INSIDE HAWAII INC.
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Daniel Nakasone, assistant general manager, front of house, at the Outrigger Embassy Suites hotel work site in the Waikiki Beach Walk complex. The hotel will be the third he has opened.
Overseeing the opening
Daniel Nakasone is getting to be an old hand at opening new hotels, as with the Outrigger Embassy Suites
Question: Is this your first time opening a hotel?
Answer: No, I've opened two in the past, both in Los Angeles.
» New job: Nakasone has been hired as assistant general manager, front of house, for the new Outrigger Embassy Suites -- Waikiki Beach Walk hotel, which will open its Hula Tower to guests on Dec. 6. He started Aug. 16. He directs management of the front office, bell and PBX departments, and assists with overall hotel operations. The hotel's Aloha Tower will open Feb. 15.
» Background: He has more than 20 years of hotel operations and front office management experience. He previously worked for the Doubletree Alana Hotel Waikiki, starting in 1994. Before that, he spent seven years managing an all-suite hotel in Los Angeles.
» Personal: He has 21-month-old twins, daughter Michiru and son Takuro.
» Age: 41.
What lessons did you bring from those experiences?
A: The planning, the organization, the timing is all very, very important.
Q: What does your job entail right now, leading up to the opening?
A: The purchasing of key furniture, fixtures, equipment, organizing procedures, recruitment. And otherwise planning for the unexpected, dealing with the unexpected.
Q: What's an example of the unexpected?
A: Sometimes visually seeing an office, a room, a layout versus the architects' drawings sometimes leads to operational changes, having to go in another direction and the like.
Q: Has recruiting been hard with Hawaii's ultra-low unemployment?
A: No sir. The project is part of Outrigger Enterprises, one of the best employers in the state, and much of the current Outrigger employee base is very excited and interested in potential opportunities with the Embassy Suites. This is a new and fresh product with the company.
Q: Any idea how holiday bookings are doing?
A: We've recently made our availability open to reservations within the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk Web site, beginning in January, and to the best of my knowledge, the interest is high and reservations are definitely coming in.
Q: How about bookings in the holiday season before January?
A: At this point, we are fairly conservative in our reservation strategies in the event of any last-minute changes or otherwise, especially since the opening date is a week before the Honolulu Marathon, and if all proceeds as scheduled, we anticipate there will be demand for the availability of rooms in the Hula Tower.
Q: Last word?
A: The Waikiki Beach Walk project -- Embassy Suites is a unique and exciting opportunity. A position involving this project was too hard to pass up.
Inside Hawaii Inc.
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