Staff

Our Team of Hotel Experts

Frank Otero

President/Founder THP

Frank began his career in the Hospitality Industry at a young age working in his parents’ restaurant in Westchester County, New York. After graduating college, he joined Hilton in 1977 as a Conference Coordinator at the Hilton Westchester. This first position began a long career in sales. Frank held leadership sales roles as Assistant Director of Sales at the Capital Hilton, Director of Sales at Hilton Somerset, and Director of Sales and Marketing at the New York Hilton.

In 1988, Frank’s passion for Operations led him to the role of Resident Manager at the Atlanta Hilton followed by his first position as General Manager at the Atlanta Airport Hilton in 1992. Six years later, in 1994, he returned to the Capital Hilton, this time as General Manager. In 1996, Frank completed his MBA degree and in 2004 he became General Manager at the Hilton Washington.

Frank’s history in Area Operations started in 2006 when he was given area operations responsibilities for the DC market in addition to his role as GM at the Hilton Washington. In 2008, he was promoted to the position of Area Vice President for the Mid Atlantic. During his tenure as AVP, he supported hotels in Washington DC, New York City, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Florida. His portfolio of 21 hotels generated 1Billion in Revenue.

On December 31, 2019 Frank retired from Hilton and launched Total Hotel Performance, LLC. His passion for the hospitality industry could not come to an end and continues to passionately work for the industry he loves, the owners he represents, and the guests he serves.

 

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Ken Widmaier

Following over 40 years in the hospitality industry serving top tier hotels, resorts and property management companies, I am excited to embark on my next venture to devote my experience, industry acumen, creative problem solving and enthusiasm to meaningfully contribute to a select portfolio of passion projects and clients. I thrive on optimizing performance in upwardly repositioning assets as well as in properties not achieving peak results. Driving asset value, building teams to achieve strategic goals, cost management, talent development and strengthening corporate and stakeholder value while increasing market share through innovative industry solutions are all challenges I embrace and excel in.

For almost a decade leading Sage Hospitality as Chief Operating Officer and Business Development, we grew revenue from $600 million to $1 billion and strategically transformed a portfolio of primarily select service properties to a collection of luxury, independent, soft branded and lifestyle assets which consistently bolstered market share and elevated guest service rankings. An achievement I am especially proud of is the growth of the Sage independent and soft branded portfolio through decisively securing management contracts during a historically unprecedented pandemic, providing vital job security for associates across the country.

Prior to Sage Hospitality, I was the Senior Vice President of Operations for the east region for Destination Hotels & Resorts, one of the country’s largest hospitality and property management firms, where I owned full P&L responsibility, designed and executed critical growth paths, repositioned premium independent and branded hotels and resorts and implemented profitable long-term business strategies still in place today

I find personal fulfillment in giving back to the hospitality industry and our future generation of leaders by serving as a board member for CSU Ft. Collins’ Masters of Tourism program, mentoring approximately six students each year, and guest lecturing at a number of institutions of higher learning including Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Metro State University – Denver, College of Charleston and Ryerson University.

Beyond career pursuits, I enjoy spending time with my wife, daughter and two sons and appreciating the Colorado lifestyle, particularly hiking in the Rockies. I love professional sports and admittedly, I’m a frustrated Raiders fan but I enjoy going to Coors Field to watch the equally frustrating Colorado Rockies. Clearly, you do not want me rooting for your team!

Ted Ratcliff

Ted enjoyed an extensive career with Hilton. During his tenure Ratcliff inaugurated Hilton Management Services which was responsible for all management contract acquisitions in the Americas. Hilton experienced record increases in hotels managed by Hilton with Ted in this role. He was the operations lead representative in meetings with developers and civic officials in discussions regarding hotel developments funded both privately and using public funds. His responsibility also extended to leading teams which were providing critical operational assistance to all Hilton managed hotels.
 

Prior to Hilton Management Services Ted held the position of Senior Vice President of Operations East overseeing the operations of all of Hilton’s managed properties stretching from eastern Canada to Miami. In this role he led a team of Area Vice Presidents and had responsibility for all performance results of over 85 hotels. He relocated to New York City immediately following the events of 9/11 to lead Hilton’s business recovery efforts in the city.
 

Before his regional role Ted held various hotel management posts culminating in serving as General Manager of the Palmer House in Chicago. During his time in Chicago he served on and led multiple civic boards and business improvement districts as a representative of Hilton.

Most recently, following his retirement from Hilton Ted has worked on select consulting assignments. Among them working with Genting in Las Vegas as an advisor and liaison in finalizing the relationship with Hilton leading to the establishment of various Hilton brands for the Resorts World complex.

Ted currently splits his time between New York City and Naples. Florida

 

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David Keys

David understands the importance of transparent communications between all constituents to achieve winning business results. His core value and approach to business is to always “take the high road”. This is driven by treating all constituents with respect, while also ensuring accountability by having the right people in place to deliver optimal performance and unfair market share. Each market and hotel are different, so no single approach works for all. Of importance is to identify the hotel positioning and market segmentation ideal mix with corresponding strategies to get results. Mix is used to craft positioning statement and action plans for marketing and sales (B2B and B2C), revenue management and pricing, local/group catering, and event management. He empowers teams to build exceptional customer relationships and teaches sales performance management including proper goal setting and tracking.

Work Experience

Hilton

  • Vice President, Sales Operations, Americas 

    • 150 full and limited-service hotels in the US, Canada, and CALA (Caribbean and Latin America).  

  • Regional Vice President, Sales and Marketing, East 

    • 60 hotels in eastern Canada and northeast and southeast USA

  • Director of Marketing, Waldorf=Astoria New York

  • Director of Sales and Marketing, New York Hilton Midtown

 

Shirley Whelan

Shirley found her passion for the hospitality industry working in her family’s restaurant in Banff, Alberta; learning every position from dishwasher to line cook to bookkeeper and manager. That invaluable experience led her to open three successful, award-winning restaurants of her own, both in Canada and in the U.S..
 

After 25 years as a hands-on restaurant operator, Shirley began consulting; assisting independent and regional restaurant groups to create, launch and operate profitable concepts throughout South Florida.
 

Offered an amazing opportunity, she joined Hilton Hotels & Resorts as their Corporate Beverage Director, overseeing the beverage program for all full service and luxury hotels throughout the Americas. Applying her love for operations, she took on the role of Senior Director of Restaurants & Bars, creating concepts and ensuring operational excellence for over 240 hotels, exceeding $800m in restaurant & bar revenue.
 

Shirley has now returned to her love of assisting independent restaurants, hotel owners and management groups – utilizing her uniquely diverse range of experience to ensure that every concept and location delivers on its’ full potential for both ownership and their guests.

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