MR. TENNIS, MR. HOSPITALITY
You may never have heard of him, but Peter Burwash is the head of a highly influential, very successful hospitality company. His firm, Peter Burwash International, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary as the leading provider of tennis facilities at upscale and luxury resorts around the world. But to the dynamic, entrepreneurial Burwash, he's in the hospitality industry, not the tennis business.
“Just like the heads of the great hotel companies, my personal philosophy is that if I take care of our employees, they'll take care of the guests, and the guests will take care of the bottom line,” says the Canadian-born Burwash, who played on the pro tennis tour for seven years before launching his business in 1975 with a tennis facility at the Kona Village Resort in Hawaii. Today, PBI manages tennis operations at 62 resorts around the world.
Burwash developed his hospitality mantra thanks to friendships he made with a number of high-powered hotel executives. Dick Holtzman, Sr., a legend in the Hawaiian hotel market, was his primary mentor but other influences included Kurt Strand of Hilton International and Four Seasons' Isadore Sharpe, who was Burwash's sponsor on the tennis tour.
PBI trains its pros to be part of each resort's management team. “They're hosts as well as managers of the tennis operation,” says Burwash. “They greet guests in the lobby or at the dock. They write welcome notes to returning guests. And they're actively involved in the marketing of the resorts.”
Burwash sees a lot of growth potential for the company in the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi. Other opportunities lie in Costa Rica and in some Mexican markets, he says.
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