Forktales Ep 09 / Azzi Kashani / Hotel Leader & Hospitality Nerd

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Azzi is an absolute hospitality nerd who has traveled and worked around the globe for notable hotel brands. Her love of people and the industry shines in this episode where we discuss how hotel brands can attract travelers, get better at serving them, and find a path forward post-pandemic.

Azzi is an absolute hospitality nerd who has traveled and worked around the globe for notable hotel brands. Her love of people and the industry shines in this episode where we discuss how hotel brands can attract travelers, get better at serving them, and find a path forward post-pandemic.

BACKGROUND/HISTORY

  • Shadowed the manager at the Beverly Region hotel where Pretty Woman was filmed
  • Worked with Miami Heat in the past and got to meet people from all over the world
  • Recruited by Marriott and entered into the sector in Atlanta
  • Came back to Los Angeles and got introduced to an owner opening a new hotel. Developed the brand and marketing for this hotel. IT was the first independent boutique property before it was a thing in LA.
  • Started a no-networking event in downtown to get people together. Getting people to come into town to experience the city.
  • Went to school in Switzerland and got exposed to people from all over the world.
  • Starting helping GMs with their ROI and renovations and F&B revamps at Swiss Hotels with Lillian Rotan
  • Moved to Dubai for a time then came back to LA to work with Allbright, a woman’s group to help them with different stages of career.
  • Currently consulting with hotels and hospitality companies in Los Angeles to help disrupt the market

Notable Quotes

“You need to be looking at everything coming in and use them as inspiration for innovation.” – Azzi Kashani 

  • “There will be the ones who were not ruined by the pandemic who are poised to capitalize.” – Joseph Szala
  • “You don’t get locals to come in by making the food and beverage brand by making it look like the meeting room” – Joseph Szala

Notes

  • You can never go back and say things are going to go back to normal. You have to look to the future
  • Expectations of service have changed. You have to up your game. 
  • A no-brainer is that technology and innovation has changed. The expectations of guests before they arrive.
  • Ease of the use of the website. They’re used to things being simple. Click of a button brings the world. This needs to be more innovative and hotels are known to be dinosaurs in this regard.
  • There are people breaking the industry with points and hotels need to get creative with rethinking rewards and what points can do in a way that’s unique to the brand.
  • Show what a room looks like! Sometimes you have to call the hotel and ask if the rooms have been renovated recently.
  • Joseph’s wife needs to start a blog finding great places to stay.
  • Are influencers losing their uniqueness and effectiveness? Are micro-influencers the future? Social media isn’t really and micro influencers are being smart about their intentions and posts being more real. Their experiences are real and valid. 
  • What’s the incentive for booking direct? It needs to be clear so people do it. We need clearer benefits.
  • Biggest difference between International hospitality and American hospitality? Reimagination of boutique hotels. Around the world, she was introduced to the idea of boutique hotels before they influenced stateside thinking. We have a penchant for standardization in the US but it misses the local flair. 
  • Adaptability of different positions in boutique hotels are a big difference. The person who checks you in is your concierge, too. This builds a connection throughout the stay. You talk to the same person for everything.
  • Food and beverage is amazing overseas versus in the States where it’s only become hot since the mid-2000s.
  • We discussed how food and beverage can increase the value of a brand and experience both for the guest and for the hospitality company.
  • The Rambler Hotel in Denver
  • 11Howard in New York
  • We discuss why you should work with a different designer for food and beverage and one for the hotel to create a difference space and experience. Not just for resorts but all hotels.

NOTABLE QUOTES

 

  • “You need to be looking at everything coming in and use them as inspiration for innovation.” – Azzi Kashani 
  • “There will be the ones who were not ruined by the pandemic who are poised to capitalize.” – Joseph Szala
  • “You don’t get locals to come in by making the food and beverage brand by making it look like the meeting room” – Joseph Szala

NOTES

  • You can never go back and say things are going to go back to normal. You have to look to the future
  • Expectations of service have changed. You have to up your game.
  • A no-brainer is that technology and innovation has changed. The expectations of guests before they arrive.
  • Ease of the use of the website. They’re used to things being simple. Click of a button brings the world. This needs to be more innovative and hotels are known to be dinosaurs in this regard.
  • There are people breaking the industry with points and hotels need to get creative with rethinking rewards and what points can do in a way that’s unique to the brand.
  • Show what a room looks like! Sometimes you have to call the hotel and ask if the rooms have been renovated recently.
  • Joseph’s wife needs to start a blog finding great places to stay.
  • Are influencers losing their uniqueness and effectiveness? Are micro-influencers the future? Social media isn’t really and micro-influencers are being smart about their intentions and posts being more real. Their experiences are real and valid.
  • What’s the incentive for booking direct? It needs to be clear so people do it. We need clearer benefits.
  • Biggest difference between International hospitality and American hospitality? Reimagination of boutique hotels. Around the world, she was introduced to the idea of boutique hotels before they influenced stateside thinking. We have a penchant for standardization in the US but it misses the local flair.
  • Adaptability of different positions in boutique hotels are a big difference. The person who checks you in is your concierge, too. This builds a connection throughout the stay. You talk to the same person for everything.
  • Food and beverage is amazing overseas versus in the States where it’s only become hot since the mid-2000s.
  • We discussed how food and beverage can increase the value of a brand and experience both for the guest and for the hospitality company.
  • The Rambler Hotel in Denver
  • 11Howard in New York
  • We discuss why you should work with a different designer for food and beverage and one for the hotel to create a different space and experience. Not just for resorts but all hotels.

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