Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Rhys O'Connell shaping and shaking up the hospitality industry

Rhys O'Connell is drawing attention to all the different areas of expertise that work together to make one entity

Published: Oct 19, 2020 12:52:29 PM IST

Rhys O'Connell shaping and shaking up the hospitality industry
The hospitality industry in North America will always consider Rhys O’Connell as an asset. For 20 years, Rhys O’Connell has risen through the ranks across some of the most iconic properties in the hotel industry. He started his career in Australia, working for the Hyatt Regency within its food and beverage department, and since then, has proven to be an established hotelier.

Rhys has involved himself in both operational and management capacities and has worked over the years to drive significant changes at different luxury properties across California. He became Assistant General Manager at the only hotel on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills between 2011 and 2015, and improved the Tripadvisor rating by 30 percent by building a cohesive team culture and delivering excellence through service quality, and curation of the guest experience. This gave him some attention, and in 2015, he moved over to Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, to become a director at the hotel. He was the Director of Front Office, and he transformed everything about the hotel to an enviable standard.

Over the last four years, Rhys O’Connell has continued to be a force of nature. He kept up his management style as Director of Operations at one of the best hotels in San Francisco and made sure the hotel ran effectively as General Manager throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also nominated for the “Most Valuable Player” award for 2020.

Rhys O’Connell’s journey in hospitality is nothing short of inspirational. He has put himself up as proof that gaining experience and rising through the ranks is possible. From food and beverage, he crossed into different departments while gaining knowledge along the line. This has helped him get the full scope of how to run a hotel successfully.

Without a doubt, he is accomplished in the hospitality business, and he intends to inspire many others looking for opportunities to grow in the business. In his words, “Think of the ways that employees are supposed to delight and engage customers. Now turn this whole concept on its ear so that the employees receive this same respect and the same recognition. They’ll probably become your best customers for life.”

He also believes strongly in giving people the chance to prove themselves. While he moved through different positions to gain experience, he believes in hiring people based on their personality to get the best out of them. This is why, over the next five years, he intends to share his knowledge and experience with up and coming hoteliers. He will also continue to grow his skills and learn from his various mentors in the industry. “Take care of the person on your left, take care of the person on your right, and everything else will take care of itself,” he says.

The hospitality industry is a vast one that many people do not pay attention to how it works. Rhys O’Connell is drawing attention to all the different areas of expertise that work together to make one entity.

Learn more about Rhys O’Connell on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.