These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curt Asmussen was recently hired as general manager at The Inn at 500 Capital in Boise, Idaho.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as general manager?
Most of my background in the hospitality industry has been on the sales and marketing side. That has meant more conversations and interactions with vendors and other individuals, rather than guests and team members across the property. As general manager, I look forward to working hands-on with each of our department heads and team members to get to know them and improve our overall operational efficiency. And I look forward to exploring departments where I don't have much experience such as maintenance. I'm excited to focus more on the building itself and be more involved with dotting the i's and crossing the t's for our newly-opened property, which is a brand new building in downtown Boise. It's an educational process I look forward to undertaking.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
I've had the opportunity to work with several of the big hotel chains, like Marriott, Hilton and IHG, and within those opportunities, I've been able to work across a wide variety of hotel styles from extended stay to full service. That has been incredibly helpful for me. And I've also been lucky to have lots of great mentors who have provided some informative coaching and growth opportunities that encouraged me to widen my knowledge base.
About five years ago when I was director of sales and marketing at a property in Chicago, they were going through a transition period and offered me the general manager position. At that point, I always thought I wanted to grow into a regional sales role, working for a larger hospitality group and supporting multiple properties. But I decided in that moment to become the most well-rounded hotelier I could be. I needed to have those experiences as a general manager to learn more about the overall operation of a hotel and each department. I worked in that role for three years prior to returning to Boise and joining Obie Hospitality as the director of sales and marketing for the opening of the Inn at 500 Capitol. I came here for the lifestyle change and to be back in this region, which is home for me, and now I feel incredibly grateful to have the ability to be general manager at this property.
3. How did you get into the industry?
I'm a very passionate skier, and when I graduated from the University of Illinois, I decided I wanted to be a ski bum. I moved to Breckenridge, Colo., and spent a season there in ski school and product sales. That's where I fell in love with hospitality and sales, so I started searching for opportunities and found a group sales position at a ski resort in Maine, selling skiing and accommodations. I knew staying within hotels and resorts and creating unique experiences and memories for people was what I was meant to do.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
Ultimately, we want to be the best of the best at the Inn at 500 Capitol. I hope to be No. 1 on Tripadvisor in the Boise market and in the top 10 on Tripadvisor in the nation. There are so many boutique hotels popping up around the United States, but I want to offer something different and showcase what makes this property special in Boise and the Northwest region. I also want to help spread the word on the new brand of hotels that is growing under Obie Hospitality, which has plans to create more hotels across the Northwest and perhaps, down the road, across the United States. It's also important to me to be able to coach and mentor young hospitality professionals within our company that have a passion for this industry and want to grow and develop in their careers.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
It might sound cheesy, but it's bringing happiness into people's lives. I'm a strong believer in spending money on experiences rather than things, and with that in mind, I want to deliver the best experience to each and every guest who chooses to stay with us, whether that's through a thoughtful amenity or a unique experience. There are a lot of great hotels with incredible service. That defines who they are. But embracing the local community and showcasing that to guests traveling to the city is really what differentiates us in the Boise market. No other hotel showcases the city of Boise the way we do, from displaying local artists to highlighting what makes our community sing. We have themed rooms that allow our guests to learn something about a particular aspect of the community or cultural event/institution that's happening here, like our Basque rooms which highlight Boise's incredible Basque heritage. These are the things that set us apart, and these are the things people remember. That's what excites me about this industry - the ability to inspire and form lifelong memories through travel.