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 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.