As a university pupil, Expotel Hospitality President and Chief Improvement Officer Michael Nixon was contemplating completely different careers—medication, regulation, and particularly, espionage—whereas working summers at a lodge. Describing his journey from his school days, he advised LODGING, “I had majored within the Russian language and minored in worldwide affairs, with ideas of becoming a member of the CIA or the NSA, that’s, till I factored within the beginning wage.” With a younger household to think about and years of progressively extra accountable positions in hospitality below his belt, upon commencement, he deserted ideas of turning into a spy to as an alternative change into normal supervisor of the lodge the place he’d lower his hospitality enamel.
Nixon stated he by no means regretted that call since hospitality suited him, because it does many others who possess the “hospitality gene.” “I’m in love with all of the issues that make good hoteliers—being with individuals, workers, and constructing groups,” he defined.
All of it started for Nixon at Mark II Seashore Resort (now Seahaven Seashore Lodge), in Panama Metropolis Seashore, Florida, the place he remained for practically eight years, beginning as an evening auditor whereas in school and turning into GM simply two years later. Then got here practically 25 years with Innisfree Resorts, beginning as GM of Beachside Resort and Convention Middle, additionally in Panama Metropolis.
At Innisfree, he obtained “25 years of mentorship” from founder Julian MacQueen, who he locations on the “prime of the checklist” of those that taught him the lodge enterprise. “So far as the nuts and bolts of lodge operations, lodge improvement, lodge purchases, and so forth.—I discovered all that from him.”
After all, Nixon was clearly desperate to study, proper from the beginning. “I used to be that man at all times asking for extra obligations, so Julian advised me to search out some inns that should be managed,” he stated. “So, though I didn’t know actually what I used to be doing, I’d make the calls, and generally stumbled throughout offers, lots of which labored out.”
He stated Innisfree was then a younger firm with just some inns, which it owned and managed, and there was a lot to do and study. “I helped develop a number of the instruments that they used to handle and monitor inns—I taught myself Excel—and likewise helped to construct the tradition throughout the firm.” Whereas he was being mentored by MacQueen and because the firm grew over time, he employed, mentored, and promoted others, a few of whom are nonetheless there in high-level positions.
Becoming a member of Expotel
Nixon stated of the transfer to Expotel after practically 25 years with Innisfree, “I beloved the individuals and my time at Innisfree, however after I was recruited by Expotel, I used to be on the level in my life that I needed to resolve whether or not or to not stay there for the remainder of my profession.” The provide, he stated, additionally included a partnership place, one thing not obtainable to him at Innisfree. Given the chance to change into an proprietor and tackle a brand new problem, Nixon accepted the place.
He described the change from being president of what had change into a big firm that owned the properties it managed to imagine that title at a comparatively small third-party administration firm. “It was positively a studying expertise. As a result of we’re a small firm, we don’t have an enormous infrastructure, which makes us agile,” he defined. The brand new function has additionally meant “sporting many hats,” he stated. “For instance, I underwrite inns, search for financing, and challenge income and internet incomes out over 5 to 10 years. I additionally advise on websites and markets—that’s, the strengths and weaknesses of inns, which of them to go after and which of them to keep away from, which of them are overpriced, which of them are underpriced.”
Figuring out with House owners
He stated Expotel’s small dimension additionally permits him to attach with house owners of the managed properties at a distinct degree, one thing he relishes. “I discover making these connections with the completely different house owners, with all their completely different particular person personalities, to be a problem and a thrill, too. We’re not simply working for only one particular person; we’ve got roughly 10 house owners,” he associated.
Nixon stated of his chief improvement officer title, “I do have a knack for what’s concerned in improvement—figuring out the small print alone or in conferences with others.” Nevertheless, he added, “I’m an operations man at coronary heart. If I had my druthers, I’d at all times be on the market assembly individuals, like on the entrance desk.” He added that being an proprietor has coloured his view of the place he holds. Though he at all times regarded each job as greater than a paycheck, being an proprietor has made him conscious of how “every part I do may gain advantage me personally sooner or later,” he stated.
Reflecting on his personal climb from evening auditor to president and accomplice, Nixon considers himself a primary instance of the rewards obtainable in hospitality—for these with the hospitality gene, that’s. “It’s not likely a 9-to-5 factor,” he asserted. “Individuals who view hospitality extra as a vocation, a calling, serve themselves and people round them finest.”
The Private Strategy to Prospecting: Making Connections the Proper Approach in a Put up-Pandemic World
Expotel President and Chief Improvement Officer Michael Nixon remembers his early efforts to snag third-party administration contracts by chilly calling potential shoppers, however stated there’s simply no substitute for in-person conferences at what he known as “the suitable reveals.” “Individuals wish to promote me lists of lodge executives, however I’ve discovered that the easiest way to get third-party contracts is thru face-to-face conferences,” he stated. Emphasizing the significance of seeing these faces, he commented on how that essential connection was impacted in the course of the pandemic: “It was horrible. All these 2020 conferences acquired canceled, after which in the course of the first a part of 2021, we had been all strolling round in masks and we didn’t know who anyone was.” That’s why, he stated, he’s now desperate to go “the place the persons are”—primarily house owners—such because the franchise house owners’ conferences, the annual Hunter Convention in Atlanta, and the Lodging Convention in Phoenix. At such occasions, he enjoys the contact and comradery. “Even when they don’t rent us as a administration firm, I like giving free recommendation, I’m completely satisfied to assist—I suppose it’s that hospitality factor.” EM