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You’re Invited! cityCURRENT’s Signature Speakers Series with Bruce Himelstein


You’re invited…

Join us for a morning with Bruce Himelstein, a globally recognized brand marketing expert, former executive of Ritz-Carlton, Loews and Marriott Hotels and one of the top 25 minds in sales and marketing…
Please join us for our upcoming cityCURRENT Signature Breakfast on Thursday, January 16th at Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Hosted by Barton LLP, our event will feature Bruce Himelstein, a globally recognized brand marketing expert, a former executive of Ritz-Carlton, Loews and Marriott Hotels and one of the top 25 minds in sales and marketing.

With an illustrious decades-long career in hospitality, Bruce Himelstein is credited with leading some of the travel/hospitality industry’s most prestigious brands, including Loews Hotels, The Ritz Carlton and Oceana Cruises.

As the former Chief Marketing Officer for Loews Hotels, Himelstein oversaw sales, marketing and communications efforts for all Loews Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Recognized as “One of The Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing” by The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Himelstein has transformed companies into game-changing industry innovators. Previously, as the Corporate Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, he successfully implemented the renewal and transformation of the trusted luxury brand, with his groundbreaking “Blow The Dust Off The Lion and Crown” campaign. The campaign effectively reinforced the hotel’s prestigious appeal to longtime clientele, while opening up a whole new market by attracting a new generation of guests to the $3 billion global brand. Himelstein and the campaign are featured prominently in Joseph Michelli’s New York Times bestseller, The New Gold Standard.

An inductee into the American Marketing Association Hall of Fame, Himelstein also sits on many prominent industry boards, including the Luxury Institute Advisory Board. He also participated in interviews with Wharton Business School on XM Sirius radio and Forbes’ CMO Series.

Recognized for his ability to identify and implement strategies to maintain relevance in today’s rapidly evolving business world, Bruce Himelstein delivers valuable insight to help organizations in any industry build and maintain a successful brand, develop a culture of service and harness talent to effectively foster innovation.

Click Here to RSVP

Millennium Maxwell House Hotel, located at 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. Nashville, TN 37228.

7:00 AM – Doors and breakfast buffets open.
8:00 AM – Program begins.
Best to arrive by 7:30 AM to allow for parking, registration, breakfast and locating seat.

PARKING: Free parking is available on site.
This cityCURRENT Signature Breakfast is a private, exclusive event.
There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is required.
Please RSVP online by January 6th
For questions, email us at


The Power of Great Customer Service on your Brand’s Bottom Line.


The list of bad customer service experiences that end in a bruised reputation, lawsuits, or even bankruptcy grows exponentially by the hour. Keep reading to find out how you can save yourself from the pitfalls of a failing hospitality team. While there are many elements that go into maintaining a successful business, there are certain key factors that are needed. Every interaction a company has with a customer lays the foundation for establishing their reputation and, even more crucial, affects that company’s future revenue and growth. It is for this reason that top-notch customer service must be taken into serious consideration and prized as a fundamental factor in increasing your return on investment.

As mentioned, there is indeed a relationship between the way your staff is trained to respond and the return on investment this generates. Creating the perfect synergy between the two is a complex science that, when perfectly calibrated, can result in the puzzle pieces needed for such success.

These pieces include but are not limited to: 

Increased Employee Motivation & Engagement

A happy mind results in a happy attitude. This sets the tone for positive employee to customer communication.

Improved Customer Service Expertise

When the attitude and tone are right, it is easy to interpret a customer’s questions or concerns and make the appropriate response.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Providing an appropriate and pleasant response to customer’s questions or concerns is the gateway to their satisfaction. Customer satisfaction results in brand trust, product/service sales and, most important, customer retention.

Inevitable Profit Increase

When all the pieces are put together, a happy customer will invest their dollars into a company which, in turn, will increase their lifetime value.

There are many ways to ensure good customer service is looked at as a pivotal part of your company. However, based on the success stories of big, high return companies, customer service training programs seems like the most practical route. From online seminars to in-person speakers, there are many professionals that specialize in equipping your company’s staff with the right tools to communicate in a controlled, sociable and effective way.

Indeed, a happy staff results in happy customers which leads to a VERY happy bank account.  After all, it was Craig D. Lounsbrough who said, “We got where we are because our choices mapped the route and paved the road.” With that said, if you truly care about your business, make the choice to get engaged in a customer service training program with your staff.

One such customer service training program is the The BJH Group, spearheaded by Bruce Himelstein, a Ritz-Carlton executive who transformed customer service for one of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands, as featured prominently in the New York Times bestseller, The New Gold Standard. With over 30 years of experience as a Senior VP and C-Level Executive, impeccable references in hospitality, brand management & marketing, Bruce has the answer!

While Chief Marketing Officer at Loews, he successfully pioneered the first usage of Twitter into corporate marketing through an innovative hotel booking strategy, changing the way the hospitality industry utilized social media channels for profitable business purposes. During his tenure leading the marketing division as VP of the Ritz-Carlton Company, Bruce Himelstein drove powerful initiatives, commonly referred to in insider circles as blowing the dust off the Crown and Lion, that transformed one of the world’s most global and recognizable 30 billion dollar luxury brands from a classic icon to a contemporary trend.

