Irvine Company Resort Properties in Newport Beach, California, recently appointed Scott Hermes as its president. Hermes has hiring power at Coastal Collection, which encompasses The Resort at Pelican Hill, Fashion Island Hotel and Hotel Irvine.
“Hire people smarter than you. Prepare them for success. Agree on the goals and plans. Then get out of their way,” he says of his approach to selecting his staff. During the on-boarding process, he asks new teammates if they joined the company just for a job or to pursue a career. For those seeking a career with longevity, he tells them they are only limited by two controllable things: the results they can personally deliver and geographic mobility.
He didn’t always have such leadership skills. Hermes says he was put in a management position prematurely in his career. “I was not very good,” he says. “My team sat me down, and very honestly and openly told me so. That was a huge wake-up call.”
It was through joining Meeting Professionals International (MPI) in 1983 that he learned a lot about the industry. Hermes went on to serve as MPI Foundation board of directors and chapter president. His proudest career achievement was receiving recognition by his peers when he was named MPI’s Global Supplier of the Year.
“MPI has been instrumental for me in learning and gaining practical meetings experience. When I began in sales and events, the educational component and networking were amazing,” he says. “Attending a 12-week CMP study group with 25 meeting planners was invaluable. As my engagement grew and I moved into volunteer leadership, I learned ways to work with and motivate people—not because they had to, but because they wanted to. I’m a better leader thanks to MPI.”
In his new role, Hermes vows to work extra hard to familiarize people with independently owned Coastal Collection resorts. He’ll use Orange County’s beaches, culture, shopping golf, water sports, entertainment and gorgeous weather to attract groups. “Each of our hotels is unique and designed to accommodate a wide variety of meetings,” he says. “From the Forbes Five Star The Resort at Pelican Hill to the coastal luxury Fashion Island Hotel, to Hotel Irvine, our lifestyle hotel, each has something different to offer, along with fantastic outdoor event spaces.”
He hopes that by satisfying customers and exceeding expectations, word of mouth will help the property book new business. “My goal in the meetings arena is to find new ways to deliver differentiating experiences for our meeting professionals in support of their meeting or incentive events,” he says. “And if we deliver this well, they might tell a colleague or post on social media. They may even pay us the ultimate compliment by returning to hold another meeting at one of our properties.”
Hermes has also been chairman of the board for San Diego Tourism Authority and San Diego Tourism Marketing District. He spent 15 years at Starwood Hotels, where he was area managing director for St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton and W, as well as senior vice president of sales and field marketing for its North American division.