Name: Sean Verney
Title: General manager
Company, city: The Westin New York at Times Square, New York City
Number of employees: 500
Recent project: We teamed with Starwood Preferred Guest partner Audience Rewards for a series of exclusive on-property activations. One of our greatest assets is our location beside the Broadway theater district, and we were thrilled to bring our guests Broadway experiences ranging from a live performance of WICKED in the lobby to wake-up calls featuring the title character in Matilda – The Musical!
First job: At age 12, I was a dishwasher at Heidi’s Brauhaus in Mahopac, N.Y.
Little-known fact about you: I married my junior high school sweetheart. We’ve been married for 28 years and have four beautiful children.
Essential business philosophy: Take care of your team members; take care of the guest. Always do the right thing and go the extra mile.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay current with market trends. Know your competition. Be a trendsetter, not a follower. I look to see how we can be innovative and creative within our industry. That philosophy keeps you sharp and engaged about how to evolve your property to stay ahead of the curve.
Yardstick of success: We’re successful when our people enjoy what they do. When managers are passionate about their work, that enthusiasm cascades to all team members. Success also means exceeding our guests’ expectations. A building is a building, a bed is a bed; what truly defines our success is how well we serve guests and meet their needs.
Sean Verney as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? Chargers for my computer and phone
How do you spend your time on board? I work or read. I just read Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott, which helps you understand how the next generation communicates and the importance of the digital/social media world.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? Rao’s in New York City is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with authentic Italian food.
What is your favorite destination in the world? Ireland makes me feel close to my family heritage. I love the culture, the history and the warmth of the people, plus some of the best golf and small pubs in the world.
About The Westin New York at Times Square
Tell us about recent enhancements and renovation at The Westin New York at Times Square.
We just completed a three-year, $33 million comprehensive renovation. In addition to refreshing our meeting space, we added 10 new premium deluxe rooms on the 23rd floor and completely renovated all guestrooms and suites. Every room now features new furnishings including a moveable desk, 47-inch LED TVs and redesigned bathrooms. One of the things we’re most proud of is the expansion of our energy conservation practices and our Green Seal Gold certification — the only hotel in New York City and one of only six properties in the country to receive this designation.
How does your property differentiate itself from other upscale hotels in Manhattan?
We distinguish ourselves through our service and by offering travelers a place to relax and unwind. Though we’re a stone’s throw from Times Square, Broadway and Restaurant Row, we provide a rejuvenating respite from the city with our signature Westin programs that promote well-being and relaxation.
What unique services and amenities does your hotel offer business travelers?
We help business travelers make the most of their time in New York City. Our on-site FedEx business center can accommodate any lastminute printing needs and 24-hour computer services. One of our most unique offerings is our Westin Experience Ambassador, a personal concierge who can assist with everything from arranging special occasions to obtaining theater tickets. Our fitness programs make it easy for business travelers to stick to their routine; our complimentary state-of-the-art WestinWORKOUT gym is open 24/7. We also offer New Balance gear lending, so travelers don’t have to pack workout clothes and sneakers, as well as guided RunWESTIN running maps.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Alaska Airlines recently debuted its new Pixar-inspired, special-edition aircraft livery. On both sides of the Pixar-themed Boeing 737-800 aircraft, travelers spot recognizable faces from the Toy Story franchise, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie. Rex the Tyrannosaurus appears on the boarding door and the little green aliens show up on the aircraft’s winglets.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.