Benedict (Ben) Jiou is a results-driven, enthusiastic and innovative executive with over two decades of highly specialized hospitality industry experience. From technological and financial to managerial expertise, at every turn his career has been defined by strategic direction setting, superior motivational leadership, and a passion for customer service.
Ben started his hospitality career in financial management with the luxury Omni Hotels chain. He held positions of Financial Controller at the historic Omni Parker House in downtown Boston, the 1,800-room Statler Hotel in New York and the 1,400-room Omni Park Central in mid-town Manhattan. He prepared and controlled financial budgets and forecasts and provided financial leadership. He also managed the beta installation of GEAC financial management system when the company decided to decentralize its financial operation.
Ben was quickly promoted to Resident Manager at Omni Park Central in New York. He spent two years as Resident Manager and General Manager at Waikiki Beachcomber in Honolulu and then he opened the Omni San Diego Hotel. The hotel was opened on time and on budget and soon after received a 4-Diamond rating.
In a two-year hiatus from Omni in 1990, Mr. Jiou was tasked by a Hong Kong corporation to convert an industrial building in lower Manhattan into a 237 room, 4-star hotel. Ben established a budget of $60 million and coordinated renovation and construction. Recruiting and hiring a team of professional manager, he created policies and procedures, and initiated sales, advertising and public relations campaigns. Ben's tenacity and management ability allowed him to open the hotel on time and under budget, exceeding expectations of the first year proforma by breaking even in four months.
As General Manager of Omni's San Mateo Hotel in California, he managed the wholly owned Omni property with full P&L responsibilities. The property was suffering a loss of over $1 million per year. He created and implemented a business plan to turn the operation around by initiating Quality Management techniques across the board. He reversed a $1.2 million cash loss in 1992 to a positive cash flow by the end of 1993.
On special assignment as General Manager of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Mr. Jiou accepted the challenge to manage the showcase hotel for the 1996 Olympics. Ben inherited a demoralized management team and chaotic situation causing a projected 18% revenue shortfall on budgeted $40 million in sales projections. In a non-communicative environment, he initiated a hands-on management style to improve employee attitudes and gain cooperation across every department. His accomplishments included: Improved attitudes, reflected by an internal survey, elevated the hotel from bottom ranking (out of 23 hotels) in 1994 to 9th in 1995. He turned around the financial picture during a crucial time ending the year 22% ahead of budgeted operating profit.
Information Technology Management
Ben was tagged as Omni's Corporate Director of Marketing Information System to lead a project to identify a strategic direction for the next generation central reservations system. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Ben directed a task force of two Vice Presidents, two General Managers, four Reservations Directors and the Corporate Manager of Accounting in identifying and implementing a new Central Reservations solution. He presented and obtained approval for a $3.7 million upgrade of the Central Reservations solution with a return on investment in fifteen months. He conceptualized, implemented, and managed this upgrade project through the complete SDLC cycle and standardized all property management systems.
Ben was next appointed the Corporate Director of Information Technology for Omni. He managed all computer related company activities, supervising fourteen managers and staff members in systems related services with a budget of $6 million annually. He developed a five year strategic plan for information systems concentrating on management of information technology business applications and resources. He consolidated the financial reporting systems implementing a $1 million Wide Area Network infrastructure to process accounting from the corporate central host reducing costs 50%. He reduced payroll costs significantly by implementing a new payroll/HR system, and upgraded all telecommunications equipment and infrastructure.
Ben was Vice President of Hotel Information Systems, a $50 million global software and hardware company where he was in charge of worldwide professional services and support. Hotel Information Systems had three product lines of Property Management Systems, in addition to Point of Sales Systems. He was instrumental in improving customer satisfaction and turning around client perception of company services.
He was then appointed Vice President of technology for Ian Schrager Hotels in New York where he strategized and implemented a 5-year plan for the portfolio of 11 worldwide upscale properties. He was responsible for leading the efforts to implement more than 10 major projects to bring the company into the 21st century. The portfolio included a more efficient WAN, a new Central Reservation System, standardized PMS, centralized accounting system, installation of WiFi in all properties, standardized TV programming offering, centralized email services, new data center and upgraded web sites with e-commerce capabilities.
Ben was Program Manager for the opening of the Resort at Pelican Hill in 2008 for the Irvine Company. Mr. Jiou operates his own technology consulting company providing a spectrum of services to clients such as Enchantment Group and Gaylord Entertainment Group. Ben has also been active in the Healthcare industry in implementing EMR systems and providing consulting services.
Having proven his ability to think strategically, logically and outside the box, all while effectively collaborating at every level of technology, operations and project management, Mr. Jiou is committed to provide the highest levels of professionalism and service.