Reaching New Heights Under New Management
Hotel Henri is a boutique hotel in the crossroads between the Chelsea, Flatiron, and Gramercy neighborhoods of New York City, and has been making its presence known since 2008. The hotel is very close to many notable corporate and leisure destinations in New York City, and Hotel General Manager Kevin McCue feels that the hotel has a geographical advantage over many others in the area because it is more centrally located, and within mere blocks of sights like Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Union Square, the High Line and Madison Square Parks, and attractive shopping locations on 5th and 6th Avenues (the hotel itself is on 24th Street).
With multiple corporate headquarters in proximity, the hotel tends to gear many of its offerings toward that part of its customer base, but it is open to all seeking a stay and something a little more. This includes a full-service restaurant that is open to the public and the Sir Henri rooftop penthouse for larger get-togethers like receptions and to after-work celebrations.
The hotel states its primary goal as to “provide affordable accommodations with amazing service and amenities one would expect at a luxury property,” and it will continue to do so under a new set of guidelines.
Since 2018, Hotel Henri has undergone significant changes behind the scenes, with perhaps the most extensive being its changes in brand leadership and management. The hotel completed a successful migration away from hotel and resort chain Wyndham in May of 2019, having been a Wyndham property since its opening over ten years ago. As of the second quarter of 2019, it has since officially partnered with Preferred Hotels & Resorts as part of its Connect collection of hotels across the globe.
McCue himself began with Henri in August 2018 and was initially hired to ensure the smooth transition between partners which was accomplished by January 2019 and made official as of May 1. McCue observes that in a metropolitan area like New York, most hotels are branded under one company or another and, as such, must conform to branding guidelines that are generally observed across a chain’s various locations and franchises. Under its new management, Hotel Henri “has the flexibility to be entrepreneurial,” and is not under as much pressure to follow specific guidelines to remain a branded hotel, which in turn leads to more unique methods of ensuring guest satisfaction.
The hotel has also completed a successful migration away from third-party management of its restaurant, Henri Patio Grill. McCue notes that the change has allowed for a better sense of control over the restaurant thanks to more direct supervision and has led to increased revenue overall. Under its new direction, Hotel Henri has managed to improve on its services and keep its promise of offering guests an exemplary experience during their time in the Big Apple.
McCue finds that the overall relationship between the hotel’s management and its staff has improved as well since the change. Since the move from Wyndham to Preferred Hotels and the internal changes that have come with it, the staff members have found that they have greater freedom to ensure that guests have the best possible experience.
This has been a welcome change in operations, and management has made it a priority to make sure the hotel’s guests are satisfied in whatever manner staff feels is necessary. Kevin says that this can be as simple as establishing a personal relationship with guests as they check-in or even making quick decisions to go the extra mile to make a guest’s stay more memorable whether they are visiting for business or for pleasure, like providing champagne or strawberries for guests as is appropriate. These decisions continue to make a positive lasting impression on customers and an experience that is unique to Hotel Henri.
Beyond the intricacies of management change, the hotel has felt the crunch of only having so much space. In New York, every hotel tends to run on the smaller side due to physical and geographical limitations of a crowded city. Hotel Henri looks to overcome these by innovating within the space it has and adding amenities that go beyond what other hotels may offer. This can include anything from complimentary drinks on its rooftop patios to gym memberships and preferred dining options as well.
The hotel’s offerings specifically include its restaurant on the ground level, a “quaint and relaxed location,” as McCue describes it. This is a popular summertime draw for locals because of its patio and in the winter for its cozier bar and restaurant setup.
The Sir Henri Penthouse on the hotel’s eighteenth floor sports a speakeasy feel with a view of downtown New York and is very popular for its location and the artisan craft cocktails it serves. The hotel remains as much a regional favorite among New Yorkers as it does globally as a Preferred Hotel.
Part of McCue’s vision for the hotel has been focusing on its unique offerings, as well as improving its TripAdvisor reviews and launching stronger sales initiatives. McCue stresses that reviews are important as these are commonly used to gauge how well the hotel is doing in the eyes of its clientele and can give further insight and feedback from guests toward areas that may need improvement.
As 2020 is set to begin and a year has passed since its change from Wyndham to Preferred, Hotel Henri still boasts many clientele with both local and national accounts. McCue sees the hotel as having particularly good relationships with its local ties, and hotel employees have worked to keep local partners abreast of the many changes the hotel has undergone in the previous year.
McCue admits that it has been a somewhat harder job keeping national clients involved with these changes, but the several months between the process beginning in January and the official change in May left hotel management with enough time to inform its clients and put them at ease that “the team is still the team,” meaning that they can still expect the same level of quality that the hotel has provided in the past.
The hotel plans to continue to serve existing local and national accounts while adding additional clientele in both sectors along the way. The goal is to ensure that accounts both firm and new still look to Henri as their go-to hotel when traveling for any reason whatsoever and that they can continue to be confident that the hotel can provide them with any need that may arise along the way.
While others businesses can end up floundering or worse after the type of changes Hotel Henri has faced, McCue and the hotel’s staff are confident that it can continue to be a premier choice of lodging, food, entertainment, and more in one of the most famous cities in the world.