Kent Murray

General Manager, Holiday Inn Express Edmonton Downtown

Kent Murray

I have been in the Hotel Industry for 15 years.
I have worked in 6 hotels in Canada .

Being at the bottom of the organizational chart, with our guests at the top, followed immediately by the ladies and gentlemen that serve them, I have the best job in the world – getting paid to have fun! Being open 24/7/365, hotels have the potential to be a black hole for our time, but when I think about the fantastic people that I work for, with and beside, it’s worth every minute. I love the variety and getting to meet people from all over the world, and welcome them to Canada, as their host.

My first job/position in the hotel industry was Controller

The number of times I have…

renovated a hotel: 1
removed a dead body: 0
escorted a guest off the property: 5
seen a ghost in a hotel: 0
kept “it” confidential: 5
driven a guest to the hospital: 1
dealt with an “Act of God”: 2
performed Housekeeping Duties (made beds, scrubbed toilets): 5
taken a sick day: 2

What does it take to be a GM? What’s involved day to day?
It takes ownership, passion & vision, to be an ambassador for your property, your brand and your ownership group. Day to day, I’m involved with guests and their feedback – which is very important to me. Of course, I’m involved in communication, meetings and numbers too. I don’t like spending too much time sitting in meetings – instead I like to be up and about, talking to staff, guests, suppliers & lessees. One of the things that I pride myself in and get a lot of compliments about, is knowing people’s names. No one gets referred to as a room number in my hotel, without that person hearing about it from me. In our brand, both guests and team-mates alike are viewed as everyday heroes, with families and friends that love them & great stories to tell. What FUN it is to be a hotel GM!

The three things I can’t live without are:
1. Contact with people. Lack of it is what drove me out of finance, once and for all.
2. Technology (and colleagues) that work.
3. Having FUN at work, and getting paid.

My caffeine fix: Coffee
Two, before I leave home in the morning. I seldom drink coffee at work, unless I’m extremely tired.

When I wake up, the first thing I think about is letting the dog out, because she is usually scratching at our bedroom door. Then turning on the coffeemaker. Work can wait a little bit, while I enjoy my home time.

The Hotelier (or person) that has inspired me the most is There are two: Wayne Roberts & Dan DeSantis

My most embarrassing encounter with a hotel guest was attending a male guest’s room to assist him with his internet, and him inviting me in for a beer while he was in his underwear. Then seeing gay porn & chat sites on his computer, as I was helping him with it. Sure glad I said No to the beer!

My most famous hotel guests were: The Wilson sisters of Heart, Silken Laumann, Glenn Anderson of the Edmonton Oilers, and Laurie Skreslet.

My most bizarre special request from a hotel guest (or staff member) was There hasn’t been much, other than above.

Best CANADIAN hotel for a entertaining/fun/dirty/wild weekend: No idea. Haven’t experienced one (here).
Best CANADIAN hotel for a shopping trip: Fantasyland Hotel at West Edmonton Mall.
Best CANADIAN hotel for business travel: The Intercontinental in Toronto
Best CANADIAN convention hotel: Chateau Lake Louise
Best CANADIAN airport hotel: Delta Vancouver Airport
Best CANADIAN resort: The Grand Okanagan
Best RESTAURANT in a CANADIAN hotel: Mantles at Delta Sun Peaks Resort

Best technology innovation in hotels: Shower stalls that turn into televisions, with the touch of a button.

The best advice given to me:
When joining a hotel, resist the temptation to try and put your stamp on everything right away. Be patient. Listen to the people that are already there doing the job.

My biggest pet peeve when visiting “other” hotels is If my room is too hot. I can’t take that. Another is rowdy guests that are not dealt with quickly & allowed to go on and on.

The Hotel amenity I can’t live without is well, air conditioning.

The worst feeling in the world is having to evacuate due to a fire alarm, late at night.

If I could change one thing about the hotel industry, it would it be: More recognition of the roles we serve, in terms of providing employment and the responsibilities that we bear regarding safety, security and service.

If I could meet one person (alive or dead) it would it be Stan Rogers.

If I had to do it all over again, I would not spend so much time in food and beverage, and get my certifications sooner.

I prefer
Day over Night
Summer over Winter
West Coast over East Coast
Sunset over Sunrise
Quiet over Loud
Rock Music over Classical Music