It’s a busy time for those in the hotel industry, with at least three dozen projects either under construction or approved in the Charleston region.
Daniel Blumenstock, a manager and industry consultant, has had a bit of the action, and he’s feeling the pressure from outsiders wanting a piece of the pie.
As director of operations for Lowcountry Hotels, he manages the Ansonborough Inn on the peninsula and a Hilton Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn and Holiday Inn Express near the airport in North Charleston. He also plans future developments for Fennell Holdings, the parent company, including the upcoming Staybridge Suites on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.
Blumenstock, 39, is also chairman of the board for the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He’s past chairman of the bureau’s Travel Council and past president of the Charleston Area Hospitality Association. He’s a member of the state’s Tourism Expenditure Review Committee.
Blumenstock grew up in Germantown, Ill., a small farming community where his dad was maintenance superintendent for the town, ran a video store with his wife, and was a part-time Baptist minister. Blumenstock moved to Charleston in 1994 to attend Johnson & Wales University, where he earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management.
He managed Hilton hotels in the Charleston area from 1997 to 2005. He started with Fennell Holdings that year to held expand the company’s hospitality division.
He lives in Charleston with wife Eve and children Kristal, 17, Kayce, 14 and Carter, 12. They are active in Coastal Community Church.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about doing business in this region?
A: Charleston is a thriving region for hospitality and has been for many years. At the top of my list are the relationships I have built over the years with fellow hoteliers and the many other business owners/managers in this area.
Q: What is your least favorite thing about doing business in this region?
A: With the accolades received in recent years, there is now a lot of attention from developers outside the Charleston area that want in, so from a development standpoint as a local company we end up competing with larger groups for the same projects.
Q: Name one thing government could do to help your business?
A: Follow a simple principle: ‘Less is sometimes more.’ When the government (at all levels) can be less involved, it helps even more.
Q: Who is your favorite leader of any kind and why?
A: My Dad! From an early age he taught me life skills associated with honesty, integrity and hard work while using a hands-on approach. This helped mold me into the parent and person that I am today. Whether in running our business or coaching my kids, these principles are always front of mind. (His dad moved to the Charleston area in 2007 to be near the grandchildren and works for Charleston Water Systems).
Q: What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?
A: Help remove obstacles for your employees/management team. I work daily on removing obstacles for those I work with. These obstacles can be in many different forms. Some may call this putting out fires, but I know if I can keep the people around me in a productive mode, it helps us keeping moving forward.
Q: What is the best leadership advice you could give?
A: “Intentions minus actions equals squat” I read this in the book “A Servant Leader” and have referenced it countless times. We end up having great intentions to do something but if we do not put any action behind it then it equals squat.
Q: What is the best book on business or leadership that you’ve read and why?
A: I must stick with “A Servant Leader.” There are many great books, but this book was one of the early books that fit my style of leadership, and I have applied many of the principles discussed, I also think it allowed me to relate, especially being in the hospitality industry, as we are here to serve other people. This is not just a leadership principle but a biblical principle, and without my God-given abilities, I could not be a leader to those around me.
Q: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader at your business?
A: Decisions that are centered on the people in our organization. We are faced with many tough decisions, but I view decisions about the people in our organization the top priority, and it is an opportunity to positively impact the people around us.
Q: What was your biggest mistake as a leader and what did it teach you?
A: I learned early in my career to ensure that I had a great balance in my life. It is when this is out of balance I tend to make mistakes. This is accomplished through a set priority in my life: 1. God. 2. Family. 3. Career. When I keep these in order, I am then able to balance a hectic schedule because my priorities are in line.
Q: What are you doing to grow the next leader in your company?
A: We have a continual progression within our company to groom managers from within. We have great people working with us, and I am proud to see this principle applied on a regular basis where promotions and progression happens from within the organization.