Scott Nassar is a Senior Executive with proven leadership experience in the highly competitive, hospitality related companies. His experience is diverse and includes companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for 16 years where he led numerous 5 Star, 5 Diamond Hotels / Resorts and over that time the company won two (2) Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards.
He assumed the reins for the hotel division at Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. (now Caesar’s Entertainment) where he assisted in doubling the size of the company from 12 hotel casinos to 24. He was recruited to become the Senior Vice-President of Hotel Operations for Wyndham Vacation Ownership with over 72 properties. He then accepted the role as Senior Vice-President of Resort Operations for Orange Lake Resorts and grew the company to 15 resorts. In August 2015, he transitioned back into the hotel sector when joining the Loews Philadelphia Hotel as Managing Director.
Nassar has led numerous organizations’ through performance improvement by way of various aspects of the business such as Sales, Operations, Development, Total Quality Management, Strategic Planning, Property Acquisitions, Brand Design and Implementation, Cultural Transformation, Asset Valuation, etc. He has successfully acquired, transitioned, branded, opened and/or re-opened 65 properties throughout his career.
THE NASSAR STORY —
Having been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, there hasn’t been one event in the beginning of my career that prompted me to continue down this great career path, however there has been one thing that has kept me going. What is it you might ask? The people. To me, the people, include my hotel team members across any of the five brands I have worked for, as well as the people that have stepped inside any of the properties I have managed throughout my career. It’s their attitude, their smile, the daily warm gestures and more. Every day I hope to inspire my staff and our customers the way they inspire me to keep growing in my career. Having been at Loews Hotels & Co for the past three years, I continue to be amazed how attentive our team members are to our guests requests and how complimentary our guests are to our staff. It is for that reason I continue to have the energy, leadership and relationships I do here at Loews Hotels & Co and throughout my entire career.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
It’s really two things I think about in the morning. I think about how we service our guests at Loews Philadelphia Hotel and encourage leadership with my team members. Once these two things are in place, it gives us a strong foundation for success – whether it’s through an event we do in Bank & Bourbon, group we service on the 33rd floor of our iconic building, or can be seen through smiling faces from our hotel employees and guests.
What key lessons did the lodging industry learn from The Great Recession in ’07-’09?
Taking care of our guests and team members is at the core of our business. This type of service builds loyalty – guests will stay with you through it all and return when the economy improves.
What distinguishes Baby Boomers from Millennials in terms of their preferences and consumer habits?
While there are obvious differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials, there are also a lot of similarities. At Loews Philadelphia, we aren’t specifically targeting a traveler based on what age bracket they fall into, we are targeting guests based on their travel preferences and priorities such as providing high level of service and value and through technology.
Technology has enabled us to better determine our traveler’s preferences prior to arrival, during their trip and after they leave. Millennials might share their experience over Instagram and Twitter, while Baby Boomers might share their comments on sites like TripAdvisor.
Customer service is often touted by those in the lodging and tourism areas — define the term and how you apply it in your role?
Customer Service is up to the individual based on their expectations. Our team members identify the individual’s perspective in advance so we can be proactive and reactive. Identify the nuances with customer engagement and personalize that service to make them feel valued which is a critical component to our business.
What specific steps do you take to follow-up with customers after their stay?
We can follow up with our customers after their stay through a variety of ways – through emails, phone, and even letters however the most popular way is through TripAdvisor. I personally address the comments and reviews on the platform to ensure we never lose a customer. Our guests experience with us doesn’t end when they walk out of the hotel, it is ongoing and we have to ensure we continue to develop trust with our customers.
The BMW golf event will be played at Aronimink in Newtown Square in early September. What impact does hosting a significant golf event have for Philadelphia and the surrounding area?
This golf event brings in a high level of individual guests, media, potential players and their families that want to stay here. These guests will expect uninterrupted and attended service and we need to elevate any issues that may interfere with winning tournaments. This is not uncommon for anyone that comes to stay with us. Whether it been an athlete, CEO, or city official, it is imperative we address any guest need on a daily and hourly basis.
Define the Loews philosophy regarding the manner in which it operates in the lodging category.
Loews is not a mega brand. We are a luxury hospitality company that owns or operates 24 hotels in the United States and Canada. We are a small brand that focuses primarily on engaging the customer and personalized service every day they come here. Our guests don’t stay with us for rewards or points, they choose us for our family philosophy and team members. Loews Philadelphia Hotel is a home away from home and this is what separates our brand from others.
The hotel does provide a golf connection via Scotland Run in NJ — how important an element does golf play for your guests?
Over 65% of our guests are part of groups. Many of our groups like to have a half day of relaxation or fun. Scotland Run is a great golf course 25 minutes away from the hotel which provides a wonderful experience to a traditional links styled course.
What is the biggest challenge — short and long term — impacting those in the lodging industry?
The development of our teams is one of the biggest challenges. Developing team members takes time and patience but it is necessary. We have an extremely high retention rate with our team members and we welcome opportunities to support them in their growth.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Ensure you create the right culture and environment for your team members where they have a workplace that fosters empowerment and directly impacts their experience. “I may have an important role here at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, but the people that directly service the customers are more important! – Horst Schulze, Former President Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
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