Appointments & Promotions

Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C. Appoints Markus Platzer General Manager

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 24, 2017 — InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced today the appointment of Markus Platzer as General Manager of the historic Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C. hotel. Platzer comes to Washington with nearly 30 years of experience managing dynamic, award-winning hotels around the world.

Platzer is an Austrian native who has set a standard of excellence throughout his career, developing programs and personnel across major metropolitan areas in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He began as front office staff at the Park Hilton in Munich, Germany, and eventually earned a role as Sales Manager at Hilton’s International hotel in Vienna, Austria. In 1992, he joined the IHG team at the InterContinental Hotel Abu Dhabi, and in a few short years became the Regional Manager – Travel Trade Development for the United Arab Emirates, working from the company’s hotel in Dubai. He returned to Europe in 2001 as Director of Sales & Marketing for InterContinental Hotel Prague – the hotel where he first led operations as Resident Manager – before launching a seven-year stint in Bangkok, Thailand, overseeing four hotels in the country. Since leaving Thailand, Platzer has served as Area General Manager for IHG in Japan, based at the InterContinental Tokyo. His position at The Willard will be his first in the United States.

“The Willard’s reputation is known around the world, among the most discerning travelers, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the hotel’s impressive team as we continue to refine our renowned service,” Platzer said.

Markus Platzer earned Bachelor degrees in International Tourism and Hotel Management at the Tourism School Bad Gleichenberg and Business & Commerce at Handelsakademie Feldbach, both in Austria. He brings a wealth of experience leading distinguished, award-winning hotels from around the world to The Willard. In Washington, he will be joined by his wife and two children.

Platzer will replace Patrick Birchall, who recently accepted a position in IHG as Vice President of New Hotel Openings and Operations for Corporate Managed Hotels Americas. Birchall had served as General Manager of the Willard InterContinental Washington and Regional Director of Operations for IHG’s portfolio of hotels in the mid-Atlantic since 2013. During that time, he achieved the hotel’s highest ever scores in guest satisfaction and won the IHG Torch Bearer Award each of the four years.

Birchall said of his time in Washington, “Working at the Willard and in the world's most powerful city has been the experience of a lifetime. The hotel's history, colleagues and ownership are golden - a hotelier's dream.” Platzer will begin welcoming guests to the Willard effective immediately.

About the Willard InterContinental Washington, D.C.

A celebrated historic Washington D.C. hotel, the Willard InterContinental Washington D.C., has been the focal point for elegant dinners, meetings, and social events for 200 years. An iconic institution, the Willard has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce in 1853. Located in the heart of our nation’s capital, two blocks from the White House, the Willard InterContinental, recently named one of the “Top 10 Best Hotels in Washington, DC 2017” by U.S. News & World Report, offers 335 spacious and elegantly appointed rooms that exude a unique blend of contemporary luxury and historic charm. For more information, visit http://washington.intercontinental.com.

Anthony Hesselius

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.