“Is your organization prepared for how the customer is changing? Is your marketing aligned?”

♦ Founder and CEO – The BJH Group
♦ Chief Marketing Officer – Loews Hotels & Resorts
♦ President – Oceania Cruises
♦ Executive Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer – Kerzner Int’l
♦ Senior Sales and Marketing Officer – The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC
♦ American Marketing Association Hall of Fame – 2007 Inductee
♦ Board of Directors – Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association Intl (HSMAI)
♦ Past Board of Directors – US Travel Association
♦ Board of Directors – Luxury Institute Advisory Board
♦ Regularly Featured Speaker – Sirius Radio, Forbes Magazine, Wharton School
♦ Industry Recognition – Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds
♦ Past Board of Directors – Shady Grove Hospital


Mr. Himelstein has completed dozens of speaking engagements and is established as a conference speaker, guest speaker, event speaker, round table speaker, panel speaker, and keynote speaker.

Bruce is an active member of the following Speakers Bureaus:
♦ Washington Speakers Bureau
♦ Keppler Speakers Bureau
♦ Premiere Speakers Bureau
♦ Executive Speakers Bureau
♦ Goodman Speakers Bureau
♦ Big Speak Keynote Speakers
♦ Keynotes Organization
♦ Speakers Bureau

To learn more about Bruce J. Himelstein, and the BJH Group, visit:

Lakeview Health Welcomes a New Member to the Board of Directors

Lakeview Health is pleased to announce Bruce Himelstein, a globally recognized brand marketing expert, has joined the board of directors. Himelstein is the founder and CEO of The BJH Group and a former executive of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He has been recognized by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association as one of the top 25 most extraordinary minds in sales and marketing.

“We are honored to have Mr. Himelstein as a member of our board of directors and look forward to his input as we continue to expand,” said Lakeview Health CEO Roy M. Serpa. “We have begun laying the groundwork for expansion to provide more treatment resources across the country. Mr. Himelstein will be instrumental in guiding us as we grow our marketing channels to increase awareness across the U.S. and help even more people transform their lives.”

Himelstein has worked with some of the most prestigious domestic and global brands in the travel and hospitality industry during his more than 30-year career. He has set global standards in hospitality, marketing and C-level executive management. With The BJH Group, Himelstein serves as a marketing, hospitality industry and luxury brand consultant to help growing and established businesses achieve new levels of success. He is also a business facilitator and helps businesses organize projects and plans.

“As Lakeview Health continues to provide top-tier treatment to individuals across the country, offering the best patient experience is a priority,” said Brian Potts, operating partner of The Riverside Company, which acquired Lakeview Health in 2016. “Mr. Himelstein brings expertise in providing world-class customer service. We look forward to collaborating with him and innovating how customer experience and patient experience intersect within addiction treatment.”

Himelstein began his service with the board of directors on Aug. 1. The Lakeview Health board of directors meets on a quarterly basis.

About Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health, located in Jacksonville, FL, serves individuals with addiction and psychiatric disorders. Staff offer an integrative health approach that addresses the medical, psychological, physical and spiritual aspects of recovery. Their gender-responsive programs host unique treatment features that cater to women and men independently. They provide a continuum of care, allowing patients to move successfully toward a life in recovery. To learn more, visit

To Transform Your Brand, Put Customers First


BOCA RATON, FL—For Bruce Himelstein, hospitality is his lifeblood. His first job was a bellman and one of his proudest moments was receiving a recognition award from Marriott International’s Bill Marriott while his father looked on. He is also proud of efforts to “blow the dust off the lion and crown” at the Ritz-Carlton. It is these moments that help to shape a meaningful hospitality career of more than 30 years. You don’t have this kind of longevity without adding a few rules to the playbook. Now, as a speaker and consultant for the BJH Group, Himelstein details his experiences to other businesses and reveals strategies used at luxury hotels to transform brands from the inside out.

“I pinch myself every day that my experience and body of work resonates across industries. It’s very gratifying,” said Himelstein. “I think eye contact and listening skills are a lost art. Be better than anyone at this and your customers will remember you. Also, you’ve got to set the example. Surround yourself with people that commit and let them do their jobs.”

Organizations tapping into his breadth of experience want to learn how to increase customer service and handle disruption. During his talks, he presents numerous examples he’s encountered throughout his career and scenarios that have a way of resonating with his audiences.

“The Ritz-Carlton is an iconic global brand that set the standard on customer service. I was just a steward of the culture and philosophy during my eight-year tenure,” he said. “The service DNA of the brand is iconic and one to benchmark. Our team was able to increase the relevance through communications, positioning for the next generation and reducing the formality.”

Customer service is a team sport. For hoteliers seeking to get everyone on board with putting the customer first, Himelstein believes the answer is an easy one. “It’s scary that more organizations struggle. The leadership sets the tone and each associate holds each other accountable to deliver,” he said. “There’s no wiggle room.”

