As the executive chairman of NextGuest, Felix Laboy is at the helm of two of the hospitality industry’s leading marketing firms, NextGuest Digital and NextGuest CRM (formerly known as HEBS Digital and Serenata CRM). We sat down with Felix to get the scoop on how he started his career in hospitality, where he loves to travel, and what he can’t hop on a plane without.
How did you end up working in hospitality?
I started working in hotels when I was 13 years old as a dishwasher at a Holiday Inn near my home. A family friend owned the restaurant inside the hotel and let me work there even though I was too young to work. I later attended the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Since then, I have had the privilege of working in many hospitality companies such as hotels, convention bureaus, and global hotel technology companies.
What did you do before joining NextGuest?
Most recently I founded and served as CEO of a hospitality consulting firm. Prior to that, I was the CEO of WayBlazer (the world’s first artificial intelligence company for travel), the founding president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, and co-founder and CEO of E-site Marketing (one of the first digital marketing agencies for travel). Even before those, I held roles at Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels, Westin Hotels, and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
What’s your favorite travel destination and why?
It’s too hard to pick just one destination. Spain, Croatia, and Australia are a few of my favorites. My home is San Francisco and Deep Creek Lake, Maryland – so that’s where I can be found most of the time. I also love to eat, so food is an important aspect of my travel destinations. The only exception to that would be Antarctica. There were no restaurants or hotels in sight, but the scenery and wildlife were incredible.
What’s your favorite hotel and why?
I favor smaller hotels with incredible service. Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy and Villa Dubrovnik in Croatia come to mind. Both are set on hills overlooking their cities. The Montage Laguna Beach in California is another favorite for the setting and ambiance. I enjoy staying at Hotel Urso in Madrid for its location. The neighborhood is fun and exciting. And finally, the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown. It was the first luxury hotel I worked in, and I also stayed there on my wedding night.
What’s an essential item you can’t travel without?
My running shoes, workout clothes, swim goggles, and cap. I participate in triathlons and enjoy working out, so I always travel with these essentials!
About NextGuest Digital:
NextGuest Digital uses the latest in digital marketing technology to assist hotel brands in crafting their digital presence. Through the agency’s smartCMS®, Content Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and other innovative initiatives, hoteliers see a drastic boost in direct bookings, as well as lower distribution costs and an increase the lifetime value of guests. NextGuest Digital is part of NextGuest, an all-encompassing partner that helps hoteliers acquire, engage, and retain their next guest. Based in New York City, the company is comprised of NextGuest Digital, CRM, Labs, and Consulting.
www.nextguestdigital.com | (800) 649-5076 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brand Marketing Manager
Phone: (212) 752-9425