Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Westman

Stephen Westman

General Manager, The OUT Hotel, NYC

Stephen Westman has fourteen years of professional experience starting in advertising with Starcom Worldwide (a division of Leo Burnett) and later Eightball Media. After a brief stint in advertising, Westman transitioned into the hospitality industry, beginning with W Hotels. Stephen was later part of the opening team that launched the very first “urban” Hard Rock Hotel and was integral in developing the service standards and procedures as well as leading all activations related to the marketing and public relations initiatives for the launch of the Chicago project. In 2005, Mr. Westman left Hard Rock Hotel Chicago to open his first bar, The Lakeview Broadcasting Co. One year later, Mr. Westman expanded his Lakeview presence by opening the boutique The Lakeview Manufacturing Co., later rebranded as Clandestine Industries Landmark, named after and in partnership with hometown hero and Fallout Boy bassist, Pete Wentz', thriving clothing line. In 2008 Mr. Westman and Mr. Wentz (along with Pete's management company, Crush Music Management: Train, Gym Class Heroes, Fall Out Boy, Courtney Love, etc.) joined forces yet again to create and expand a nightlife empire. Mr. Westman became the managing partner of Angels & Kings, a celebrity-driven “dive bar” concept situated in New York City. Since the flagship opening in 2008, Mr. Westman has completed a comprehensive brand overhaul and has expanded the brand by procuring deals in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as a franchise deal in Barcelona, Spain in partnership with Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts. During this entrepreneurial stage, Mr. Westman established himself as a major player in the Chicago hospitality scene. His projects have received multiple accolades including “Best New (bar) Concept” by the Chicago Tribune's Red Eye edition. Stephen has also been featured in numerous local, regional and national media outlets including MTV News, Fast Company Magazine, PerezHilton.com, Crain's Chicago Business, NBC's “First Look” and On-Air with Ryan Seacrest to name just a few. Mr. Westman re-joined Hard Rock Hotel Chicago in 2010 as Operations Analyst, working directly with hotel ownership to identify, recruit and develop a team and operation that was a representation of the core values championed by owner, Charles Becker, and Executive Vice President of Becker Ventures, Carrie Becker Meghie. In 2011, Westman was named Hotel Manager for Hard Rock Hotel Chicago and subsequently took a more hands-on role with all facets of the business. That same year, Mr. Westman was invited to be become a partner in Becker Entertainment - a new division of the Becker empire. Most recently Westman was recruited by NYC developers/hoteliers Ian Reisner & Mati Weiderpass to become the General Manager of THE OUT NYC. As General Manager, Mr. Westman will again work alongside ownership to re-position the resort while maximizing the potential of the asset and team. Mr. Westman graduated from DePauw University with a major in Communication Arts & Sciences. He is a proud supporter of the Jackson Chance Foundation (www.jacksonchance.org) and a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. Mr. Westman currently resides in New York City.

Mr. Westman can be contacted at 212-947-2999 or Stephenw@theoutNYC.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.