There exists a famous tale of a King who turns everything he touches into gold. Whether a pebble or a palace, the moment his fingers meet the surface, riches follow. In a world of cynics and skeptics, it is easy to dismiss the tale as one that will never see the light of the modern-day.
People don’t know that they need not look further than the Golden State to find Rhys O’Connell, the hotelier with the golden touch.
With ambitious beginnings in the Hyatt Group’s food and beverage department in Australia, Rhys O’Connell now thrives as an integral part of North America’s hospitality industry. For two accomplished decades, the hotelier has poured his dynamic energy and top-notch skills in utilizing hotel operations – hitting all the stops from Front Desk Agent to General Manager for some of California’s most famous hotel properties.
Rhys’s dive into the industry began with a step in the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel in 2011. After leaving Australia for a new adventure, the celebrated manager made a clean break through the water, working at the only hotel on Beverly Hills’ iconic Rodeo Drive.
Working at a space where elegance meets contemporary, Rhys O’Connell developed his skills and found his niche while expanding his expertise as a busy Assistant General Manager with more than one hat on. His multi-faceted work included standing as Housekeeping Manager and the assistant to the Director of Sales.
His service at Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel and Forbes Criteria staff training maximized company profits and facilitated a whopping 30-percent improved rating on Tripadvisor, which noted a significant annual rate and occupancy increase.
By 2015, a new tale begged to be written. Following an offer for a director’s position at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Rhys left Rodeo Drive. As the Director of Front Office in one of North America’s most luxurious hotels, the lauded hotelier grew his superb reputation and resumé teaming up with Revenue Managers to increase ADR with innovative custom packages.
Ensuring maximum customer satisfaction by promoting spa, valet, food and beverage, and pool features, Rhys transformed everything in the hotel – raising the bar and breaking into the Leading Hotels of the World.
Turning standards and hotels into gold, Rhys O’Connell made his way across the Golden State. His next stop after Shutters on the Beach was the Inn at Moonlight Beach in San Diego, where he spearheaded projects leading to the inn becoming the world’s first WELL standard building in hospitality.
Having polished his portfolio to a shine, to say that Rhys has encountered and gracefully overcame hurdles would be an understatement. Yet, his biggest hurdle lay in wait.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the hotelier like none other before. Like many of his peers and colleagues, it was a tough battle that took a toll on the hospitality industry. As the General Manager at one of San Francisco’s finest properties, Rhys O’Connell expertly took the reins and led his team to stability.
“I believe that as a leader, motivating and inspiring people is one of the most important roles,” he shares. “Currently, my focus on the operation has now changed to focusing on how to manage this crisis and lead our team members so they feel safe and have peace of mind. I am working with our leadership team to define the crisis, outline how we will survive and ultimately thrive.”
Thrive is exactly what his hotel did. Rhys’s work has introduced new management styles in operational divisions, which enabled an increase in profit. His commitment and dedication to his team and customers earned him a nomination for the “Most Valuable Player” award for 2020.
On his nomination and glowing success, the brilliant hotelier shares, “it would be so easy to get distracted by the current chaos, but what I really care about is right inside this building. I care about the people who stay here and the people who work here. That’s the heart of it all.”Get to know the General Manager who spins gold. Follow Rhys O’Connell’s journey as he improves the hospitality industry’s relations inside and out by visiting the hotelier on his Twitter.