Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Recognizes Innisfree Hotels Founder and CEO
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, Founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels Julian MacQueen will be celebrated by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association with its highest honor – the Hotelier Hall of Fame Award – during the FRLA Installation & Awards Gala at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla.
The Hall of Fame Award recognizes an industry professional with a personal record of achievement over at least 20 years, attainment of career distinctions and distinguished service to the industry, community, charitable organizations and family.
MacQueen got his start in hospitality at the age of 15, as a busboy at a beachside hotel. He never left the industry. Since its founding in 1985, Innisfree Hotels has built a strong portfolio of beachfront hotels, restaurants and spas along the Gulf Coast of Florida, most recently expanding to own and manage hotels in Michigan and Vermont. With a current total of more than 2,400 hotel rooms and 1,200 employees, the Northwest Florida based company is expected to grow by 50 percent over the next three years.
“To be recognized at this level celebrates Innisfree as a whole,” MacQueen says. “This is a collective award that I accept on behalf of my wife and my family and the amazing people at Innisfree.”
One hallmark of Innisfree Hotels is the culture MacQueen has created, both for employees and guests. With a mission of making ‘fun, memorable experiences,’ the Innisfree team is dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service. The company is also deeply rooted in the community, formally establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility program called The Hive in 2015.
Projects of significance to The Hive include the adoption of the Pensacola-based Dixon School of the Arts, the building and funding of the Independence for the Blind of Northwest Florida Training Center, the creation of From the Ground Up Community Garden and the naming of the MacQueen School of Hospitality at the University of West Florida.
When MacQueen and his wife, Kim, started Innisfree Hotels, they did so with the lofty goal of connecting their work to the service of mankind, a perfect fit for the hospitality industry. Over the past 30 years, the MacQueens have strived to create a culture where people come to work to do more than make a bed or serve a drink – they come to change people’s lives.
“I think that’s resonated with the people at Innisfree – holding each other up, giving back to the community, serving our guests,” MacQueen says. “I often say people are going to come into our hotels and have an experience – our job is to make that a positive one.”
– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels