I have been in the Hotel Industry for 28 years.
I have worked in 7 hotels in Canada + Internationally.
As a Hotelier, I have lived in 1 country (excluding Canada).
My first job/position in the hotel industry was: I come from a family of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs so I can probably say that I have been working, or at least involved, in the industry from a very young age. However, my first job that was not associated with the family business. I was as a server in a hotel in downtown Toronto.
The number of times I have…
opened a hotel: 1
renovated a hotel: 2
removed a dead body: 2
escorted a guest off the property: 10
seen a ghost in a hotel: 0
kept “it” confidential: 30
driven a guest to the hospital: 0
dealt with an “Act of God”: 2
performed Housekeeping Duties (made beds, scrubbed toilets): 100
taken a sick day: 0
What does it take to be a GM? What’s involved day to day?
It takes passion, hard work, dedication and commitment to do your job well. There is a reason we often talk about the “art of hospitality”. Just like any art, if it doesn’t come from the heart, or you are not passionate about it, employees and guests will see right through you.
The three things I can’t live without are:
1-My family and friends,
My caffeine fix: Being European raised, people find it hard to believe that I don’t drink coffee or tea. Even more so, they wonder how I manage to function early in the morning. I tell them it is pure adrenaline!
When I wake up, the first thing I think about is how lucky I am to be enjoying another day…then I start planning how to make it a successful and enjoyable one.
The Hotelier (or person) that has inspired me the most is: That is a very difficult question to answer as I have been blessed to work with some amazing people throughout my career. I know that the question was to give only one but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention three people that have inspired me in my career. 1-My father who gave me the passion for the business,
2-Paul Verciglio who molded me into the leader that I am today,
3-Harry Oshanski who continues to challenge me today.
My most embarrassing encounter with a hotel guest was: I was working a busy breakfast shift as a server earlier in my career. After pouring a cup of coffee for a guest, he called me back a few minutes later and told me that he didn’t have a spoon to stir his coffee. Wanting to make a quick joke, I said that we just thought he could stir it with his finger. Unfortunately up to that moment I had not noticed that this particular guest was missing part of his index finger. Luckily for me he had the most amazing sense of humour though. Without skipping a beat he showed me his finger and said “I did that last time but the coffee was too hot and look what happened to me”. Needless to say that I was speechless and didn’t know what to say from that point on.
My most famous hotel guest was: I have had the chance to work in properties that have hosted many dignitaries and celebrities, so there are too many that come to mind to only list one. Each one was memorable in their own way.
My most bizarre special request from a hotel guest (or staff member) was when one celebrity guest wanted to have more than 10 JELL-O flavours cut in 2cm cubes available in their fridge upon arrival. With my luck not all of these flavours were available in Canada at the time. I had to source them across the border and have them shipped over to make sure that they were available in their suite on arrival. All of that work to notice that they didn’t even enjoy one of them!
Best CANADIAN hotel for a entertaining/fun/dirty/wild weekend: Now that is a hotel I would love to find.
Best CANADIAN hotel for a shopping trip: I would have to say my old stomping grounds, the Park Hyatt Toronto. It’s location in Yorkville makes it a definite must.
Best CANADIAN resort: Red Leaves Resort on Lake Rousseau in the Muskokas. It is breathtaking up there during the leaf colour changes in the Fall.
Best technology innovation in hotels: Wifi of course. How can we live without it today!
The best advice given to me: “Inspect what you expect”. These are words I live by every single day.
My biggest pet peeve when visiting “other” hotels is genuine service and cleanliness.
The Hotel amenity I can’t live without is a nice shower.
The worst feeling in the world is knowing that you didn’t live up to the expectations of an associate or a guest.
If I could change one thing about the hotel industry, it would it be going back to the days when being a Hotelier meant spending more time with associates and guests than evaluating reports.
If I could meet one person (alive or dead) it would it be General George S. Patton. His methods have been questioned at times, but his leadership was undeniable. Here are a few of my favourite quotes of his: -“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking” -“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week” -“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory” -“A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood” -“If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results” -“Always do everything you ask of those you command.”
If I had to do it all over again, I would: I try not to look at life this way. The last thing you want to be is a “Monday morning quarterback” and second guess your actions after the fact. Obviously you need to learn from your mistakes, but you need to enjoy life as it comes and appreciate every single day without looking in the rear view mirror. One saying that I have always tried to live by is: “What is the difference between success and happiness? Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get”.
Day over Night
Summer over Winter
West Coast over East Coast
Sunset over Sunrise
Quiet over Loud
Rock Music over Classical