Terceira making a name for himself in North American hotel industry
In the first of a new series this week featuring Bermudians who have made a name for themselves overseas in their chosen industries, Marina Mello speaks to Tim Terceira, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto
Bold leadership and a trusted partnership with employees and the community at large are what’s needed to turn around tourism in Bermuda.
This from a Bermudian who’s made it to the top in the North American hotel industry.
Tim Terceira is the general manager of the new 267-room, 135-residence Ritz-Carlton Toronto, a $300-million development, which he saw built from the ground up.
The son of former UBP MP Clarence Terceira, Mr Terceira is a career hotelier, having worked his way up to the senior level at the respected Four Seasons and Marriott International chains. He also worked at the management level in Bermuda at the Elbow Beach resort and the former Marriott Castle Harbour.
Mr Terceira and his wife Karen have returned many times over the years to visit his family and two daughters who both now live on the Island, and he has seen first hand the industry’s decline.
“It’s clear we have lost our position as a premier destination,” Mr Terceira said. “That does not necessarily mean we have lost if forever; we can do something about it.”
Mr Terceira said there’s no single factor that caused the closures of some of our largest hotels, and the continued declines in visitor arrivals.
In Bermuda’s heyday there was not a lot of competition, he noted, but in the 1990s the world suddenly became the island’s tourism rival.
“People had more choice, and more interesting concepts,” he said.
Tourists became far more discerning and concerned about price-value, he said.
“What it comes down to, he said, “is you have to win with guests. You have to provide an engaging, memorable experience, that makes your guests feel appreciated, valued, and special. You have to anticipate their needs.”
He said word of mouth is critical in the success of a hotel today.
“I would ask, how well has Bermuda embraced an evolving world and industry?”
Mr Terceira said leading international hotel brands like the ones he’s worked for, are looking at Bermuda, but the bottom line is in order for them to put their name to a property here and invest money in it, it has to take make financial sense.
He said Government can help hotels to operate profitably in Bermuda, by “showing bold leadership and being willing to do what it takes, and step outside their comfort zone.”
He said hotel operators looks for things like “flexibility from staff, and lateral movement, and employees that are fully committed to the hotel’s success.”
Mr Terceira added that because Bermuda is a small island with limited resources, Bermudians should understand how tourism and international business are critical to the Island’s survival.
Mr Terceira became GM of the planned Ritz-Carlton Toronto in March 2009. The property officially opened in February this year.
He took up the post after a career that saw him oversee rooms, food and beverage and other operations in hotels in Bermuda, the US, and Canada.
Mr Terceira began his career in the hotel industry at the age of 14, working as a beach boy at the former Lantana cottage colony.
He worked there every summer, and after completing his education at Saltus and a high school abroad, he went on to gain a hotel administration degree from Cornell University.
After college, Mr Terceira joined the Four Seasons chain as a trainee and then became director of operations for a Four Seasons hotel in Bellville, Ontario.
From there he worked for a time at the famed Pierre Hotel in New York, before taking a position at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
In 1986 he decided to return to Bermuda where he worked as director of operations at the Elbow Beach resort, before eventually joining the Marriott International group.
He worked in operations at various Marriott properties in the US. Northeast and also at the former Marriott Castle Harbour, before relocating to work with the rapidly growing chain’s corporate offices in Canada.
After travelling almost weekly, and moving his family through eight different school systems, Mr Terceira seized an opportunity to stay with one property.
He joined the Ritz-Carlton brand in 2009, assuming the number one position as general manager of the new Ritz-Carton Toronto, where he watched over every detail as the 52-storey hotel was built.
Then he took on the enormous task of staffing it.
“Staffing is critical. If you get the right people you will be successful,” Mr Terceira said. “In the end we selected 330 employees from 16,000 applicants.”
He said applicants were put through a rigorous interview process to determine if they were a good fit for a company that sees service as one of the greatest things you can do in life.
Mr Terceira said all staff at the hotel are referred to as Ladies and Gentleman and there is a deep mutual respect between employer and employee.
The Ritz Toronto is located in the heart of the city’s financial and performing arts districts and across from Roy Thomson Hall.
The 267 luxurious rooms and suites offer city or lake views.
Amenities include a 23,000-square-foot Urban Sanctuary and Spa, an outdoor terrace, and fine dining at the TOCA restaurant.
Ritz-Carlton rooms feature such luxurious touches as floor to ceiling windows, heated perimeter flooring, dual vanities, rain and hand-held showerheads, deep soaker tubs, twice-daily housekeeping service, plush terry bathrobes, umbrellas, and electronic in-room laptop safes.
Room rates range from around $400-$500 and up.
If you know of someone you think should be profiled e-mail mmello[AT]royalgazette.bm