Justin Watzka, Founder of The Coachman Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, California, shares his experience of starting a hospitality business. Coachman Hotel was featured among the "Most Instagrammable New Hotels" in Vogue in Sept 2016.
Prior to starting his own hotel, Justin was with Marriott for about 7 years (Marriott Vacation Club and Ritz-Carlton). He did his undergrad from Cornell University and has an MBA from The Wharton School.
Some of the areas Justin touches upon in this episode include:
1. How Justin decided to start something to create his own mark and be in charge
2. How he attracted their first guests in the beginning
3. How he traveled extensively to gather good ideas to include in his hotel - eg: Learning from the emphasis on customer service in Asia
4. How it can be hard to raise money from banks for first timers in this space, since they tend to look for people with operational experience.
5. Rule of thumb - you can spend 1000 times the rate you can expect for a room
6. How hiring a great team is absolutely key - to handle operations, to handle real estate, etc.
7. It's important to decide how involved do you want to be - do you want to do the day to day checking-in etc? Or do you want to focus on more strategic long term initiatives?
8. Ways to scale: Eg: How you can scale by opening more properties or offering your management services
10. Resources to help you along
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