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 June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.