Meet Tom Travers from Hotel Beacon, New York City

About Tom Travers
A native New Yorker, Tom has been General Manager of the Hotel Beacon since 1990. Developing and implementing the hotel’s transition from a residential property to a transient property which included total renovation of the property, initiating and overseeing all hotel operations and creating the Beacon’s sales and marketing approach into the international tour and travel market.
Tom ‘s hotel career started in New York in 1971 at the Biltmore Hotel and then in 1973 went to Loews Hotels at the Regency, Loews Summit and Warwick where he held operational and sales positions. In 1981 he was transferred to the opening team of the Seattle Warwick as Executive Assistant Manager. He returned to the New York Warwick in 1986. He is a Past President of the HSMAI Greater New York chapter and currently serves as Director of Finance for the chapter. Tom is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the Hospitality Department of New York City Technical College in Brooklyn.

How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
Over 35 years.  OMG that seems a lifetime, doesn’t it?

When did you get the travel bug?
On my first trip we went to Washington DC and I was 6 or 7 and loved the traveling, the hotel we stayed in and I never wanted to check out!

What inspired you to go into the hotel business?
After my first stay in that hotel in Washington DC I just felt that I wanted to be part of the daily activity of a hotel and was determined to get to work in one. My maternal grandmother  had worked in a hotel and I loved hearing her stories of what went on in the hotel.

Australians love the Hotel Beacon – what do you think sets it apart?
That’s an easy one: the size of our rooms and suites which really are spacious; and the fact that our rooms have kitchenettes and our suites have full kitchens.
Our location makes them feel like a New Yorker instead of a tourist;  spending all day in mid-town and downtown and at the end of the day, leaving the crowds behind and returning to the relaxed neighbourhood of the Upper West Side. Also, Fairway Market across the street sells every type of food (even vegemite) and prepared meals, making it easy to stock some favourite foods in your kitchenette.
Additionally, Australian visitors are usually in the U.S. for many days and our in-house Laundry Room is a welcome convenience for them on their long journey.
And of course, last but not least, the friendliness of our staff which almost every Australian mentions when they speak to me.
(Our success in the Australian market is due in no small part to our Australian guests who graciously recommend our hotel to all of their friends and family coming to NYC.  I have heard many amazing stories on why Australians choose our hotel vs the plethora of other NYC hotel choices but the one simple sentiment almost everyone mentions is simply that a friend of theirs shared, “you have to stay at the Beacon…you will enjoy your time there better than any other hotel.”)

What are the top five activities that you recommend people do in New York?
Grayline Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus Tour, Downtown and Uptown Loop;
Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan Island
Going to both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock
A Broadway Musical or Drama
Spending time in Central Park
(Of course, the High Line is also a big favourite of mine, along with museums…and how can you not spend time SHOPPING in NYC!!!)

What are your favourite restaurants in New York?
High End
French Cuisine: Daniel’s 65th and Park
Seasonal Fare: Jean Jorge 59th and CPW
Steak: Quality Meats – If you like a good steak, this is it.
New American fare Robert Columbus Circle
Fish:  Ocean Grill (Columbus Ave. at 78th) or Atlantic Grill (at Lincoln Centre)
Sophisticated with an Italian sensibility Cuisine: Columbus @ 75th
Asian Fusion: Red Farm – 77th & Broadway, mid-block
Sushi/Japanese: Fusha (75th & Amsterdam one block from Hotel)
Italian: Carmines- family style service, lots of wine, loud and friendly. (Broadway @ 96th) and Coppollas at 79th  and and Amsterdam
Coffee Shop
Viand Café at the Beacon

What are your favourite bars in New York?
I only go to one bar in New York…BEACON BAR.

What are your favourite destinations outside of New York?
The Berkshires in Massachusetts, West Palm Beacon in Florida, London, Ireland, Cottesloe Beach,

Is there anywhere in the world you haven’t been, but would love to?
Yes a cruise from Oslo to St Petersburg

What do you think is the ‘finest thing’ about the Hotel Beacon?
The “finest thing” about the Hotel Beacon is its ability to make our guests feel comfortable in a city that can be daunting to many and at the same time, allow our guests to feel like New Yorkers, rather than tourists.

Hotel Beacon

Helen Hayes & Sue Wallace
© The Finer Things