By Shereen Shabnam
The Lotte New York Palaceis a space where history meets contemporary luxury according to Becky Hubbard,General Manager of Lotte New York Palace. It’s a blend of New York City glamour with modern and updated amenities that high-end travelers expect. We learn from her how the hotel combines history, location and service with a large variety of room types featuring amazing views that makes the Palace a “home away from home”.
When did you start serving the current position?
I have been with Lotte New York Palace for the past seven years, starting as the Hotel Manager for the first four years. I became the Interim General Manager after Lotte purchased the hotel. At that time Lotte was conducting a global search to fill the role. After an extensive search, Lotte decided that I had earned the position and I was officially promoted to General Manager of Lotte New York Palace. That’s one of the things that I love most about working for Lotte. They recognize achievement and are committed to developing their team
How do you assess yourself to your present position around the mission of the property?
Our guests always come first. I assess success based upon guest satisfaction and the highest standards of service coupled with the hotel’s profitability. We have done this by attracting, hiring and retaining an extremely talented team of employees. Our mission is to help guests find balance in their lives through sublime relaxation. We provide caring service with stylish, modern and comfortable accommodations, alongside haute cuisine and state-of-the-art hotel facilities offering guests truly unique experiences.
What are your greatest achievements so far as the General Manager of the Lotte New York Palace?
I am really proud of what our team has achieved over the past several years. This includes being named one of the best hotels in New York City by both Travel + Leisureand Conde Nast Travelermagazines. We have also grown our business and profit while maintaining high service levels and staying ahead of market trends. Our achievements include reopening both our iconic Madison Avenue Courtyard and Villard Restaurant in our landmarked mansion space. We also attract travelers who are willing to pay for the offerings of a luxury hotel, such as The Palace. Hence I try to get know everyone personally. From our long term and repeat guests, to our first time visitors (as well as our own staff), we’re all one big family.
Where do you expect to position Lotte New York Palace in 2018 in terms of total revenues and net income?
Our goal is not just to meet our budget, but rather to exceed it. We strive to exceed our owners’ expectations and to outperform the New York City marketplace. First and foremost, we hire the best and brightest sales and marketing team. Specifically, a team that is innovative and self-motivated. We also consider our self to be much more than a hotel. We believe that staying at The Palace is an experience in itself, and we have sought out amazing and iconic partners, such as The New York Yankees and Radio City Rockettes. One of our top initiatives is to deliver unique and memorable offerings to our guests.
What makes New York Palace different from other Hotels?
Besides from creating personalized experiences for our guests, we have an amazing history at Lotte New York Palace. As you enter our iconic courtyard and walk through our historic mansion (built in 1880) you are swept away with the iconic glamour and history of New York City. The most special is to dine at Villard for breakfast or brunch. It is served in our opulent Gold Room within the historic and landmarked Villard Mansion.
What are your current projects?
In the first quarter of 2019 we will be launching a brand new spa concept, unlike any other of its kind. We will also be renovating two of our Specialty Suites, and two of our Triplex Suites, which are 5,000 square feet each with private in-suite elevators, rooftop terraces, and unobstructed views of NYC.
Are you, or have you been, involved in any social work?
Social responsibility is very important to us. We have a number of green initiatives making significant investment in our own Cogeneration Plant. We generate a portion of the hotel’s electricity with zero environmental impact. We also support location charities, such as “Operation Backpack”, which provides school supplies to under privileged children.
Which position has been the most memorable/enjoyable for you? Why?
I love my job and I love the hotel industry. The best part of my job is meeting our guests and creating special memories that they can take with them after they leave.
Tell us about your hobbies?
I love nature. I am originally from upstate New York and love spending time in the country. I also cherish the time I spend with my two young daughters. I played Rugby in college and was a team captain. Travelling is one of my favorite things to do and I visit upstate New York quite often to visit family or to have new cultural experiences. I love France as there is so much to do and the culinary experience is amazing. Otherfavorite places includethe Finger Lakes, New York and Australia.
Who has most influenced you in your life?
Oprah Winfrey. She has helped so many people to find their true path to purpose. Also Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was one of the early leaders of the Women’s Rights Movement. I was born in the town where the First Convention for Woman’s Rights was held in 1848. And of course my mother as I still talk to her when I need advice. They all have taught me about integrity and that there must be a purpose behind everything one does.