Q&A with Twenty Four Seven Hotels’ Vice President of Operations Leesa Gibbons

Ramp up ROI when you invest in your hotel’s team. By providing valuable skills to your employees, you’ll pass on the benefits to your guests – further maximizing your hotel’s revenue and profitability. Here’s how to offer each guest a five-star experience through the eyes of Leesa Gibbons – an industry expert with 20 years of hospitality management experience.

What is the common denominator for a poor guest experience?

When it takes only three to five seconds for someone to form a first impression, the pressure is high to make it an impactful one. If your guest is frustrated with the Front Desk right off the bat, then he or she is much more likely to scrutinize other elements of their stay – from room quality and service to hotel amenities and location.

What is the common denominator for a great guest experience?

A positive hotel experience is all about people, people, and more people. If your guest is checked in by a friendly, helpful and hospitable hotel clerk they are already off to a great start to their stay.

Advances in technology to better serve your guests is a great asset to any hotel, however, if it’s not paired with authentic human interaction then you risk losing guests who appreciate the personalized experience. Humanizing your hotel creates trust in those brand to consumer relationships.

How do you hire and train your property staff to fuel those positive experiences, then?

Twenty Four Seven Hotels is in the trenches with hands-on training, webinars, group work with managers and continuous team encouragement. We strike the right balance between empowerment and accountability without our hotels feeling like they’re micromanaged. We influence our hotels to take an owner’s approach to your bottom line.

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Leesa Gibbons, VP of Operations, kicks off a corporate-wide annual meeting with General Managers and Sales Directors.

In terms of hiring, we look for three main characteristics:

  1. Adaptability – Is this the personality we want navigating through the ever-changing world of hospitality as the face of Twenty Four Seven Hotels?
  2. A service-oriented mentality – Someone with a solidified understanding that the guest comes first without letting back-end operations fall by the wayside.
  3. Industry Acumen – We look beyond the necessary experience dealing with day-to-day hotel operations and seek lifelong learners who stay abreast of new developments in hospitality.

What are the top three amenities that hotel guests search for when booking a hotel?

Location plays a major role in the success of any trip, whether you’re traveling on business and need to stay near your three-day conference or you’re on vacation and want to be close to all of the city’s hot spots. A centrally-located hotel will significantly impact the amount of time you spend navigating the area, how much you spend on taxis or time stuck in traffic.

High-Speed Internet. As modern-day hoteliers, it’s become top priority to secure the speediest internet so guests can conveniently work from their rooms, flip on their anxiously awaited episode of Game of Thrones or browse through their social feeds. Bonus stars to your hotel if your Wi-Fi is free because isn’t that a fundamental right? 

Hospitality. It might seem a bit redundant, but your hotel needs to be painlessly simple for guests to navigate and experience as soon as they walk through the door. Tangible hospitality comes in different forms for different brands – it could be in-room tech, valet service, or simply well-trained associates. No matter the means, hotels must cater to the entire spectrum of guests’ needs and wants (with grace and gusto, to boot).

How does Twenty Four Seven Hotels analyze a property and its guest experiences?

Collect guest feedback and online reviews. All levels of our staff take the time to acknowledge each comment – good, bad or ugly – to take ownership and demonstrate appreciation for your hotel guests. We not only make amends on the property level, but also pull in guest sentiments to tweak our portfolio-wide approach.

Evaluate. Guest interactions with your hotel staff directly translates into those positive and negative testimonials, so it’s important to empower your employees to amend guest problems efficiently while also addressing the underlying issue that led to those pain points.

Learn from your mistakes. It’s an age-old saying but, in the hospitality industry, gaining an understanding from your mishaps shows resilience and inherently improves your property’s performance. Whether you need a motivating team huddle, a refresh in sales training or a boost in company morale, Twenty Four Seven Hotels is continuously seeking ways to craft a kick-ass guest experience and a tangible return on investment – all the while exceeding bottom-line standards.

