Scott Nowakowski is vice president of information technology strategic applications at Loews Hotels & Co, an owner and operator of 26 full-service upscale properties located in city centers and resort destinations throughout the United States and Canada. He joined the company in 2014 after serving for more than 26 years at Denihan Hospitality Group (formerly Manhattan East Suite Hotels), where he began as a programmer and worked his way up through the IT team until being named senior IT leader. He has served on the HITEC advisory board.
Soon after Nowakowski joined Loews, the company entered a growth phase. As a result, it needed more flexible, scalable and secure technology. He and his team were soon at work migrating 95 percent of the company’s solutions to the cloud. “We methodically moved every system, partnering with about 20 providers,” he said. The project was completed in 18 months, enabling the company to close its data centers in 2019. The only systems that remain on property are energy management solutions, property management system interfaces, and the traditional PBX solutions used by a handful of hotels.
Another of Nowakowski’s initiatives was to create a guest portal, which brought a variety of guest-facing technologies into a single screen, including the guest compendium, QR codes for the key packet and guestroom television, outlet reservations, food ordering capabilities, and the company’s branded program ‘Chat Your Service.’ The project, which was completed in about six months, has been a tremendous success. “Last year, we did multi-million dollars in online food ordering alone,” he said, adding that the ‘Chat Your Service’ app enables guests to get anything they need during their stay–from towels to toiletries–in a safe and touchless environment.
Yet another big project for Nowakowski, begun during the pandemic and still in progress, is consolidating the company’s star service above property. Using cloud-based solutions, including the PBX, the service enables guests to press a single number and speak with a Loews Hotels representative. The platform has been implemented at 10 properties, with more on the way. “By moving these calls off the front desk, it gives our guest-facing agents more time to provide personalized face-to-face service,” he explained.
Nowakowski says the company has held a few discussions about hiring agents versus implementing artificial intelligence to respond to guest requests, but at the end of the day, the decision was made to go with real people. “We want to keep the human touch in the guest journey,” he concluded.
- Family: Married with two grown children and a dog.
- Hobbies: “I don’t have time for hobbies. I’m 1st Assistant Chief and an emergency medical technician for my local volunteer fire department. I’ve responded to more than a thousand fire and rescue calls every year since becoming a chief in 2019, and I’ve been an active member of the department for more than 35 years.”
- Go-To Periodical or Website: Wired.com. “It gives a great perspective on new technology and how it effects our business and personal lives.”
- Book: “I’m not a reader. I just don’t have the free time.”
- Music: Pop, soft rock and country.
- Travel Destination: Woodloch Pines, a family-owned resort in the Pocono Mountains. “I’ve been going there since I was very young, and my family loves it.”
- Advice to Young People: “Love what you do, learn every day, and lead from the heart.”
- Dinner With: Billy Joel. “I’m a huge fan of his music, and he’s a Long Island native like me!”