One of Choice’s core values is “Relationships Matter” because relationships are at the core of everything we do. We love meeting others that share the same passion for building relationships which is why our team is so pleased to call Zach Mason a friend. Zach is extremely passionate about cultivating genuine and meaningful relationships. Recently, publicist Devin Lee sat down and interviewed Zach for our “What I’m Known For” series where Zach talks about cultivating genuine and meaningful relationships in his personal life and career in the hospitality industry.
An Oklahoma native, Zach Mason now resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he has successfully established himself within the hospitality industry. Most recently, he supported The Thompson Nashville (Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 Hot List of best new hotels in the world) & Two Roads Hospitality by working in the front office, ensuring guests’ positive experiences at the hotel. In August of 2017, Mason joined Noelle as Business and Marketing Curator, where he supports the mood and mindset of the hotel, opening guests’ eyes to new hotel experiences and building lasting relationships with visitors and influencers throughout the city.
DLD: Nashville is a happening city right now with 100 people moving to the city a day. You’re a new transplant to Nashville yourself. What brought you to Nashville and what is your favorite part of your new home?
ZM: Two years ago, I was going through a season of transition in my personal life and wanted a change from living in Tulsa, OK. Nashville seemed like an experiential city with a lot of focus on history, people, and culture. After being here for two years, I can see why Nashville is so attractive to all its newcomers!
DLD: You work in marketing at the newest hotel in Nashville, Noelle. How did you get into the hospitality industry?
ZM: I moved to Nashville without a job on purpose. Prior to working in hospitality, I was one of the worship pastors at the church I grew up in and owned a couple businesses in the wedding industry which required me to travel extensively. While traveling, I stayed in a lot of hotels and had amazing experiences which I wanted to curate in my new career. After moving to town, I met Senior Vice President of Operations of Makeready Experience, Brett Orlando; he saw a lot of himself in me and took me under his wing. We’ve now opened two successful hotels in the Nashville area and he’s become not only a close friend but a professional mentor that I highly respect and admire.
DLD: Everywhere you turn there is a venue in Nashville. What challenges have you experienced marketing Noelle as a brand new event space? How have you overcome these challenges?
ZM: Nashville is a buzzing city and because of that the supply of venue spaces is still not meeting the demand. A challenge we have faced is that our venue spaces are for more intimate weddings, conferences, etc. We might not have the spaces other venues have but we have a very unique atmosphere and provide the highest level of service which sets us apart.
DLD: What has been the most effective form of advertisement you’ve used to promote the happenings at Noelle?
ZM: In short, word of mouth (including social media). Noelle’s focus is curating transformational experiences and because of that people are writing, talking, and posting about the hotel. We have a beautiful building with the best design and branding but the people are who create the experiences and provide the best level of service which is unforgettable. A great example of this is TripAdvisor; we recently went from 69 to 13 out of 169 hotels in 90 days because our customers were so wowed by our quality of service they felt impressed to share about their experience.
DLD: You’re extremely passionate about networking – why is that? How has working in the hospitality industry changed the way you network with others?
ZM: To be honest, I exercise great caution when using the word “networking” because it can be very fleeting. Especially in this city. Social attention cannot be a substitute for real friendship. A lot of people want to be seen for what they do and who they know thinking that’s what matters the most and how they’ll “make it.” I’m not nearly as interested in that as I am getting to know WHO they are. I’m all about forming lasting relationships. Working in hospitality has allowed me to do just that. It has increased the amount of opportunities I get to sit across the table, move past the acquaintance level, and encourage that person to dig deep inside and discover their true purpose.
DLD: You talk a lot about your faith and how you incorporate it daily into your work life. Why do you think that’s important to do? Has being so open benefited you in building relationships in business? If so, how?
ZM: At the core, I’m very passionate about helping people discover their purpose, and tell their story. I’m lucky to get the opportunity to do that personally and professionally in an industry that is so often driven by the bottom-line. I found my purpose through my faith and my role as a believer is to love people no matter what, which is perfect since I’m in the business of people; the most important bottom-line of all.
DLD: In the music industry it’s all about who you know. This makes Nashville a city full of networkers, just like yourself. How do you make your conversation with new people stand out? Do you have a go to question or topic you like to discuss?
ZM: This is my favorite question. Ideally, I like to lead my conversations with vulnerability. This is not a new concept and should be part of our DNA. Again, I meet a lot of people who mistake their identity with what they do and who they know rather than who they are and what makes them unique. That’s why I like to simply ask “Who are you?” and do my best to avoid asking people what they do. When you meet people where they are, they tend to mirror that vulnerability and really get to know what they’re passionate about, what goals they’re pursuing, what wakes them up in the morning, etc.
DLD: Noelle has an amazing restaurant, Makeready Libations & Liberation, which everyone should check out! I’ve heard you talk about the importance of breaking bread with others. If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be and why?
ZM: I would love to have dinner with Steven Furtick. I listen to Elevation’s podcast on a daily basis. I’m encouraged by his passion, knowledge, and influence.
DLD: What is the best advice you’ve received?
ZM: JD Ost, Lead Pastor of Zeal Church, did a series called “Never Settle.” I actually got it tattooed on my right arm. It was that life changing. Greater perspective leads to greater purpose. Always continue to dig deep inside of yourself and unearth the treasure that is within you.