Believing in the magic
In this ever-evolving, fast-paced, heads-down world that I often wish would slow down, I was heartened this week to receive a letter from a student who is discovering the artistry attached to delivering simply true hospitality.
Cody Cook is a third-year hospitality management student at Indiana ? Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and works at the Hilton property in town. While growing up, he was always intrigued by hotels, wanting to collect all the pads and pens from every hotel he stayed at.
Last week, Cody went to the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (a Four Seasons hotel) for a job shadow experience. In hopes other students might discover what he finds so fascinating about the business, the aspiring luxury hotelkeeper wrote about his week-long experience and shared it with me. It is now my pleasure to share it with you:
?It is somewhere between the term papers, textbooks and lectures that we as students sometimes lose sight of our passion and goals. It was during the last week that I had the pleasure and honor to tour and shadow the ladies and gentleman of The Ritz-Carlton Chicago and regain my sight into the world of hospitality ? true hospitality. It was truly a lesson beyond the textbooks, far better than any lecture, and dare I suggest to the board of regents far more practical than my previous two years’ studies at the university.
?So what is hospitality if it is not those lectures, lessons and books? Hospitality is bottles of water when one is fatigued, umbrellas appearing at the slightest hint of rain and a wagon of toys for travel-weary children. Moreover, it is achieving the extraordinary, knowing a guest?s desires and whims before they are even acutely aware of them, and complete perfection in an imperfect world. It?s a blend of magic and experience. Not just any experience but THE experience. That, that is what hospitality is.
?So it was by the end of that week that I learned, or what I had remembered, that there is far more to hospitality than RevPAR, ADR, calculations, and far more than any university can instruct. Nor is hospitality the act of the individual actions of each employee, guest or interaction. It is comprised of many shades, techniques and dimensions. It is, in other words, a true art, and the ladies and gentleman of The Ritz-Carlton Chicago are the greatest artists one could meet.?
Good luck to you, Cody Cook. You have found the inspiration. Now don?t forget to soak up everything from those textbooks, too. As much as it is nice to compare the hotel business to poetry in motion, it is also very much about the calculations ? especially at the highest level to which you aspire. Spread the word, and be prepared.