How we delight our guests through events & community partners

Marlon Smith and Jeanne Hizon, Hotel Enso

Marlon Smith, the general manager of the new Hotel Enso (a Kimpton hotel) in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood, and Jeanne Hizon, director of sales, share how they engage their guests through activities, events, and community partnerships in today’s episode. Listen now:

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“With the Hotel Enso coming out of a new renovation, we had an opportunity to create an offering that was more than just coffee and a social hour,” Jeanne said.

Jeanne Hizon

“The Enso Series really gives us an opportunity to host not only our guests but to really engage our community as well: to invite them into our space.

“One of our touchpoints was to bring music to our social hour. A couple of weeks ago, we started our live music series on Saturdays during Social Hour, and it brings wonderful energy to our social hour.

“In the spring and summer, we are looking at moving that music and social hour into our courtyard, which is a wonderful outdoor space that we feel will also be the springboard for other guest activations that we're looking at. We have Cherry Blossom Festival coming up in April that we're looking to be a part of and do some things around.

“Another thing that we're launching is our art series where we'll have our rotating artists display their art. We have a local artist in the community that we launching her art in the next couple of weeks and we hope to continue this art series every six months or so.”

We're very strategic in our partnerships because we want them to benefit three stakeholders: our hotel, our guests, and our community.

Marlon Smith
Marlon Smith

Marlon Smith

“We have a number of wonderful small vendors here within blocks of us, not only in Japantown but also in the Fillmore District as well,” Marlon Smith said.

“Whenever we do something, we're thinking about how to bring light to a lot of our smaller businesses in the area.

“I've lived in San Francisco now for 23 years, and love the small neighborhood businesses here. There are a lot of cities in America where that sort of stuff is disappearing. We're a big city, but we still have a small-town feel at times, which I love. As long as local businesses can work towards supporting one another, that's the goal.

“We plan on being here as a hotel for quite some time, and we want to support all of our community around us, so we buy a good portion of our goods from everyone around us. We buy a lot of our decor from the vendors around us. We buy a lot of our amenities from vendors around us. We are dead set on being a big part of this community.

“We want to introduce as many people as we can to our community and hope they love it as much as we do.

“It's all about getting the information out there and introducing our fellow vendors to as many new people as possible.

“Our goal is to be a benefit to Japantown and the surrounding community, and that's why we put a lot of thought and effort into who we can work with.

“For example, there are not too many people in the area doing sake tasting, but we found a sake maker that is 20 minutes away from the hotel, and created a partnership with them which has been unbelievable.

“We’re really happy with how we’ve started. We still have a lot of work to do, but we're really happy about how it's going so far.”