Skip to main content
Thursday, May 09, 2024

The Suite Life with Hillary Volkford

The Suite Life with Hillary Volkford

The Independent Hotel Show Miami is guided by an esteemed Advisory Board comprised entirely of hotel owners and operators, executives, and senior management from notable properties. They provide unparalleled expertise on larger industry issues, as well as day-to-day challenges ensuring the show best serves the needs of luxury, lifestyle, and boutique hoteliers in North America, the Caribbean, and Central America.

One of those Advisory Board members is Hillary Volkford, entrepreneur, blogger, hotelier, and owner of the Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, Montana, a 1910 property turned boutique hotel that has become a destination for people from all over. In this edition of The Suite Life, we get to know more about Hillary and how travel is a passion for her both personally and professionally.

The Suite Life is a fun, Q&A style series where we take a look behind the scenes and get to know the industry leaders who work hard to make the Independent Hotel Show Miami a success. To stay on top of all of the latest developments from the show, sign up on our website.

THE SUITE LIFE (TSL): What was your A-Ha moment when it came to making hospitality your career and open your own independent property?
HILLARY VOLKFORD (HL): Hospitality is more often used as a term to describe a job and not the intangible meaning of the word, which for me is more a feeling, and something I have experienced a lot after traveling. I want to create that experience for guests visiting Montana. When I see guests making great memories at our hotels – that remains the A-Ha moment for me.

TSL: What is your favorite place to travel?
HL: Italy, specifically Capri. To me, that is the most magical place in the world!

TSL: What is your dream vacation?
HL: I am currently dreaming of visiting Bhutan.

TSL: What new place do you want to travel next?
HL: Not so much want to as the plans are made. We are headed to Mallorca, Spain in the Spring and I cannot wait.

TSL: You have two small children and still travel regularly. What is the best place to travel with small children? Any “how to travel with small children” tips in general?
HL: Our two small children go everywhere with us! The beach is the best with children, where they are entertained for the day. But we also love exploring cities together. There is so much for kids to do in cities like parks, museums, and other exhibits. My daughter loves art, so we try and pick places of famous artists such as Frida Kahlo in Mexico City or Vincent Van Gogh in Amsterdam.

TSL: Drawing from all your travels, what is your all-time favorite meal, and where would be the ideal setting to enjoy it?
HL: Lunch at Da Adolfo, on the coast of the Amalfi. It’s a little beach side restaurant only accessible by boat. The menu is whatever they catch that day. Fresh fish, homemade pasta, and great wine. All of the components of my favorite meal.

TSL: Now that we have talked about travel and what it means to you personally, we want to ask a few questions about how this comes through at the Sacajawea Hotel. What is your leadership style?
HL: My leadership style is charismatic. I try to lead my team by example and try to inspire and engage to help motivate our teams.

TSL: How do you motivate a team?
HL: Like my leadership style, I lead by example. Literally and figuratively, I will get my hands dirty. There is no job I will not do or that I otherwise consider “beneath me.” I will clean rooms, do dishes, and do whatever needs to get done.

TSL: How do you handle failure and setbacks?
HL: I learn from my mistakes. “Allow yourself to go and do it wrong. Don't expect to always get it right. It will prevent you from doing anything.”

TSL: How do you stay up to date with industry trends and developments?
HL: By traveling often.

TSL: How do you stay motivated and avoid burnout as a leader?
HL: A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else.

TSL: How do you unwind from the demands of your job?
HL: I spend quality time with my children, or reading, yoga, or walking outside in beautiful Montan. They all feed my soul.

Come meet Hillary and the rest of our Advisory Board at the Independent Hotel Show Miami, September 18-19, 2024, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Independent Hotel Show Miami is the most comprehensive, dedicated event for the luxury, boutique, and independent hotel sector which focuses on hotel industry trends and emerging opportunities for today’s independent hoteliers to help grow their businesses. Companies from across the supply chain are invited to exhibit and benefit from the opportunity to sell directly to an engaged audience in search of the highest quality products and services. Be sure to register today!