21 May Sequester Spotlight: an interview with Offer Nissenbaum, Managing Director of the Beverly Hills Hotel
May 21, 2020
The exclusive Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel was always ahead of its time under the leadership of Offer Nissenbaum, Managing Director. When check-in times at most hotels were getting later and later (3-4 pm) and check out times were getting earlier and earlier (11 am), Offer and his team pioneered ‘Peninsula Time’, offering his guests flexible check-in/check-out times which were unheard of when it was first introduced.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills is one of the few hotels in California that has remained open during the Pandemic. My exclusive interview with Offer Nissenbaum will explain why and what the future will look like. If you’re a luxury traveler, this story might interest you.
JB: When California was in lockdown, what was your motivation for staying open?
ON: Our motivation to remain open was two-fold, governed by our commitment to the health and safety of our guests and associates:
For the welfare of our guests, there were many staying with us who could not return home and needed to shelter in place. The ability to provide employment to some of our employees who needed income was very important to us, and ultimately, we were able to keep over 100 individuals actively working, though all employees continue to receive full benefits.
JB: Initially, where were your guests from and why did they decide to stay at the hotel?
ON: We were hosting guests from domestic and international destinations. They were very concerned about flying home if their points of origin posed higher risk than remaining in LA, and in some cases, many could not fly back due to their nation’s closures, travel and quarantine restrictions.
JB: Initially what was your occupancy level and what is it now?
ON: Although our occupancy is low, we are providing exceptional value and comfort to our guests, and we are grateful and humble to have earned tremendous goodwill with this clientele.
JB: What health and safety standards are currently in place and what plans do you have moving forward?
ON: Each guest and employee has their temperature taken when entering the property and daily while in-house. Extensive, strict sanitation and physical distancing protocols have been implemented. Housekeepers clean rooms when guests are not present. Room service will deliver F&B to guest rooms but will not enter accommodations. Guests will retrieve the cart with their meal from outside the door and return them when finished. Mandatory masks are worn by all guests and employees. All staff wear disposable gloves.
JB: Are the restaurant, bar and spa open? What about the pool area?
ON: While our two restaurants, bar and spa are not currently open, room service is available to all guests. For example, our pool area is open, and we have guests ordering room service to the pool deck and cabanas.
JB: How are you controlling social distancing?
ON: We have a management presence dedicated to ensuring physical distancing between all guests, and they continually monitor activities throughout the property. We also have another staff member who is dedicated to our elevators to ensure only one party enters the elevator at a time.
JB: Did you have to rethink some of your guest amenities to adapt to the Pandemic?
ON: All food items are contained and sealed before delivery to guest rooms. All newspapers and magazines have been removed from rooms, and guests are encouraged to read in digital format.
JB: Are you doing any fun things to engage your guests?
ON: Yes, we have created monogrammed face masks featuring the guest’s initials. It is a light twist on a serious essential to add a little levity to our current situation.
JB: What do you see for the future?
ON: Safety and hygiene will become the prime focus for our employees and guests, and physical distancing is here to stay, while our mandate is to still deliver an exceptional guest experience. Doing it all at the highest level will be an important point of distinction.