green innovation lab; and re-launching the newly reinvented Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness began his career with Starwood in 1997. His tenure started at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers as Towers Manager, later transitioning to Reservations and Revenue Management Director. Successfully advancing through his hotel career, he was eventually tapped by Starwood corporate to roll-out a new property management technology platform and joined the creative team to launch the highly successful Starwood Preferred Guest Program. Continuing in marketing, he created the Global Marketing Operations group where he oversaw the execution of marketing programs globally. In 2002, furthering his entrepreneurial desires, Mr. McGuinness left Starwood to personally oversee the restoration of a charming bed and breakfast located on Cape Cod. After the successful completion of the restoration, Mr. McGuinness returned to Starwood's Manhattan-based offices to take on the challenge of leading one of the most exciting brand introductions in the hotel industry's history - Aloft Hotels. He relocated to Starwood's corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY in 2007 to lead the launch of both Aloft and Element Hotels worldwide, and has recently taken the reins on the Four Points by Sheraton brand. Mr. McGuinness grew up in New England, the youngest of seven children. His passion for the hospitality business started at a young age during annual international trips with his family to everywhere from Canada to Europe.

Mr. McGuinness can be contacted at 914-640-8100 or brian.mcguinness@starwoodhotels.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.