I have been in the Hotel Industry for 52 years.
I have worked in a total of 14 hotels, 1 in Canada & 13 properties in the USA.
My first job/position in the hotel industry was was as a busboy at the Hotel Niagara in Niagara Falls New York. I worked a split shift for 62 cents an hour.
The number of times I have…
opened a hotel: 1
renovated a hotel: 11
removed a dead body: 6
escorted a guest off the property: 20
seen a ghost in a hotel: 0
kept “it” confidential: 100
driven a guest to the hospital: 4
dealt with an “Act of God”: 1
performed Housekeeping Duties (made beds, scrubbed toilets): 2
taken a sick day: 2
What does it take to be a GM? What’s involved day to day?
I do not have a job, I have a way of life. You have to love people and excitement. We work in a very spontaneous business. If you cannot multi-task , you are going to have a big issues.
The three things I can’t live without are:
1-Respect. Every interaction with all concerned needs to be done with respect.
2-My morning coffee
My caffeine fix: Coffee. Almost all of my coffee consumption is in the morning, about 3 cups of a day.
When I wake up, the first thing I think about is what is going on. Have we set up the day correctly? Have all of our meetings gotten off to a good start? My next thought goes to the restaurant and room service. Are we attending to our guests in a timely fashion?
The Hotelier (or person) that has inspired me the most is… I work for Hyatt and my company has inspired me the most.
My most embarrassing encounter with a hotel guest was… I met a guest who was having a wedding in our hotel. When I shook his hand I felt he had placed something in my hand. Politely, I did not look and walked away with one of my assistants When I looked , he had given me $300 which I told my assistant to split up among the staff.
My most famous hotel guest was President Bill Clinton. He was very gracious, knew both my name and my wife. We greeted him at the door and he thanked us for letting him spend the evening in the hotel. He knows what a hotel has to go through to host a President. To make it short, your hotel becomes the White House. A week after he left he sent a very nice thank you note.
My most bizarre special request from a hotel guest was when we had a very high profile head of state stay with us in the hotel. We had to make a substantial amount of renovations to his suite to include raising the toilet and bidet by 1 3/4 inches. Placing 6 large TV’s on the walls with one remote control for all of them and we had to bring in 6 channels from overseas that we did not carry. The mattress had to be lengthened by 18 inches and the bed tilted by 15 degrees. The toilet in the adjoining room had to be removed so that we could install a barber chair. This was only part of his visit, he had an entourage of another 70 rooms.
Best CANADIAN hotel for a entertaining/fun/dirty/wild weekend: I could not tell you which hotel that would be but I am glad it is not mine!
Best CANADIAN hotel for a shopping trip: The Park Hyatt Toronto located at Bloor and Avenue road provided the closet proximity to the best shopping experience you could have in Canada. Most all top brands are located on Bloor.
Best CANADIAN hotel for business travel: Here again for price value I would tell you it is the Park Hyatt Toronto. We have all that a business traveller would come to expect with excellent price value. Once finished with work, there are 700 restaurants and bars within a 10 minute walk.
Best CANADIAN resort: From what I have seen , I think you would have to go a long way to find a better resort than the Sonora Resort in BC. It just looks absolutely spectacular and when you have never had a complaint from a guest, I think you are doing everything right.
The best advice given to me.
Once I became a General Manager my boss told me from now on you are the good guy. Let you assistants be the bad guy. When you get into work everyday just say to yourself you are “running for office” so make sure you present yourself to the staff and your guests in that framework.
My biggest pet peeve when visiting “other” hotels is.. Although I work and live in a hotel, I do not have any substantial needs. When I go to a hotel, if the staff is nice, than I am happy.
If I could change one thing about the hotel industry, it would it be?: Unfortunately costs have become really excessive. Due to this, many hotels need to approach day to day business in a more frugal fashion.
If I could meet one person (alive or dead) it would it be.
I don’t know why he came immediately to my mind but I think it would be John F. Kennedy. I was in high school when he was assassinated. He was extremely popular with the youth of that era.
If I had to do it all over again, I do not know if I would be a Hotelier. Although I have had a successful career, the one thing that I have never had in life is time.
Day over Night
Summer over Winter
East Coast over West Coast
Sunrise over Sunset
Quiet over Loud
Classical music over Rock
The “best hotel story” of my career.
One morning, when I was working in a Hotel in the midwest, a housekeeper called my office and said I had to come up to the 9th floor as there was a male guest walking around with no clothes on. I took an assistant with me, as we exited the elevator he was getting into the adjoining elevator fully naked with a Do Not Disturb Sign hanging from his you know what!!!!!!!!!!!!