Hotel executive Kelly Hoen has managed six Hawaii hotels in a career that now sees her as area general manager for Outrigger. PBN editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier has more on her rise in the industry.
In college, Kelly Hoen studied education and theatre with the dream of someday opening a dinner theater. However, she tells PBN that after her first hotel job at The Ilikai in 1982, she “fell in love with the business.”
Last month she started her biggest job yet as area general manager for two beachfront properties, the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach and Outrigger Waikiki Beach. Combined, the two properties have 1,159 rooms and receive 800,000 guests per year. It’s a transformative time for the Outrigger brand, which was acquired last year by Mainland-based KSL Resorts.
Transformation is Hoen’s specialty. In her first general manager position, she oversaw the renovation and rebranding of the Kapalua Bay Hotel for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, increasing its occupancy by 26 percentage points over three years by the year 2000. She was then the Royal Hawaiian hotel’s first female general manager, seeing that property through an $80 million renovation. Then, in 2014, she took charge of The Modern Honolulu, helping that property settle into a groove after a short, dramatic history of changing management companies.
People skills aren’t rare in a service-oriented industry like hotels, but even so, executives who have hired Hoen throughout her career point to her remarkable knack for developing her team members. In her time at The Modern, she established an in-house academy to boost both the hotel’s performance and the careers of the people who work there.