IN THE H T SEAT
Eric Danziger joined Hampshire Hotels
Management in April just as the company
was looking for growth opportunities as well
as a dose of stability. With founder Sant
Chatwal beset by legal issues, Danziger’s
mission is to reach development deals for
more hotels under Hampshire’s Chatwal,
Dream, Night and The Time brands. Danziger, who’s previously served as Starwood
Hotels’ CEO, Carlson Hotels’ COO and
CEO of Wyndham Worldwide’s Wyndham
Hotels division, spoke with hotels editor Danny King.
Q: How do you like the
A: I’m infinitely more at
peace with what I’m doing. I was with Wyndham for almost six
years, and I traveled
200 days a year. We
created a great hotel
company and grew it.
Now it’s time to do it
again. But it’s very different than Wyndham.
I get to live and work in New York City,
which is super cool.
Q: You joined the company under unusual circumstances: Founder Sant Chatwal in April pleaded guilty to a scheme
involving illegal donations toward Hillary
Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. How does that impact your job?
A: [Chatwal] is a very honorable guy, despite this mistake he made. He told me
about the issue before I reported to work.
I’ve known him
for 20 years, and I
think he’s a good
man who did a bad
thing. But it’s not
relevant to me or
our company today.
He’s a very caring,
loyal person, and …
I’m very pleased he was straightforward
Q: You’re coming from a company with
almost 7,200 hotels to one with 13 properties. What are your immediate goals?
A: We’re designing our strategy, which will
include five branded and managed hotel
[brands]: Chatwal, which is luxury; Dream,
We have 13 hotels now and probably 11
in the pipeline, although we have a busi-
ness plan that shows several hundred ho-
tels in our future. But I feel that brands
do the wrong things if they target
a number instead of targeting
the achievement of great ho-
tels. Growth will chase
Many hotel companies want to create
a product that makes
you feel at home. Our
product isn’t that. It
should be memorable.
Travel is hard.
Q: What’s going on
with New York’s Plaza
manages its food and beverage program,
while Fairmont oversees guestroom oper-ations.] The property is again rumored to
be for sale. Any change in plans for that
A: Every 13 minutes, there’s an article
about someone buying the Plaza. There’s
nothing I can add. We have a contract to
go forward irrespective of ownership. We
love [Subrata Roy, Sahara Group chief] as
an owner, but we can’t control the situation, nor do we know what his options are.
Q: You started as
a doorman at San
What are some of
your pet peeves?
A: The service
should start when
you hit a door. One
pet peeve is when I check into a hotel,
and the host asks, “Have you stayed at
our hotel before?” and I say, “Yes, I’ve
stayed with you 13 times. Why don’t you
know that?” Also, don’t let design lead
function. What can happen is that you
can end up in a bathroom with lighting
that looks cool except when you’re shav-
ing and you can’t see yourself shaving.
Hampshire Hotels Management Andy Stuart, execu- tive vice president of
global sales and passenger services for
Line, told of searching for his 14-year-old
daughter on a recent
cruise after she failed
to return to the cabin
by the 11 p.m. deadline Stuart had set. So
Stuart covered the entire ship, searching for
her until he finally found her dancing on
the tennis court with others at 12: 30. She’d
lost track of time.
But now, Stuart says, Norwegian has
an app for that. For $7.50 a week, passengers can get unlimited texting and phone
calls on the ship with Norwegian’s iCon-cierge app. So next time, Stuart can text his
The presence of chikungunya virus, or
Chik-V for short, the debilitating mosquito
disease that has spread throughout the Caribbean, hit home for TC at the annual
Caribbean Tourism Organization conference,
held last week in St. Thomas.
Wedged between brochures, booklets and
miniature bottles of rum inside the goodie
bags distributed at the State of the Industry
Conference were individual packets of insect repellent.
Kudos to the USVI tourism folks for also
including a pamphlet advising travelers
a r r i v i n g in the territory about how to
protect themselves from
this nasty bug and symptoms to watch for if
TC, for one, applied the repellent
What do Jane
of “ 30 Rock”; the San
Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker; “Vampire
Diaries” star Paul Wesley; restaurateur
Wolfgang Puck; Michael Kelly of “House of
Lies”; and Sophia Bush of “One Tree Hill”
all have in common?
All were all spotted in the Emirates Airlines suite at the U.S. Open semifinals in
New York earlier this month.
FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES
ven cruise executives can lose kids on their ships,
‘Many hotel companies want
to create a product that
makes you feel at home. Our
product isn’t that.’
JetBlue Airways named current
President Robin Hayes to succeed
Dave Barger as CEO, effective Feb.
16. Hayes has served as president
since 2013, and prior to that he
was British Airways’ executive vice
President for the Americas.
Baha Mar named Alex Pariente
executive vice president of international marketing for the Baha Mar
Casino & Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Most recently, Pariente served
as executive vice president of international and domestic marketing
for Wynn Resorts.
Martin Craigs has resigned as
CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel As-
sociation (PATA), effective Nov. 1.
Craigs had served as CEO since
October 2011. Mario Hardy, cur-
rent COO of PATA, will be the in-
terim CEO starting Nov. 1.
Martin Cody has been named
lodge manager at the Four Seasons
Safari Lodge, Serengeti. He previously served as resort manager
of the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.
Susan McKenna is NYC & Company’s new vice president of trade
shows and logistics, after seven
years with the organization. Her
previous role was senior director
of trade shows.
4 SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 WWW.TRAVELWEEKLY.COM
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Globus chairman Gordon to retire on Oct. 1
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Phillip Gordon, chairman of the Globus Family of
Brands and former president and CEO of the company, will retire Oct. 1.
Gordon spent 38 years with Globus, starting as
a tour director in Italy. He became COO in 1998
and in 2004 was appointed president and CEO.
In 2009, after being diagnosed with leukemia
and undergoing a bone marrow transplant, Gordon
stepped down as president and CEO and moved into the
“For nearly four decades, Phillip Gordon has played a major role in establishing what the Globus family of brands is in our market today,” said
Scott Nisbet, who succeeded Gordon as president and CEO. “It has been
an incredible honor working by his side. His successful battle to overcome
leukemia while continuing his role as chairman has served as an inspiration for us all.”