Rhys O’Connell Turns Crisis Into Opportunity to Rise Among Country’s Top Hoteliers

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The hospitality industry is one of the most heavily affected fields amid the pandemic. Still, a few notable business establishments managed to thrive and scale despite the global crisis. Behind the success of such businesses are brilliant managers and leaders. Rhys O’Connell has been an authority in the industry over the past 20 years. Yet he proves that his success is not dependent on luck, but on knowledge as he thrived as a top-tier crisis manager in today’s time.

Rhys has been integral in the success of many prominent establishments across the country. He began his career in 2011 with the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel, the only hotel on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. There he found his niche as he got exposed to various functions of the establishment and contributed a 30% improved rating for the hotel on Tripadvisor. In 2015, Rhys landed the director’s position at Shutters, one of North America’s most luxurious hotels on the Beach in Santa Monica. He further moved his career from the south to managing an inn at Moonlight Beach in San Diego.

Currently based in California, Rhys is proving that the best managers see crises as opportunities. Throughout the pandemic, Rhys has maintained, if not furthered, the reputation of one of the finest hotel properties in San Francisco. As the Director of Operations, Rhys applied his skills and experiences in developing innovative strategies to keep the four-star establishment in its tip-top shape. Furthermore, the property was hailed as one of Conde Nast Top Ten Hotels under Rhys’ leadership.

Additionally, Rhys explored new management styles to cope with the changing time. He also increased revenue through RevPar, ADR, and GOP. Rhys further maximized company spending in several areas. He was also granted the Most Valuable Player award for 2020 after creating multiple opportunities for people in the industry through continuous recruitment and employee training.

Rhys is truly a multifaceted individual, but his strongest key point is found in his leadership skill. To echo his words, “Being a leader in a hotel is an artful and versatile position as no other business has so many different masters in such a wide palette of expertise under one roof.” The hospitality industry has indeed maximized Rhys’ potential and revealed the leader within him. “The success of the manager is getting everyone aligned and motivated as well as inspired to advance. Hospitality is a craft!”

Rhys believes that a true leader should be able to motivate and inspire people to reach greater heights. The words one says to how he uses them to connect with others is a powerful tool. Rhys strives to draw energy and action from his team members to bring out the capabilities of many rather than merely the product of one. “I believe that the core of a high-functioning culture must be a transparent and honest leadership because a strong company culture can help weather any storm or crisis,” said Rhys.

Asked what his secret is when welcoming people into his team, Rhys said that he looks deeply into a person’s character instead of experience. “Character grows out of a person’s mindset,” he said. While experience is important, a person with good character can be molded into an excellent team player. According to Rhys, the character is truly the dividing factor that separates the exceptional few from the mediocre.

The pandemic may have been challenging, but Rhys has scaled his career as a top hotelier in 2020, making him a force in the industry.

Learn more about Rhys O’Connell on LinkedIn.

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