Welcome to Imprint Hospitality and the first of our blog postings!
The month of July has been filled with important milestones for our very young company, with the most important ones being that we are officially in business and our website is live. It has been wonderful to see it all coming together and has made me reminisce quite a bit on where this all started and how we got to this point. Allow me to take you down memory lane with me for a few minutes.
I have been in the hotel business all my life, as matter of fact, you could say I was born into it and together with my brother and my stepsister I am now representing the third generation of Walterspiels that has chosen to make the service industry not only its profession, but its calling. As you can see from reading my bio, my career in the business allowed me to work for some truly great companies and over the years I worked for and with some great leaders and great mentors from whom I learned how do “it” right. Mind you, I also worked for some not so great leaders and I learnt from them a lot as well – in their cases it was how “not” to do it.
A Year of Intentional Living
After nearly 25 years in the business and on a very steady career path, my family and I decided at the beginning of 2013 that we wanted to take a year off to focus on ourselves – to get off the treadmill, live intentionally and in the present, be a fully engaged spouse and parent and learn what it means to “be” vs. to “do”. It was the scariest and yet best decision I ever made and we had an amazing year full of learnings and discoveries. While I was very conscious of not focusing on what lay beyond this year, I could not help but on occasion dream with friends and former colleagues what might be possible if we started a business. What would be the best practices we would adopt from other companies? What would be the pitfalls we had seen others stumble into that we would avoid? It was fun to dream and create possibilities during this year and when it was time to start thinking about re-entering the business world, the thought was lingering in the back of my mind…”what if?”
It was a key conversation with my godfather, Georg Rafael, an accomplished hotelier and entrepreneur, that cemented the idea of going out on my own and starting a business. I had reached out to him for his counsel and advice on what he thought I should do next in my career and after taking one look at my background, he asked me why I would ever want to work for somebody else’s company again, instead of my own. While initially I had no answer for him, I realized quickly that I had just never considered anything else and once I gave myself permission to explore this, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
More serious dialogue now ensued with potential partners in this venture that could add complementary skills and talents – some that have been along for the ride since the beginning, some that joined the journey for a while but then dropped off, and others that came into the dialogue a little later. In the end, we ended up with the perfect team. Between Dave, Matt and myself, we have very diverse and complementary backgrounds and not only do we respect each other immensely as professionals, but we are also great friends.
Our Belief System
Over this last year, we spent a lot of time on crystalizing out our why, what and how and on focusing on articulating our belief system and laying the cultural foundation of our company. We were blessed to connect with many many mentors and advisors in the process who gave us great input and perspective. In the end, all involved contributed greatly and we are forever grateful.
We realize that our purpose statement is lofty and we believe that our industry is going through a change moving towards a renewed focus on hospitality and curated experiences that in turn will drive successful operating statements. We have pledged that we will look for non-traditional ways in everything we do – whether that is the employment experience we create, the service culture we will be known for or the relationship we have with our investor partners – and we are looking forward to connecting with like minded people, companies and communities along the way.
Dave, Matt and I are excited to see what this next chapter holds and we hope to have you join us on this journey!