7 Wellness Minutes with Rico
Rico Louw is an Account Manager and Client Liaison at STR, Inc., with a special focus in US Central States, Mexico, and the Caribbean Regions. He joined STR in 2015 and is responsible for maintaining positive relationships and services between STR and corporate clients, with a deep understanding of the data received, along with the reports and products generated by STR.
With a Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from the University of Tenerife, Canary Islands - Spain, where he resided for thirty-one years, he grew up trilingual and was exposed to ventures and experiences within the hospitality & tourism industry. He currently resides and works in Hendersonville, TN, USA, is happily married with two daughters.
1) How did you get started in your current career path?
STR seemed such a good fit with my abilities to speak languages and past life within the hotel and restaurant management positions held in my Canary Islands past. What really triggered me to pursue a career with STR, is the proximity of the office to our residence. I reduced my commute from 45 minutes to 5, each way. I have been able to be close to family and events now.
2) Where do you see the wellness industry heading in the future?
Up and Up!! We hear how the Millennials and Gen X & Z are all about living the ultimate experiences and posting it on their social media, Wellness is a playground for them. Wellness also caters for the aging generations, who seek education and better habits of life… What a better place to start this, away from home and neighbors. Now, when following the data, especially new build of hotels, the most common word in the Caribbean region is “Resort”, nearly always follow with “& Spa” and sometimes even with “Casino”. Hotel planning today always has a gym, maybe a spa, but these items make up the full experience and package.
3) What is the biggest challenge that you think we face today in wellness?
That everyone says they do wellness. Let me use bartending as an example; bartenders can make your preferred cocktail, but only a few can really execute it well, with decadent detail, making it an unforgettable experience. Certification, constant education, and staying relevant is the way. Well done Caribbean WE!!
4) Is there a practice that you recommend for staying on track to achieve your goals?
I have goals that are measurable in place. Year over year performance comparison helps you understand your success. I also plan my day, specific hours of the day are assigned to tasks that I need to execute on. This helps me become proactive rather than reactive.
The best advice I read recently, is to send the 3 most important emails you have on the day, first thing in the morning before you start managing your inbox. This enables you to start new conversations and drive your business.
5) What podcasts, books, magazines, events or courses do you utilize to develop professionally?
I do Audible with my wife when driving long distances. We thoroughly enjoyed “Outliers”, involved a lot of data, fascinating. Ted Talks (take a look at Rasmus Ankersen) and youtube are part of my resources, and finally, LinkedIn and newsletters, I faithfully dedicate an hour a day to them.
6) How do you balance work and life? What is your favorite self-care practice?
You just do! Ha! A long time ago, a mentor of mine told me that if you answer emails and phone calls late at night or into the weekend, your clients will reach out to you within the mentioned periods, because you did! Make sure everyone, clients and coworkers, understand where mutual expectations live. Keep everyone on the same page. My favorite self-care and sanity come with working out. I run or do circuit training 4 to 5 times a week. That hour a day is MINE!
7) Who have your role models been and what have you learned from them?
This is a tough one, due to the way we intake information and education, depending on where we are in life. I think that we are constantly learning, from a good boss or a bad one (in this last case, “what NOT to do”). I recently watched the movie Rush, that revolves around the rivalry of two Formula 1 drivers in the 70’s, Nikki Lauda and James Hunt. Two complete opposite profiles, so interesting to look back on. The take away is that one made the other one a better competitor, driver…