Name: Mike Kosla
Position: Vice President of Hospitality Sales
Company: LG Electronics
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
Mike Kosla: I am LG’s vice president of hospitality sales—that entails TVs and technology solutions for hotels, cruise ships, hospitals, and long-term care. I’m basically responsible for the sales of LG Commercial Displays for use in these business types, both in-room and within public spaces. The product categories that we sell are commercial-grade TVs and large- and small-format monitors.
SCN: How long have you been at this position?
MK: I have been with LG Electronics for 22 years and I’ve been leading the hospitality sales organization since 2010.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
MK: I started my career in B2B Sales for Zenith in 1995, selling displays to virtually all B2B verticals including hotels, hospitals, schools, restaurants, bars, and even prisons. Initially, I was responsible for a six-state region selling Zenith commercial TVs directly to B2B end users and to resellers. I moved into sales management in 1997; two years later, in 1999, Zenith merged with LG. I studied business/marketing at The Ohio State University and received my degree in 1989.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
MK: Our short-term goal is to continue market dominance in our mature business verticals, like hotel and hospital. Because of superior technology and customer care, our hotel TV market share has been greater than 50 percent for years. In the hospital vertical, we’ve held a 60-percent market share during that same time period.
For our legacy hotel and hospital verticals, LG Electronics developed a technology/solution that allows for a cost-effective way to deploy thin, flat-panel televisions with encrypted HDTV content. This was imperative to the business because encryption was a requirement of the Hollywood studios—they wanted to make sure that their programing could not be copied and then pirated, which would cost them profits. Without encryption, the studios would not allow for HD content to be used in hotels and hospitals, slowing the adoption of thin-panel televisions. The team at LG was able to develop B2B-specific encryption technology that ultimately was adopted by the commercial television industry and used as a standard for TVs sold into hotels and hospitals.
As for the long-term, we are looking to grow our newer business groups such as long-term care and cruise ships. To achieve that type of performance in these two newer verticals, we will need to develop new, disruptive products and solutions that will allow us to create an unrivaled value proposition; this will lead to sales levels that will allow us to dominate the industry.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
MK: The greatest challenge that we face is not resting on our past success; any successful company must always be looking in the rearview mirror, and have a healthy dose of paranoia with regard to the competition.
SCN: Where do you see your market heading?
MK: In 2016 and 2017, we started to see further shifts in customer values, preferences, and expectations, especially around receiving personalized experiences tailored to meet their needs—perhaps none more so than in the hospitality sector. From check-in to check-out, the guest experience needs to change in order to keep up with these shifts, and we offer a portfolio of guest-centric solutions specifically designed for the hospitality space perfect for enhancing the entire customer journey.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from LG?
MK: LG recently introduced the world’s first OLED “Wallpaper” Hotel TV, a uniquely designed razor-thin display that is 0.15 inches thin and can be easily installed in luxury hotel suites, sticking to the wall with ultra-slim mounting brackets with a magnetic mat. In 2017, we also addressed a growing interest in 4K Ultra HD across the industry by expanding our lineup of 4K Ultra HD hotel TV offerings, from premium to entry-level models ranging from 43- to 79-inch class sizes in three different display families.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from products and/or services you have to offer?
MK: We have local resources dedicated to working directly with our partners to make sure they receive training and support; when they are deploying our products, we want to ensure it is a positive and successful experience.