Mr. Jeff Wagoner – President and CEO / Outrigger Hospitality Group
When and why did you join the industry?
Growing up, my mom worked for Marriott – so I had the opportunity to spend many days in their corporate offices, which piqued my interest in hospitality as a career.
What do you like most about your job?
I love providing guests with experiences and services that they will cherish for a lifetime. In the hospitality industry, there are a million moving parts and no two days are ever alike – this makes the job exciting as we’re constantly seeking out ways to improve.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Having spent many years working at fantastic organizations – the highlight of my career to date is becoming the president and CEO of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts. It’s incredibly humbling and exhilarating to be entrusted with the future direction of this iconic brand.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Eric Danziger, now the CEO of Trump Hotels, over the past 30 years in 7 companies and feel that I’ve had a front-row seat to one of the most dynamic leaders in the hospitality industry. Many of his key phrases have influenced my management style – including: “doing right is never wrong,” or “you have two ears and one mouth and should use them in that proportion,” and “always focus on running the best business you can and everything else will fall into place.”
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Outrigger is iconic and authentic. Our DNA is built on caring for the guest, the host and the place; we call this values-based platform Ke `Ano Wa`a – which translates from the Hawaiian language to “The Outrigger Way.” New for 2019 – we have restructured our company under the umbrella of Outrigger Hospitality Group, which allows us to enhance our current portfolio and provide structure for the strategic growth of our brand. Our objective is simple: to be The Premier Beach Resort Brand in the World.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Australia has been on my bucket list for some time and I’m thrilled to check that off my list this week.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
When I was living in the mainland US – I flew to Maui for my wedding. At the resort, the attention to detail and impeccable care from the property staff made this travel experience wonderfully memorable. It was lovely to be on the receiving end of incredible hospitality and even more meaningful now that Hawaii is home for me and my wife.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
1. Work-out gear
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Attend Super Bowl and the week-long activities with Peyton Manning.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I feel strongly that sustainability and wellness will become a part of the everyday offerings at hotels across the globe. Since 2014, Outrigger has had a hands-on conservation program called OZONE (Outrigger’s ZONE) that focuses on the health of coral reefs and the oceans surrounding our properties; it’s an important initiative that we’re excited to continue expanding as our company grows.