What does Twenty Four Seven Hotels do to enhance guest experiences for its hotels?

Be techy. Hotel technology is fundamental in attracting and retaining your guests, and that means researching a broad range of solutions that create a premium guest experience. For instance, hotel check-in and check-out are expected to be quick, easy and readily available on a smart device.

Identify hotel trends. From lifestyle brands to furiously fast Wi-Fi, your hotel must consider the new innovations year over year. Sustain a competitive advantage by keeping up and surpassing your rivals in the ever-evolving world of technology, travel habits, guest expectations and hotel standards. Tune into hospitality podcasts.

Rapid turnaround. When problems arise at your hotel, for instance, if the A/C goes out, Twenty Four Seven Hotels is prepared with an established team and solution to quickly dissolve the problem so that you can focus on your hotel without the added stress of the unexpected.

Input real ROI. We provide our hotels with detailed action plans on just how our oversight raises gross revenue and increases REVPAR. Our customized hotel management platform translates into operations that are seamless, timely, and vital to the profitability of each property. Having managed hotels through all economic business cycles, we know that hands-on focus, flexibility, and responsiveness are required to manage financially distressed hotels, from crisis to recovery effectively.

We are capable of quickly deploying transition teams to secure the asset, implement financial controls, stabilize the operation and staffing, contain costs, protect and grow market share, and ultimately protect overall asset value.

What are the top 3 ways that Twenty Four Seven Hotels impacts the bottom line of its hotel properties?

Sharing best practices with real industry experience. Each of our leaders, from corporate to property, brings different core strengths to a Twenty Four Seven Hotels managed property. We believe that the unity and continuity of those core strengths are the bases of our competitive advantage over other hotel management firms. The outcome of each hotel project is a well-crafted melody, composed of operational strategies we’ve perfected over decades of experience.

Ownership approvals and recognition. An owner’s insight and support is a vital part of a successful hotel, and Twenty Four Seven Hotels places a great deal of value in their opinion. Our success comes from an owner’s approach, proven with measurable results in all areas of operations. We provide an operator’s eye and an owner’s approach to all hotel investments.

Alignment of goals and expectations. When your team is aware of its goals and expectations, individuals are more motivated to exceed them and deliver premium results.  We believe that happy stays mean happy returns – not just by the guest, but at the bottom line for owners, by outperforming our competitive sets on a consistent basis. So that whole ‘kick-ass guest experience’ part of our Mission starts with ‘crafting an inspired workplace’ for our team members.

Allow Twenty Four Seven Hotels to maximize your return by inspiring your hotel’s team and further providing a kick-ass guest experience. Let’s build something together: https://www.247hotels.com/get-in-touch.php.

About Leesa Gibbons:

247 Hotels-leesa-gibbons-vice-president-operationsLeesa brings more than 20 years of hospitality management experience having held positions with several Hilton, Choice, and Starwood brands, ranging from luxury hotels to select-service properties.

As Vice President of Operations, Leesa provides guidance and support to hotel management teams to help drive revenue and profitability. Above all, Leesa protects assets by implementing our standard processes and procedures, instilling a guest-centric culture, and ensuring that the properties operate at their full potential.

Prior to joining Twenty Four Seven Hotels, Leesa held leadership positions in operations, sales & marketing, and accounting. She has an accomplished career including fulfilling the role of opening General Manager for Homewood Suites leading her team in eventually receiving the brand’s top award, the Connie Pride Hotel of the Year, in its first year of operation.

“You can be a master / Don’t wait for luck / Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself / Standing in the hall of fame” ~ Hall of Fame, The Script

About Twenty Four Seven Hotels:

Twenty Four Seven Hotels specializes in providing hotel management, investment and development for premium brand select-service and lifestyle hotels segments in the Western U.S. We offer a full spectrum of services in Hospitality Management, Hotel Investment, Hotel Design & Construction and Hotel Asset Management.

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