The FORT Podcast: Jake Wurzak – Founder of Dovehill Co’s & Wurzak Hospitality Group – Building a Hotel Empire
Jake Wurzak is the Founder and CEO of DoveHill Capital Management, LLC. Jake also serves as the President of Wurzak Hotel Group. Since founding DoveHill in 2011, he has led the investment in over $1.5B of hospitality projects across the United States. Jake aims to differentiate DoveHill by focusing on distinct hospitality assets that create a sense of place and impactful experiences.
Jake holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University and earned a BBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Miami. Jake sits on the board of the Broward Center for Performing Arts and the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum. In addition, Jake is a member of the Young Presidents Organization Gateway chapter.
Jake is passionate about traveling with his family and one of his favorite destinations is Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming. He is an avid skier and once hiked up the Highlands Bowl four times in one day!
On this episode, Chris & Jake discuss:
➡️ How he creates an exceptional hospitality experience
➡️ How they underwrite hotel investment opportunities
➡️ Partnering and learning from Barry Sternlicht
➡️ How they add value to different types of hotels
(00:03:47) – How do you experience hotels?
(00:06:00) – What is hospitality?
(00:09:03) – Why and how did you get into this business?
(00:10:31) – Jake’s companies
(00:12:22) – How did Covid affect Hospitality?
(00:18:48) – How has the industry changed post-pandemic?
(00:20:54) – How did you approach hotel conversions?
(00:22:28) – How do branded hotels differentiate from each other?
(00:23:58) – What does good operating look like in a branded hotel?
(00:25:50) – How are daily rates set & What are the major KPIs?
(00:33:25) – AirBnb vs. Hotels
(00:36:01) – How do you define Lifestyle?
(00:37:07) – Who are great people or companies that are creating amazing lifestyle experiences?
(00:39:48) – Are there any emerging brands that will overtake the top luxury hotels like 4 Seasons and St. Regis?
(00:41:38) – How would a hotel development come together?
(00:45:04) – What are you looking for in a hotel when you want to buy?
(00:48:07) – What’s a soft brand?
(00:49:05) – Do you need to have experience to partner with a Hilton or Marriott?
(00:50:00) – What does upgrading management look like?
(00:55:20) – What feedback do you see most often from guests?
(00:58:33) – Partnering with Barry Sternlicht
(01:04:36) – Experiences at the One in Miami
(01:08:42) – How do you approach the Food & Beverage side of your properties?
(01:10:16) – What’s the greatest hotel in the world?
(01:14:02) – How do you view hotels as an investable asset over the next 5 years?
(01:17:05) – Is there anything on the horizon that will make hotels more profitable?
Wurzak, renowned for his profound experiences in the sector, has seamlessly integrated real estate dynamics with the ever-evolving world of hotels. His keen insights and hands-on experiences have positioned him as a luminary in the field.
Jake Wurzak’s discourse with Chris Powers began by unveiling the layers of hotel operations. From the guest’s first step into the establishment to their eventual departure, every phase is meticulously planned and executed. Wurzak emphasized the essence of service quality, revealing how hotels, irrespective of their size or brand, prioritize guest experiences. Drawing from his vast reservoir of experiences, Jake shared personal anecdotes, providing listeners with a candid glimpse into the challenges and triumphs inherent in delivering impeccable service.
An intriguing facet of the conversation was the exploration of the symbiotic relationship between real estate and hotels. The two sectors, often viewed in isolation, are deeply interconnected. Wurzak, with his passion for both domains, elucidated how the nuances of real estate significantly influence the trajectory of the hotel industry. This fusion, as Jake emphasized, not only enriches the hotel landscape but also offers expansive opportunities for real estate enthusiasts.
Design, often sidelined in technical discussions, emerged as a pivotal theme in the dialogue. Wurzak underscored design’s transformative role in shaping guest experiences. From the hotel’s architecture to its interior aesthetics, every design element is strategically chosen to resonate with the brand’s ethos and appeal to the guest’s sensibilities. Jake’s emphasis on design as a powerful tool to elevate guest experiences offered a fresh perspective, highlighting its often-underestimated significance in the hotel industry.
Entrepreneurial aspirations also took center stage during the conversation. Jake Wurzak’s vision of independently navigating the hotel realm, devoid of affiliations with major brands or funds, was both inspiring and enlightening. His determination to carve a unique niche in the industry, powered by innovation and a deep understanding of guest needs, was palpable. For budding entrepreneurs, Jake’s journey, marked by perseverance and innovation, serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to success in the competitive world of hotels.
In conclusion, this episode with Jake Wurzak stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of experiences and knowledge he brings to the table. For those keen on unraveling the hotel industry’s complexities or seeking entrepreneurial wisdom, this podcast offers a goldmine of insights. The fusion of real estate dynamics with hotel operations, the transformative power of design, and the essence of service quality were all masterfully unraveled, making this episode an indispensable resource for both novices and veterans in the industry.
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