Dear Web Guest,
I was going to leave Ronnie’s (Ronnie Ben-Zur CEO) reflections on this page for quite awhile so I wouldn’t have to do one. But he caught me! So, now it is my turn because as you know a COO is not as high on the food chain as a CEO. Well, here goes.
I have been in the hotel business for 36 years now. I was very young when I started and I never thought it would go this long. But I can’t ever imagine doing anything else. It is still quite a great industry and I have met so many wonderful friends and colleagues.
I was reminiscing with Joe McInerney, the President of the American Hotel & Lodging Association at a recent conference. Both of us had the same job at one time. Front Office Manager of the Sheraton Chicago, one of those big old 1100 room convention hotels that Sheraton was so fond of operating in the 1960’s and 70’s. Joe had the job before me (sorry Joe, you are older than I) and it was fun to remember with a colleague the learning experiences of that hotel. You either loved it or I guess left it to sell insurance. I remember having to “walk” 150 people one night because the dreaded sales department seriously oversold the hotel. Sales was always doing that and they were the nemesis of the front office of course. On the other hand, without them, none of us would have jobs so they get praise too. Anyway, of those poor 150 people that had to be relocated why was it that every person I talked to had to hear my tale of woe (we didn’t get our anticipated checkouts) over and over again? It was like the person behind the person I was talking to didn’t think the relocation applied to them. By the 60th or 80th or 130th person, I was having a tough time keeping a straight face going about my work. It was just so silly of a night. Joe had his moments too during his tenure at the hotel. The great thing now is that we don’t have to count rooms manually, we have computers to handle our counting and our “walk” nights have decreased due to modern technology.
For the present time, the hotel business is seeing resurgence in 2005 and I for one am very glad. It keeps Ronnie from harping on me too much and keeps me from harping on my General Managers too much. They are doing a terrific job for our company and if I don’t tell them that often enough at least they can read it here. The General Manager’s job is a combination of so many things now that I am amazed that we have such a quality of person in our industry who doesn’t realize I guess that they can make more money and work less hours in another profession. But, perhaps like me some 36 years ago, there is something special about this hotel business that keeps you coming back every day.
By the way, as an ending to my reflections, how about calling or writing me about any hotel management opportunities that you may know or hear about for our company? After all you didn’t think this was a column without a sales pitch did you? We are building this company and we are very good at what we do and we would like to share our story with you at anytime.
Thank you for reading my “reflections”.
Marc Leffman, COO
May 31, 2005