Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Katz

Ellis Katz

Principal and Hospitality Studio Director, John Portman & Associates

Ellis A. Katz is a Principal and the Hospitality Studio Director for John Portman & Associates (Portman). Dedicated and energetic, he is one of Portman's primary experts in the complexity of hospitality and mixed-use projects. Mr. Katz also heads the business development for the firm, currently concentrating on projects in the USA, India and Brazil. Client service is his number one priority. As a result, he often serves as the client's primary point of contact, providing clients with responsiveness and accountability. His leadership of project teams is aided by his clear understanding of the technical requirements of the project as well as sensitivity to the design issues. Excellent communication skills, combined with a positive personal demeanor, organizational expertise and conscientious follow-through, all work together to help keep the team focused. Mr. Katz not only personifies Portman's sensory/experiential approach to design, he also understands the business objectives of a hotel project as he works with the design team to ensure that firm projects deliver both a memorable guest experience as well as exceptional operational efficiency. He has been with the firm for 17 years and has worked in the industry for 31. Prior to joining Portman, Mr. Katz worked for ten years as an Associate Principal with Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Inc. in Chicago. His work there included design, master planning, and project management, with responsibility for complete project coordination through tenant move-in. Mr. Katz earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to being a registered architect, Mr. Katz is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He works out of John Portman & Associates' Atlanta office.

Mr. Katz can be contacted at 404-614-5040 or ekatz@portmanusa.com

Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.