Q&A with Alex Tisch, Loews Hotels & Co.

Alex Tisch, son of Loews Corporation Co-Chairman Andrew Tisch, recently became president of Loews Hotels & Co., where he will work with his cousin, CEO Jonathan Tisch. Also the  VP at the parent company, Alex will be responsible for key functions including revenue management, sales, brand, e-commerce, communications and acquisitions & development for the hotel division. Here, the  fourth-generation leader discusses his new role and the future of Loews Hotels.

Since Loews Hotels & Co. is the family business, what have you learned from your family members that has made you the executive you are today? Loews Hotels & Co. has been in operation for more than 70 years. To be able to be the fourth generation of my family to co-lead the hotel company along with Jon Tisch is very exciting.

My family has always placed a great deal of emphasis on our culture, which still rings true today. The differentiators that drive our firm’s culture are:
• Embrace being an owner/operator and leverage that position as a competitive advantage
• Empower team members to create unique customer experiences
• Be a dynamic, nimble and flexible organization
• Continue to innovate to create a future where we have cutting-edge thought leadership
• Foster an environment where we are inclusive and treat all team members, guests and our communities with dignity and respect
• Make prudent business decisions which also respect and protect our parent company’s capital

How will your previous experience in finance help you in your new role? In order to be a successful firm, you have to hit certain financial metrics that are specific to the industry you operate in. Having that training and knowledge prior to entering the hotel industry has allowed me to come in and really understand the financial metrics we are striving for, and also allows Loews Hotels & Co. to be managed for all the constituencies including team members, executives and our parent company, Loews Corporation, which is our capital source and a beneficiary of the financial success of the company.

What are your strategies moving forward for Loews Hotels as president of the company? The more things change the more they stay the same. When Jon Tisch returned as CEO in 2016, we pivoted away from where everyone else in the industry was going and instead embraced being an owner and operator.

As a result, we were able to find some remarkable new development projects that have really added to our already strong portfolio. I don’t anticipate moving away from this strategy and focus, and believe we will continue to move forward and hone in on being an owner and operator.

You have been instrumental in Loews’ partnerships with entertainment companies and sports franchises. Why are these important? Partnerships have always been a foundation of what makes Loews Hotels & Co. successful. We learned more than 20 years ago when we entered into a joint venture with Universal Orlando Resort that having the ability to leverage a built-in demand generator that was not the destination itself was really a unique offering for our guests, and has allowed us to compete well without having the distribution of some of the larger hotel companies.

We have taken those successes and lessons learned in Orlando, where today we have soon-to-be eight hotels, to Arlington, TX, and St. Louis, where we have partnered with the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, two of America’s most beloved sports franchises.

No matter the location, our guests get the benefits and services Loews is known for and direct access to sports, theme parks and entertainment.

This is a question posed to every hotel industry leader since March: How has your company weathered the storm that is the COVID-19 crisis? We, as a firm, have looked at these last seven months in several different ways. First and foremost, we developed our new “Welcoming you like Family” messaging, which is rooted in a commitment to the care and comfort of guests, drawing on our dedication to intuitive service, authenticity and familial hospitality. We also took the opportunity to use this message to name and brand our new and enhanced protocols and standards. At the end of the day, we want to assure guests, team members and the community that our intention is to care for them as we would care for our own family.

Secondly, we know that travel and tourism is resilient, and our goal is to manage the business on a short-term basis while also strategically focusing on the long-term, when we believe that group business will return and business travel resumes.

As a smaller company, we have the flexibility to pivot and shift, and we have done just that during these last several months. Things change on a daily basis and our team has done a remarkable job in managing the change and driving demand whenever and wherever possible. Also, it is important to note that our size and being an owner/operator has allowed us to instill guest confidence with the measures we have in place. When you control your own destiny being an owner/operator vs. hotels that are franchised, you are not only able to get behind the protocols you have in place but you can assure guests that they are being implemented and followed.

Where do you see Loews Hotels & Co. in five to 10 years? As an industry, hopefully these past seven months are far behind us. For us, we would be back to welcoming groups and business travelers to our hotels, as well as leisure travelers. We feel that, given our competitive advantage, we would be a sought-after development partner and will continue to find strong projects to pursue in American cities that are looking for a four-star hotel that caters to that specific city, has ample meeting and function space, and/or showcases built-in demand generators. HB

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