Conversation with … the star of ‘Hotel Impossible,’ part two

Thanks to all for the comments and questions on the last post with Anthony Melchiorri, the man behind the show — and in front of the camera — for Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible.” As promised, here is part two of our chat:

Andrew Labetti: What’s been your favorite moment thus far filming the show?

Anthony Melchiorri: The satisfaction that I get when I look into housekeepers’ eyes and see that they realize I am there to protect them and help them, not the owners. They get blamed for a lot when they really don’t have the tools and training to do their job. 

AL: Is there a scene that you wish we saw that got cut?

AM: If there is a scene that I think is paramount to the story of that hotel, as co-executive producer, I have the ability to ensure the real story is told. 

AL: Are any of the scenes staged?

AM: No. If I said something that the cameras missed then I will say it again and we reshoot it, but that is rare. 

AL: Do you think most hoteliers are fans of the show or wish it would go away?

AM: The hospitality community has been incredibly supportive of the show. I am getting a lot of emails saying, “Finally! Someone is showing how hard we work and what great people we have.” If there are people who don’t like what I am doing, I would want to know that. I am open to any and all feedback from my peers in the industry.

AL: Have you come across a hotel yet that is truly impossible?

AM: No hotel is impossible. I have come across a couple of owners who are nearly impossible.

AL: One of my personal pet peeves in our industry is that we have a lot of “managers” but not enough “leaders.” What is your interpretation of the differences between managers and leaders? Have you seen some examples in the hotels you have visited on the show?

AM: I love this question. A leader inspires; you cannot manage inspiration. A leader is defined by the employees; a manager is defined by their responsibilities. You should never call yourself a leader. It is your team who should define you as a leader if you are doing just that. You can manage anyone, but you can’t lead everyone. There is a big difference in managers and leaders. You cannot be a great leader if you are not a great follower. 

AL: We had some questions from readers on the last post, the first being about housekeeping temp agencies. Have you used them before and, if so, what are your thoughts?

AM: Yes, once I used a [housekeeping] staffing agency in New York and had an incredibly positive experience. I did extensive research and had tremendous apprehension about using an outside company. My advice to anyone considering this is it should be your last resort and explored thoroughly by getting at least four or five references.

AL: The next question from a reader is about acknowledging and greeting a guest when they are in close proximity. Do all employees — regardless of what department they work in — need to greet guests?

AM: Yes and yes. It doesn’t matter if you are a hotel or a tire shop, when someone greets you and smiles it can change your whole day. I had a good friend tell me just the other day that they had a great meal and restaurant experience, but there were four people (who worked at the restaurant) standing at the door when they left, and none of them said goodbye or thanked them. The last interaction changed his whole perspective on the night, and he said he wouldn’t go back. You never know who it is that will boost or burn your business; all employees should greet guests.

AL: Last reader question, on the topic of outside sales: Can you give us a few tips on how to go out and promote a property without being the “annoying car salesman”?

AM: To properly sell at any property, you have to believe in it 100%. You will never be the “annoying salesperson” if you sell with your heart, are always truthful, deliver on what you promise and make yourself ACCESIBLE after you leave. Your audience will appreciate and remember it. Sales isn’t about just getting them in the door — it is just as much your responsibility to make sure the guest has a great stay as it is any other staff member at the hotel. A common mistake salespeople make today is not assuring operations is delivering on what the sales team promised the client. Then they lose all credibility in my eyes, and most certainly the client’s eyes.

AL: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

AM: I would love to know if there is anything that I am not talking about, as it relates to our industry, that fellow hoteliers would like me to start talking about. I am happy to hear thoughts in the comment section.