By: Lizz Chambers, CHE, CHA
You could refer to his expertise as ‘Poetry in Motion’ or compare him to an ‘Orchestra Conductor’ because his primary responsibilities are to set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and listen to and shape the sound of the ensemble.
…or you could call what he does night after night simply ‘A Work of Art’ because for this trainer it was a joy to observe the skill that went into creating an environment that calmed, accommodated and Wowed everyone present.. What in the world is she talking about? You may be asking yourself. Believe it or not… a Guest Service Representative checking in a horde of angry distressed passengers at an independent Atlanta airport hotel. More to the point I am talking about Tony T.
After locking my key in my room, which if you knew me, you would know that I am prone to do from time to time, I went to the front desk to be re-keyed (with proper ID of course). I arrived at the desk just in time to see a wave of DP’s (Distressed Passengers) exit the airport shuttle and storm the front desk. If you have ever been stranded at an airport you know that it does not bring out the best in your personality. Being the polite corporate person I am, I understood that the stranded guests’ needs came before my forgetfulness, so I encouraged Tony with a nod and by stepping aside, to take care of all those in front of him first (which after he made eye contact with me and smiled he was probably planning to do any way).
Tony was prepared for the onslaught with registration cards, key cards, ‘oops I forgot’ items such as tooth paste, tooth brushes, shaving cream, razors etc., and the phone all at his finger tips. He also had his back-up items such as contact lens solutions, Tide stick pens, super glue, eye glass repair kits, hair spray and any number of items a stranded traveler may need in today’s high security world.
He smiled and made eye contact with each person in the group as they lined up across the desk and back to mid-lobby. His calm demeanor and wonderful smile seemed to have an effect on the group. He addressed them one at a time, checking them in with seamless, effortless precision while asking each and every person what time their flight left, suggesting a departure time and then asking for their wake-up call information. Each person left the desk with a smile appearing to feel a little better than when they walked through the door.
Now, keep in mind, this is a hotel located at one of if not the busiest airports in the country. The distressed passengers have just started for the evening and not one of them can figure out how to catch the airport shuttle to the hotel. Therefore, the entire time Tony is checking people in he is answering incoming calls stating each time with a smile in his voice, ‘Please exit at ground transportation and follow the pink route and we pick up every half hour. We’ll see you soon.’ WOW!
When Tony finished checking in approximately 20 DP’s he took at deep breath, laughed and took care of my request. To say I was amazed is to put it mildly.
Right then and there I realized what I guess I had known all along. Every job has its Tony’s. A person who knows the industry and their position so well that they make it look effortless. And those of us who have ‘been there and done that’ know that nothing in our industry is effortless. But with the proper training, practice, and let’s not forget a talent for guest interaction, some people become artists at their craft. Whether it is preparing an elegant entrée, cleaning and arranging a perfect guest room or checking in a horde of DP’s at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport we all have the ability to become a Tony.
Nevistas Publishing (http://s.tt/1uAoR)