He is the 2011 Chairman for the Colorado Hotel Lodging Association and vice president of the governor-appointed Colorado Tourism Office board of directors.
Wolfe took the reins at the Antlers Hilton last month and took some time recently to talk to the CSBJ about tourism and the hotel industry.
How long have you worked in the hospitality industry? How did you get your start?
I have been in the hospitality industry for nearly 25 years and have a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from The Ohio State University, 1987.
I began my career in New York City with Hilton International at Windows on the World managing restaurants on the 107 floor of the World Trade Center, Tower 2. I later worked with several conference centers before moving to Aruba for two years as director of operations at Tamarijn and Divi Beach Resorts in Aruba. I then returned to the states in NYC managing the Vista Hotel NYC, then Marriott Reach in Key West and the Founders Inn and conference center in Virginia Beach.
I always wanted to live in Colorado and had the opportunity at the Hilton Denver Tech. I later then assumed the position as regional manager for 10 years, overseeing Sheraton Denver West & the Burnsley All Suite Hotel.
What attracted you to this job in Colorado Springs? What opportunities do you think this market offers?
Colorado Springs has a great history and tradition with its military heritage, its values and cultures. The Colorado Springs area is also rich with tradition with the USOC, athletes, coaches and organizations that have impacted the world on countless levels, and all within arguably one of the most beautiful environments in the world. The Antlers Hilton traditions reach out through history as a place for inspiration, and fittingly Katharine Lee Bates composition of America the Beautiful.
How has the hotel industry in Colorado fared during the economic downturn?
This industry continues to be challenged like most businesses in this economic climate. Tourism funding continues to be critical to the sustainability and health of Colorado’s second largest industry employing nearly 147,000 and generating $760 million in local and state taxes (outside of property taxes) according to studies by Dean Runyan Associates and Longwood’s.
Colorado’s hotel industry continues to work through hurdles based on myriad of outside influences. The state’s ballot process continues to cost the industry in resources to educate voters on legislation brought to voters adding to Colorado’s constitution initiated from influences outside this great state.
What new trends are developing in the hotel industry?
The two big trends continue to be technologies and sustainability. Technology continues to impact our industry on a number of levels. We continually work to stay ahead of the curve in building the backbone of support and services for the best delivery of these technologies.
The trend toward sustainability is vital to our long term strategy in doing our part by improving efficiencies while meeting the expectations of our guests.
Are there any changes on the horizon at the Antlers Hilton you can tell us about?
We continue to work with our partners in building and improving our services. There are a number of things in the works and we look forward to making announcements on these as we finalize our plans.