My mother was shocked at what happened at the Marriott, and so was I.
I recently attended a function at one of our local Marriott hotels. It is the crown jewel of the city, the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. As the name implies, it is attached to our city-owned arena, convention center and theater complex. It is a hub of activity of corporate business meetings, religious conventions, big-name entertainment and of course visiting relatives.
As the official transportation provider to the hotel, I have near daily interaction with at least one person or another. I also use the facility to conduct meetings since they have conference room rentals in addition to sleeping rooms. Of course, the fact that the catering manager lives directly next door to me almost forces daily interaction as only a fence separates her back yard and ours. Despite this, I can only think of one time that we have ever really talked about work at home and that was when she played an ace on a Sunday night when one of her major clients forgot to book shuttle transportation for a group of 60 people for early the next morning. I certainly didn’t mind taking the order at my doorstep.
So, I decided to take my mother to a social mixer hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. They were serving up freshly handmade tortillas and other Latino food and I figured, given our Hispanic roots, that she would enjoy it. Not to mention, I don’t habla Espanol very well, so she could be my interpreter if needed.
As we arrived at the hotel, the front desk clerks greeted me with a, “Good evening Mr. Luff.” I shouted back something lame, like, “Hey ladies.” As we approached the ballroom, the sales & catering manager came running up to me to give me a hug. I introduced her to my mother. She told my mother how much she LOVED me! As we entered the ballroom, I saw the general manager who came over and greeted me by name. I introduced him to my mom. Before the night was over, almost every single manager from the hotel from engineering to food and beverage had come to my table to say hello. They all told my mom how much they valued “doing business with me.” I guess my mom doesn’t really know what I do. She asked me, “Just how often do you stay here at the hotel, Jim?" She said she was shocked at how many hotel staff members knew me. To tell you the truth, I was too!
The relationship is a fantastic one. I guess I didn’t realize myself until that night just how solid our business relationship is. It is a two-way street for sure, as we frequently recommend the hotel to people who ask us for a recommendation. If you are not in bed with your local hotel, I highly recommend it. It feels good.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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