2014 Hotel Technology Forum
Russ Dazzio HTF14 Speaker

Russ Dazzio

Chairman & CEO
R&R Global Hospitality

Russell Dazzio is the Chairman and founder of R&R Hotel Group and co-founder of R&R Global Hospitality. During a prolific career within the hospitality industry that spans over five decades and started with his first job as a busboy, Dazzio has worked on the front lines of many the worlds’ most vibrant centers of commerce and leisure in such cities as; Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Upon graduating from UNLV’s Harrah Hotel College in 1972, Dazzio joined the Stardust Hotel & Casino, at the time, the largest hotel & casino in Las Vegas. Early in his career he showed a knack for innovation, earning him the honor of being one of Las Vegas’ youngest casino executives. He quickly made a name for himself in gaming circles by successfully coordinating the installation of the first ever Sports Book and fully integrated casino marketing department in a full gaming Nevada casino.

Dazzio left a promising career in gaming after learning the ins and outs of casino operations for the opportunity to join one of the world’s leading international hotel companies, ITT Sheraton. Over the next ten years he rapidly advanced and captured numerous “ITT” and “Sheraton” performance recognition awards. During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics he orchestrated and oversaw the largest booking in ITT Sheraton’s history with the Coca Cola Company while simultaneously serving with the Olympic Organizing Committee and acting as special advisor for LAPD’s Chief of Police.

By the late 80’s he decided the time had come to test his entrepreneurial skills and founded R&R Hotel Group, the forerunner to R&R Global Hospitality. The practical experience Dazzio acquired at ITT Sheraton proved invaluable, especially in the sphere of hotel marketing and management. As R&R Hotel Group’s Chairman, Dazzio was responsible for negotiating third party management agreements and directing the operation for almost every type of hospitality venture conceivable. His duties also required him to interface regularly with Hotel; owners, lenders, financial institutions and senior development representatives of major hotel brands.

In spite of being only one tenth the size of its key competitors, R&R Hotel Group was rated in the 90’s by Hotel Business Magazine the #1 Hotel Management Company in America. Dazzio gives credit to this high praise to his property management teams, who artfully adapted from conventional operating methods to the “special forces” unconventional style of sales and marketing tactics he created to keep hotels R&R went up against off balance.

In 2005 Dazzio foresaw third party management assignments would be monopolized by owner operator groups and began looking for alternate revenue producing avenues for the Company to pursue. He had the good fortune then to become acquainted with the founders of the world’s preeminent Vacation Ownership consulting firm, Global Resorts. The principals of each Company’s recognized the potential of creating a Las Vegas based Joint Venture and R&R Global Hospitality’s was born.

Dazzio took the role of lead architect in the new venture and drew up plans that fashioned the Company to be a one stop shop that delivered a wide array of development, management and advisory services - all under one umbrella. R&R Global Hospitality quickly amassed a client list made up of international hotel magnates, Hollywood “A” list celebrities and even a few members of royalty. One of the new courses the Company was chartering required Dazzio to act in the capacity of an asset manager. While wearing this hat Dazzio w as required to sit on the opposite side of the table with the same third party management companies he had competed with for many years. This reversal of roles windfall placed Dazzio in a position to leverage his considerable insider knowledge negotiating management and branding agreements in a way R&R Global’s clients always ended up with highly favorable terms.

Since its inception, R&R Global has become a highly respected consulting, management and development services company who has represented assets in 34 countries and 47 states, which have an estimated combined value placed at over $12 billion. After taking a few years to get R&R Global Hospitality off the ground Dazzio began searching in 2006 for a partner who would be able to act as the Company’s investor arm and take advantage of “off market” deal flow that regularly came across his desk. In early 2007 opportunity came knocking in the form of Don Harty, Chairman of ADF Companies, one of the world’s largest fast food franchisors. Harty was introduced to Dazzio by a mutual friend who was aware Harty was seeking a partner who could help him do in the hotel industry what he had accomplished in fast food franchising. They quickly bonded and made arrangements to from a partnership between Harty’s Strategic Lodging Capital Investments, and R&R Global Hospitality. They named it Connoisseur Hotels. Before long they had a $200 million credit line commitment from Prudential and Dazzio was moving the new Company forward at full throttle searching for the “right” deals. A promising future for Connoisseur Hotels was unfortunately cut short when investment platforms collapsed once the scope of the unfolding recession became apparent. Dazzio and Harty have remained close friends and have not ruled out re-entering the market with Connoisseur Hotels once market conditions stabilize.

In spite of the severe economic downturn that hit America in 2007, R&R Hotel & Global Hospitality Group has survived, prospered and recently celebrated their combined 25th Anniversary. As the sun rises on a new era for the Company, Dazzio recently formed an off shore business partnership seeking to invest equity in one of Las Vegas’s many “distressed” gaming assets. Dazzio holds a B.S. Degree in Hotel Administration from UNLV where he was a member of the hotel college’s inaugural class and has attended UCLA’s Film School. He also maintains a close alumnus relationship with UNLV’s Hotel College where he has taught under grad students on and off since the 1980’s and who’s International Advisory Board he has served for nearly a decade.

Dazzio is a popular guest speaker and the recipient of numerous industry and local, state and federal honors and awards. He served as California’s delegate at the first ever “White House Conference on Tourism”, was published in the Cornell Quarterly, sits on the Steering Committee for the prestigious JMBM Law Firm’s Developer’s Conference, regularly authors articles for Hospitality Technology Magazine - who’s Advisory Board he is a member. Dazzio honorably served in the United Sates Army - Army Reserves during the Vietnam era.