Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Simmel

Keith Simmel

Principal, Cooper Carry

Keith Simmel is a Principal in Cooper Carry's hospitality studio. He joined Cooper Carry in 1992, was named Associate in 2003, Associate Director in 2005 and Principal in 2008. He has worked on numerous luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers across the United States. Some of his more notable projects include The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, a 255-room hotel, spa and conference center that has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including a coveted 5-star award from Mobil for both the hotel and spa. The Westin Alexandria & Jamieson Condominiums. The full service hotel is located in the Carlyle development of old town Alexandria, Virginia. The 14-story, 338,000 square foot facility consists of 320 hotel rooms, 79 luxury condominiums and approximately 18,000 square feet of meeting space, all sitting atop 2-1/2 levels of underground parking. The luxury condominiums are configured in units ranging from studios to 3 bedrooms, each with full kitchen, laundry, and 1 to 2-1/2 baths. Most recently, Mr. Simmel has been the lead designer for a large mixed-use dual brand (Hyatt Place - Hyatt House) hotel in the historic core of Charleston. This project was especially significant due to its location in the historic district of the city, requiring extensive multi-agency reviews to validate the design alignment with historically significant King Street neighborhood. Mr. Simmel also recently completed the dual-branded Residence Inn and Courtyard Hotel as part of a larger development that included an office building, a parking deck, and two freestanding restaurants in Lake Nona, just outside Orlando, Florida. Each brand has its own identity on both the exterior and the interior of the building, while still maintaining a unifying overall design composition and material palette. The project opened Fall of 2015. Mr. Simmel has extensive hospitality renovation experience, including projects for Marriott, Starwood and Four Seasons.

Mr. Simmel can be contacted at 404-240-9534 or keithsimmel@coopercarry.com

Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.