Himelstein offers a couple of tips to help hoteliers make the shift right now:

Put customers first. “Customer service is one of the few things over which organizations have complete control. This is true again and again. You need to strive to get it right every time,” he said. “Providing better customer service than your competition raises the switching costs. Once you have provided an experience like no other, the customer is yours.”

Change the culture. “The way to win in any market is to make customer service the foundation of your brand. This transcends people,” he said. “The culture must be customer-centric, not an initiative that belongs to a person or department.”
—Corris Little

Customer Service IS Your Brand! The Truth about Branding from a former Ritz-Carlton executive

A recent edition of my local newspaper carried the following headline: “Chipotle co-CEO to focus on customer service.” The body of the article reported, “Now that the Denver-based company is satisfied with its new safety protocols, it’s turning its attention to better customer service.”

While I applaud the company’s efforts, focus on customer service is not a box to be checked or some static goal that can be marked “complete.” Customer service is the very DNA of a customer-centric culture. For years, when I was chief marketing officer at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, attention to our guests was the undeniable brand. It still is.

In the hotel industry, it takes only a checkbook to be competitive. The great differentiator, however – the factor that sets one competitor above another – is how the customer is treated. Animating your brand with the tenets of world-class service starts with the CEO and permeates throughout the organization. Anticipating customers’ needs and delivering on them must always take priority. These tenets are non-negotiables; they simply must not be stripped down or cut out during the budget process.

Along with being non-negotiable, customer service should be nonproprietary inside the organization’s walls. In other words, accountability for outstanding service doesn’t belong to any one person or department but rather to every employee, associate, and department. Now, allow me to make the distinction here: the word “nonproprietary” applies to customer service across all departments – they all share in delivering. But when the discussion shifts to trends across an entire industry, by all means strive to make your company’s customer service proprietary. Own it. Stand out from competitors in how your organization delivers. By the way, when a brand gets this right, it allows pricing power because we know that from the customers’ perspective the cost of switching to a competitor just spiked higher.

There are three things to keep in mind about customer service and branding:Customer service is one of few things over which organizations have complete control.

1. Customer service is one of few things over which organizations have complete control. 

2. Providing better customer service than your competition raises the switching costs.

3. The way to win in any market is to make customer service the foundation of your brand.

During my tenure at Ritz-Carlton, a major airline’s flight attendant group approached us. They were interested in raising their level of service – commendable for sure. When asked if their CEO knew they were meeting with us, their response was no.  In fact, no other department within the airline was present or had plans to follow this group’s service-improvement journey. The fact is they would have failed because their organization didn’t consider it a priority. Customer service–fueled brand identity should begin at the top and spread to every department like – well, like planes dispatched from hub cities span the continent. It seems like kind of an automatic metaphor, one would think.

So, kudos to Chipotle’s executives for recognizing the corporation has an issue. However, the company’s future would be better served if its execs realized that customer service cannot be the Flavor of the Month.


Prominently featured in the New York Times bestseller The New Gold Standard, Bruce Himelstein is the Ritz-Carlton executive who transformed customer service for one of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands. Now a consultant and speaker, Himelstein discusses brand marketing on respected venues such as and the Wharton School’s Sirius radio channel. Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International named him among the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.

Customer Service Critique of Hospitals and Urgent Cares

In a recently published article, Mr. Bruce J. Himelstein, who has spent well over 30 years in the realm of hospitality upper management helping global brands improve their culture of service, addressed the need for strong customer service reforms in hospital and critical care environments.

Responding to comments by John Stossel, a Fox News Host and Consumer Reporter, Mr. Himelstein expounded upon his experience working with the CEO of the Shady Grove Hospital to enact a top down approach to shift the focus from medical care that comes at the expense of customer care, to a more balanced distribution of services emphasizing empathy, proactive communication, and positive patient interactions.

Being approached by the Shady Groves Hospital CEO to serve on the Board of Directors and analyze the industry-wide issue through his hospitality service lens of perception allowed Bruce to tap into his own expertise and apply proven measures to current healthcare settings in order to find practical ways to enrich the patient’s experience.

The solutions he mentions in the publication are forward thinking and intensely relevant in a time period when the healthcare industry is shifting from relative hospital monopolies towards an array of more diversely competitive options. Simply put, hospitals are going to need to compete with private urgent care facilities, CVS pharmacy clinics, new companies jumping into the healthcare arena, and conglomerates like Walmart who are considering the idea of building hospitals.

When people have more options, as the healthcare industry is trending towards, then the patient experience (in a time of intense social exposure) will play a critical role in the decision making process about which facilities a patient chooses to attend.

In Mr. Himelstein’s professional estimations, there are a series of highly relevant practical solutions (such as encouraged communication and celebrated service awards/incentives) that when enacted from a top down approach could shift the culture and make a huge difference in whether patients feel cared for and important, or isolated and uncomfortable.

With so many hospitals struggling to stay afloat and other struggling to evolve, it is becoming a business necessity for sustainable medical care in hospital environments to include the levels of empathy and communication that are so vital for customer service.

The new wave of healthcare is coming, and it includes a focus on hospitality that previously was reserved for industries dependent on positive client experiences like large scale hotel chains.

Read the Full Article Here.