Meet LaunchHouse member Kim Soria at DelMonte Hotels. Kim has been a community member for almost a month now. In just a short period of time she has found herself fulfilled with her experience at LaunchHouse. From the flexible office hours, to the social opportunities, Kim has been able to tackle her duties as a GM in an enjoyable coworking environment.
What services do you / your company offer?
Hotel rooms for guests traveling whether their coming in for leisure travel, to shop, coming to area to visit family, weddings, athletics, as well as business travel. We would negotiate rates for certain companies. We also have meeting space we would offer for people looking to do an event whether it be a small reception, gathering, or meetings.
What is your role in the company?
I manage the property at Pinecrest. I am responsible for opening it, hiring on the leadership and line level staff, and getting it running in general. I am responsible for the financial aspect of it, as well as the team aspect of it.
What inspired you to start (or join) this company?
To be honest, I didn’t even think I’d ever join hotels. I didn’t grow up as a kid like “I wanna work in hotels!” I joined the military right out of high school and when I got out I needed a job. I applied for a front desk position in Rochester New York and they took me on as an admin. I worked in their sales office typing up contracts and things like that. Then I just worked my way up and decided that I wanted to be a GM one day. I went through the ropes and 18 years later, I’m a GM.
What updates can you give us on the progress of your hotel at Pinecrest
It’s coming along really well, our opening date is tentatively scheduled for August 21st. The Pinecrest project is the largest construction project going on right now in Cleveland. There is a significant amount of retail, restaurants, there is a movie theatre going in there, a bowling alley, luxury apartments, and office space. When you enter our hotel you enter in a jump lobby where you have the option to take the stairs or elevator up to the second floor, which is our lobby level. We are located above some retail on floors 2-5. It’s very pedestrian friendly which I like, so you can park along the side.The AC brand is a Marriott brand, and it’s called AC Hotel, it’s very European, Spanish modern, it’s really geared toward that culture driven, entrepreneur traveler who likes getting out and going to craft brewery’s, exploring the local area, wineries, art museums , and boutique shopping. The location itself is perfect for what our travelers are looking for.
How did you find LaunchHouse as a temporary office space?
I needed to find somewhere to go because I can’t work in a dust ridden hotel near all the jackhammers going on and everything. When I was researching office space, I looked at several and while I was looking on yelp I found LaunchHouse. I just went on yelp and searched “office space for rent” and they were one of the first ones that popped up. They looked cool, it wasn’t one of those stuffy office locations that popped up. I thought it would be interesting because our brand is in general geared towards that free entrepreneurial spirit, and I thought that LaunchHouse fit that very well so they made my list of places to go check out.
What inspired you to join the LaunchHouse Community?
There was that connection. The convenience of it, it’s nearby, it’s
a great value for the cost of the office space and what you get with it. Having the little common area and community space really worked well with what I was looking for.
How has LaunchHouse impacted your work with DelMonte Hotels?
Providing me the flexibility to do my work and not being restricted to a certain time frame of when I can come in and leave.
How have you liked the community of LaunchHouse:
It’s been great. Everyone’s very friendly, you get to meet new people. I’m in the service industry so I always look for that when I go out places. It’s nice to see there’s an environment where I can do my work and be left alone, or I can socialize if I want to.
How can small business owners better work with hotels for reserving event space?
It’s really just about what their needs are. A lot of times with hotels we have the flexibility to gear what we offer towards the needs of whoever’s looking for the space. Whether a small networking reception or meeting , It’s really what their looking for and how we can fill that need. We offer very flexible packages similar to LaunchHouse. You can do a day package, a week package, a private office space, it’s really just being able to offer the flexibility to that person for whatever it is that their looking for.
The best advice you ever got?
I thought back to something one of my leaders in the military told me. I went to him because I was looking to switch jobs and was wondering if he could give me some advice. He said “the best advice I can give you is don’t take anybody’s advice. Make your own mistakes and learn from them. If you take my advice and you’re not happy, then it’s my fault because you took my advice.” It’s almost like when you’re a kid and you put your hand on something hot. You could listen to your mom all day being like “don’t touch that it’s hot.” and you touch it anyways. Now you’re not gonna touch it ever again because you burned yourself.
What has been your biggest learning experience?
When I moved to Pittsburgh. I had never opened a hotel before. I went from the military into hotels. I got my Bachelor’s while I was managing a hotel. I thought that was hard, but what almost defeated me was opening a hotel. The amount of hours I put in, especially as I got closer to the opening. Having the staff, trying to coordinate deliveries that were coming in, Marriott wanting to send in training, new hires coming in for orientation, and trying to juggle everything was definitely one of the most trying times I’ve ever had in my career. It helped me get ready to do it again because now I’m like “ok I need to start this early, I need to do that, and I need to make sure this is prepared.” I’m better organized, so I think if I never went through that I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
What advice would you give to other members of your field?
Don’t ever be afraid to make a decision. Just make it. Go with your gut and if it’s the wrong decision, then talk about it and see about different ways we could have went about it. Nonetheless don’t be afraid to make it. One thing as a manager that bothers me the most is when my team calls me every 5 minutes asking “Should I do this? Should I do that?” Just do it, because you aren’t gonna learn if you don’t make that mistake and grow from it.
How do you define success?
Success, there’s no end to it, you always wanna learn and grow. Success is going from failure to failure to failure but never losing your enthusiasm and just keep going. Yes you’re gonna fail, yes you’re gonna make mistakes, but just keep going and be excited to keep going. You have to evolve, change, and adapt to new techniques and processes. If you don’t you’re gonna become stagnant and bored. The only way you’re gonna continue to evolve is if you make a mistake, fix it, and grow again. If you lose enthusiasm to keep going because you’re failing then you simply won’t grow.
If you would like to learn more about DelMonte Hotels you can view their site: