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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.