Driving Hospitality Forward

Lodging Luminaries with Jason Freed spotlights individuals making their mark in the hospitality industry. Every other week, Lodging Luminaries delivers a one-to-one conversation with hoteliers who are thinking differently about the future of hospitality. These are the movers and shakers in the industry who are in positions to create change and drive the industry forward. Guests are encouraged to discuss opportunities for hospitality leaders to be more creative, innovative and forward-thinking.

  • 10 | Carlos Flores: Sonesta has ‘very lofty ambitions’ as it pursues value in the lodging industry
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    September 9, 2021

    10 | Carlos Flores: Sonesta has ‘very lofty ambitions’ as it pursues value in the lodging industry

    Sonesta Hotels International’s CEO Carlos Flores has big dreams for the company he’s led since 2012. Over the past 18 months, he’s made some of them come true, shocking an industry in the throes of the coronavirus crisis. In Episode 10 of Lodging Luminaries podcast, host Jason Freed talks with Flores about how he decided to pull the trigger to propel the company as a major contender in the franchising space. He also shares his views on the franchiser-franchisee relationship as well as whether the adoption of new technology can enhance a hotel’s value.

  • 09 | Elie Khoury: ‘In every downturn, we learn and we take action’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    August 26, 2021

    09 | Elie Khoury: ‘In every downturn, we learn and we take action’

    Episode 9 of Lodging Luminaries with Jason Freed features Elie Khoury, EVP of operations at Aimbridge Hospitality, who says, in every economic downturn, hospitality owners and operators learn new ways of doing business. The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the challenge of staffing a hotel operation and Aimbridge Hospitality is taking an unconventional route by embracing the “gig economy” and preparing for the inevitable cultural shift it will create in the hospitality workplace.

  • 08 | Justin Jabara: ‘We have to be a world-class employer’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    August 12, 2021

    08 | Justin Jabara: ‘We have to be a world-class employer’

    Justin Jabara took the reins as president of Meyer Jabara Hotels in Danbury, Connecticut, in March 2020. He rose to the challenge and led the company through a time like no other. Meyer Jabara Hotels grew during the pandemic year 2020 as it was able to clearly identify assets with business models that proved relatively read more

  • 07 | Robert Cole: Hotel industry ‘still has a long way to go’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    July 27, 2021

    07 | Robert Cole: Hotel industry ‘still has a long way to go’

    Robert Cole is CEO of Hospitality Ventures Management Group, a third-party management company he founded 20 years ago. HVMG manages more than 40 hotels. Since establishing HVMG, Cole has led hotel teams through various crises, including 9/11, the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode of Lodging Luminaries, host Jason Freed talks with Cole about how HVMG managed to do more than merely eke out a profit from the hotels in its portfolio during the pandemic. Over the past 18 months, it exceeded the industry’s average house-profit levels. Cole talks about the tough decisions that were made amid the crisis to save the hotels under HVMG’s care and how HVMG has adjusted its business model to succeed in post-pandemic America.

  • 06 | Michael Levie: Transformational thinking will save hotel industry post-pandemic
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    July 8, 2021

    06 | Michael Levie: Transformational thinking will save hotel industry post-pandemic

    Michael Levie is co-founder and operations chief of Citizen M, a tech-forward luxury lifestyle hotel brand that caters to the frequent traveler, the mobile citizen. Lodging Luminaries podcast spotlights innovators in the hospitality industry and Levie is a prime example of a hotelier who thinks differently about the form and function of lodging. He has built a company culture that encourages creativity and ‘what-if’ thinking. In this episode Lodging Luminaries host Jason Freed talks with Levie about the importance of opening yourself to transformational ideas as the global hotel industry emerges from the wreckage of the coronavirus crisis.

  • 05 | Talene Staab: More women owners means better hotels
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    June 24, 2021

    05 | Talene Staab: More women owners means better hotels

    Talene Staab, global brand head of Tru by Hilton, has been with the franchiser her whole career. The midscale brand launched in 2016 and in 2019 Staab took the reins to lead the growth of Tru, which is closing in on its 200th opening. In Episode 5 of Lodging Luminaries, Staab talks with host Jason Freed about her experience as a global brand head of a new-build concept continuously undergoing tweaks and revisions and what she and Hilton are doing to encourage more women to invest in hotels. She also dives into the work Tru has done around augmenting the guest experience through design and personalization, turning a hotel into more than a place to rest your head but a key part of your overall travel experience.

  • 04 | Mit Shah: ‘Every day feels more and more normal’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    June 10, 2021

    04 | Mit Shah: ‘Every day feels more and more normal’

    Mit Shah’s story of success is a lot like that of his fellow Asian American hoteliers. He grew up working in his father’s motel and a few years after graduating college convinced his father to sell the roadside asset and invest in a new concept called a limited-service hotel. In his conversation with Lodging Luminaries host Jason Freed, Mit Shah, CEO of Noble Investment Group, shares his cautious forecast about the future of hotel ownership, when people will return to work and why travel will rebound as, after more than a year of lockdowns, people are eager to meet face to face.

  • 03 | Sloan Dean: ‘We have to think differently’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    May 27, 2021

    03 | Sloan Dean: ‘We have to think differently’

    Remington Hotels named Sloan Dean president and CEO just a few months before the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. and decimated its hospitality industry. Dean, a self-described millennial, said the lodging sector is taking on a new look as companies restructure their executive and line-level ranks and leisure travelers hit the road. The post-pandemic world requires new ways of doing business, Dean said, noting new labor models and the emergence of a chief commercial role to oversee all aspects of revenue. Episode 3 of Lodging Luminaries features host Jason Freed and Dean in a thought-provoking conversation about what’s ahead for hospitality.

  • 02 | ‘Own the Upswing’
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    May 13, 2021

    02 | ‘Own the Upswing’

    Daniel Del Olmo has led a storied career in hospitality leadership. Over the past 25 years he’s held roles at Sol Melia, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, DineEquity and sbe Lifestyle Hospitality. Today, Del Olmo is president and chief operating officer at Sage Hospitality Group, a third-party manager in Denver, Colorado. He joined the company just read more

  • 01 | Virgin Hotels: An Example of Where the Industry is Headed
    LODGING LUMINARIES
    April 29, 2021

    01 | Virgin Hotels: An Example of Where the Industry is Headed

    Raul Leal had been in leadership roles in the boutique lodging sector for 15 years when he first met Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, which includes Virgin Hotels. In a conversation with Lodging Luminaries host Jason Freed, Leal shares his first meeting with Branson more than a decade ago when the business magnate read more

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