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 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.