One of the world’s leading luxury hospitality companies, together with two highly-respected and experienced real estate development firms – experts in residential, hospitality, and mixed-use real estate development – will open a luxury hotel and private residences in the downtown of New Orleans in late 2020. The property is owned by a private LLC, in which both developers are partners.
Bringing renewed glamour to the heart of this dynamic city, the developers are transforming an historic landmark occupying two acres of prime riverfront real estate. This totally redesigned iconic building commands both the riverfront and the city’s skyline, close to 500 feet from ground to rooftop. The developers have reimagined both the building and its site to create the zenith of residential living – a new social hub, a place where local heritage, contemporary design, and gracious service come together. The landmarked tower combines original details, a new design vision, and thoughtful amenities.
More than just a new luxury building, a cornerstone of the development features the two top floors as a world-class sightseeing attraction: a rotunda on the 33rd floor will transform into a museum-like cultural celebration of the state’s heritage, featuring interactive exhibits with cutting-edge technology; and an open-air observation deck on the top of the building will offer stunning 360-degree views of the city. At day, these spaces will be available to the ticketed public; at night, the spaces will be rented out to private events by the hotel operator.
The tourist attraction, currently unnamed, is expected to open to the public in June 2021 and will occupy 30,000 sq. ft., employ 25-30 staff, attract 400-500 thousand annual visitors, and generate $10 million of annual revenue. It will include an eye-catching exterior media installation and ticketing booth on the hotel terrace, as well as a gift shop, cafe, and photo booth on the second floor. All of the exhibitry has been designed and is in fabrication. The entrance to the attraction will be on the opposite side of the building from the hotel entrance and will have its own dedicated elevators. The hotel will provide security, FOH, and cleaning staff for all the facilities, and the evening rentals will be managed with its own sales and service staff. All other staff will be employed by the LLC.
SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The General Manager, Attraction (GM) will be given the unique opportunity to build and grow the business of this one-of-a-kind world-class tourist attraction. He or she will play the lead role in developing, implementing, and managing the operational aspects of the annual budget and business plan and will have responsibility for overall daytime operations at the attraction, the day-to-day staff management, and guest service strategy implementation. He or she will be the external face of the organization and its chief executive, providing leadership and strategic planning to all departments in support of the company’s service culture, maximized operations, and guest satisfaction. He or she will actively lead attraction-wide policy decisions, strategic planning, marketing strategy, resource allocation, and representation of the board’s mission and brand. The GM will be a key member of the community and represent the organization at convention and visitors bureaus and other tourist-oriented entities.
Much of the groundwork has been laid for this person to be successful: he or she will partner with the board and members of an advisory board; he or she will inherit masterfully designed exhibits (few value engineering decisions need to be made on the construction and the GM will make ongoing content decisions); a feasibility study has already been completed; and this person will, of course, have the global brand of the leading provider of luxury hospitality behind him or her.
Among the many exciting opportunities and responsibilities for the GM, include:
Developing an annual operating plan and financial budget that supports the attraction’s short-term and long-term fiscal and facility goals, responsibilities, and requirements. Responsible for the preparation, presentation and subsequent achievement of the attraction’s annual operating budget; sales, marketing, and public relations plan; and capital budget;
Setting and meeting projections for attendance-related revenue centers. This includes management of vendors and contract responsibilities. Maximizing attendance yield and net revenue through innovative sales/marketing/PR practices and yield management programs;
Developing, maintaining, and enhancing operations and procedures to achieve best guest experiences. Responding to audits to ensure continual improvement is achieved;
Keeping the board informed of the attraction’s performance and events affecting its affairs, including opportunities and adverse or positive developments;
Liaising with hotel management and ensuring a mutually profitable business relationship (the hotel will provide training/orientation of LLC staff and support the business efforts of the attraction, the attraction will reciprocate support of the business efforts of the hotel);
Ensuring that there is clarity of objectives and focus for all employees and ensuring that there are clear and appropriate standards and measures of performance;
Holding regular briefings and meetings with all head of departments and holding them accountable for responsibilities;
Monitoring legal issues and prospective legislation affecting public cultural facilities on a local, state, national, and international level;
Ensuring full compliance to attraction operating controls, policies, procedures and service standards;
Taking ownership of all guest complaints and overseeing the service recovery procedures;
Leading all key property issues including capital projects, guest service, and refurbishment;
Engaging the surrounding community by building partnerships and increasing presence and awareness;
Reviewing services being offered and developing new services as needs and opportunities emerge. Identifying opportunities for growing, eliminating or consolidating programs to take advantage of new opportunities and/or to address organizational challenges;
Enforcing all policies approved by the board.
QUALIFICATIONS / REQUIREMENTS
The GM must hold an aptitude and track record of success in developing and/or managing cultural institutions and related tourist attractions. He or she must offer forward-thinking, visionary leadership, and well-developed management and sales skills. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated ability to develop, monitor, and report on visitor-driven operating budgets, hiring and managing staff with the utmost standards in customer service; and liaising with local convention and visitor bureaus, media outlets, city officials, and economic development associations to promote a visitor experience of this nature. Knowledge of and connections within the local community are critical to success.
Minimum 10 years’ progressive experience in museums and cultural institutions; or, minimum 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry with significant attraction experience. Related international attraction experience preferred;
Proven ability to keep impeccable records, follow government guidelines, and pay meticulous attention to details;
Strong business/financial acumen to comfortably budget, manage, monitor, and report complex financial information;
Entrepreneurial tendencies with a demonstrated ability to meet the business needs of an attendance- and rental-driven commercial entity;
Acuity and savviness in navigating the political complexities in local government;
Demonstrated success reporting to a board of directors/investors, practicing diplomacy, and an understanding of processes involving decision-making and collaboration between stakeholders;
Cultural competence and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
Excellent management ability; skilled in organizing, directing, motivating, evaluating, and supporting staff;
Exceptional communication skills to deliver the vision and value of the attraction in a time of critical growth and development;
Demonstrated success leading complex initiatives with diverse staff on budget and on schedule;
Familiarity with vendor management or service and revenue related functions;
Experience managing unique capital projects and start-up operations preferred;
Bachelor’s degree in an area related to key aspect of Operations, Business Administration, and Hospitality;
Relevant Master’s degree preferred.
PERSONAL / PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES
Self-motivated with relentless enthusiasm and high energy
Entrepreneurial spirit and comfortable with ambiguity
Leads by example to inspire and motivate teams
Detail-oriented and driven by deadlines
Fixated on problem solving, constantly improving/streamlining systems, and optimizing revenue
Excellent written and verbal communication
Outgoing and skilled at networking
Impeccable customer service
Deep love and appreciation for the rich history and culture of the city and state