Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Birmele

Henri Birmele

Managing Director, Hotel Shangrila Santa Monica

Henri Birmele, Managing Director, Hotel Shangrila, Santa Monica, CA has more than 25 years experience in every aspect of the hospitality industry. During his long career, he has worked in a variety of key positions all the while growing his knowledge and skills. He has moved through such assignments as a Director of Operations, Director of Food and Beverage, Hotel Manager, Vice President of Hospitality, General Manager to his current position as Managing Director. Before coming to Hotel Shangrila in 2010, Mr. Birmele's high profile career included executive positions at Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, CA.; Sheraton Universal, Universal City, CA.; Viceroy Hotel, Santa Monica, CA.; St. Regis, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA; and Turnberry Isle Resort and Spa, Miami, Fl. 
 A graduate of the prestigious Hotel School Lausanne in Switzerland, Mr. Birmele also has a degree in Global Business from the Benedict Business School in Zurich. During his career, he has had oversight for opening three new hotel properties as well as three hotel renovations. In his executive roles and within the industry, he is known for his project planning and management skills; human resources, team-building, staff retention and motivational skills; and cost cutting and profit building initiatives. A visible, hands-on manager, he is a staunch advocate for building strong relationships with all key constituent groups—everyone from guests, staff, owners/partners to community leaders, civic officials and vendors. His real-world approach to problem solving and his wealth of experience has allowed him to meet the challenges in the fast-paced and ever-changing hotel and hospitality industry.

Mr. Birmele can be contacted at 310-394-2791 or henri@shangrila-hotel.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.