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Anthony Melchiorri, ’90, continues to prove that nothing is impossible. Throughout his meteoric hotel career, Melchiorri is known for recognizing opportunities — and inspiring others to achieve them. “The only limitation in business, and in life, is a lack of imagination,” Melchiorri said. In fact, it’s his imagination that led to one of the Travel Channel’s most popular shows. Melchiorri — who pitched the idea for “Hotel Impossible,” a hotel turnaround show now in its seventh season — is the creator and host of the reality series that revives struggling hotels to put them on a fast-track to success. “The hotel business is very misunderstood, and I wanted to educate people by taking them behind the scenes,” he said. “I felt that I had the experience to teach people — one at a time — or I can have an audience of millions.” With candor and wit, Melchiorri empowers hotel owners to correct their most pressing issues, from outdated amenities to subpar guest services. “My show is about saving people’s businesses and livelihoods. I’ve turned around a lot of hotels in my career and I wanted to help save theirs,” he said. Melchiorri is ultimately driven by the pursuit of excellence. “In the hospitality and travel industry, everything matters. No details are small. When it’s right, you can feel it,” he said. No excuses His “no excuses” mantra for hotel managers on and off the show can be traced to his military service as a protocol officer in the U.S. Air Force. Melchiorri, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Park University’s Whiteman Air Force Base (Mo.) Campus Center, credits Park for making his education goals achievable. “I was fully loaded between working full-time on base and weekends at the Embassy Suites in Overland Park (Kan.). It was incredible to me that Park made classes available for service members right on the base,” he said. “I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity. For me, it was invaluable. When I left the military, I had my degree and was able to get going on my career.”

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And what a career it’s been. Beginning as the director of front office operations at The Plaza Hotel in New York, Melchiorri has repositioned some of the finest properties in the country. At age 29, he was appointed general manager of the Lucerne Hotel in 1997. Under his management, the Lucerne was developed into a top New York hotel, and selected as The New York Times Travel Guide’s Best Service Hotel.

In 2005, he became general manager of New York’s historic Algonquin Hotel, which at the time was a shell of its glory days. The Algonquin was famous in the 1920s as hangout for celebrities such as actor Harpo Marx and poet Dorothy Parker who regularly gathered for lunch at what became known as the Algonquin Round Table. “It was the epicenter of New York culture, the conversation piece of America,” he said. “After convincing the owners to close the Algonquin for 29 days, Melchiorri led a $15 million renovation of the building and its image. “It’s not only come back, but it’s now one of the leading hotels in New York.” In 2010, Melchiorri founded Argeo Hospitality, a hotel management and consultation company. And his imagination continues to whirl with the recent launch of his new line of Anthony Melchiorri branded hotel products. For his hotel turnaround success both on and off screen, Melchiorri has captured national media attention for his hospitality and travel industry expertise and advice — from Forbes, The New York Times and USA Today to guest appearances on "The Today Show," "The Rachel Ray Show" and "Nightline." To extend his expertise to growing businesses, Melchiorri has a book in the works tentatively titled, How to Run Your Business Like a FiveStar Hotel. With Melchiorri’s continued high ratings, he’s now hosting two new shows for the Travel Channel. In “Hotel Impossible: Five-Star Secrets," Melchiorri visits world famous luxury hotels to find out what makes them truly exceptional. In “Hotel Impossible: Showdown,” Melchiorri challenges four independent boutique properties in a competition to prove they have the best amenities, accommodations and guest experience. Find your passion Known for his candid and inspiring advice, Melchiorri offers words of wisdom on success for Park students and graduates. “No matter what you do, go for it with passion. I succeeded in the military because I wanted to do it well. I succeed in getting my education because I wanted it and was grateful for the opportunity. I succeeded in the hotel business because I wanted to achieve excellence. So many people have opportunities but don’t see them and don’t do the work to really take advantage of them,” he said. “Take advantage of your Park education. Do the work. Find your passion and the universe will conspire for your success.”

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Park University Magazine - Spring 2016  

With 140 years of outstanding history and more than 71,000 living alumni, Park University has many great stories to tell. As part of the Uni...