On any day of the week, Housekeepers at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa never know when they’ll get a surprise visit from General Manager Brian Kramer.
Kramer doesn’t announce which rooms he’ll be checking during his random visits done at least once a week, but the staff should make sure three things are on the top of their list: a room smells clean, looks clean and has furniture in good condition. During an inspection, he says he tries to enter every room thinking like a customer.
“I think in the industry, sometimes we can get too clouded on the things we’ve learned in the industry and sometimes overlook very basic things that are important to a customer,” explained Kramer.
Hyatt Hotels and Resorts’ recently named Kramer as the 2012 General Manager of the Year in North America. It’s Hyatt’s most prestigious individual honor which was awarded to Kramer at a conference in Orlando, attended by Hyatt general managers and leaders from Hyatt hotels and resorts worldwide.
CVBeat: What’s the first thing you look for in a hotel to determine whether it’s well run?
Kramer: In any hotel, you can get a sense right from the very first person you meet upon arrival. When you walk into well-run hotel, you might even look around and steal ideas to try at your own property. Or, on the other hand, it might be someplace you’re going to look around and go, “You know what? This is something I want to make sure I’m not doing at my hotel.”
CVBeat: What is some advice for other hotel managers to achieve the success you’ve experienced?
Kramer: Hire the right staff, because your staff is key to anything you do. Do everything you can to hire people with the right attitude. You can train people with the technical skills they need to do a job, but you’ll never be successful in the hospitality industry unless you’ve got people underneath you who know how to treat people.
CVBeat: What’s the biggest challenge facing the area?
Kramer: Managing construction and growth of the area. But even with construction challenges. All of this growth will take Clearwater Beach from where it is today into truly a world-class, world-known destination. I think if you come back in 10 years, it’s going to have a different landscape than it does as you see it today.
CVBeat: If you had to stay the night in another local hotel other than your own, which would it be?
Kramer: The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay (laughs). Honestly though—there’s not a major branded hotel on the beach that I would feel uncomfortable staying the night in. They all truly care about their properties.
CVBeat: What do you do to unwind away from work? Where do you like to hang out other than Clearwater Beach?
Kramer: I really wish I had more personal time to visit other destinations in Pinellas County. My wife and I have three small children, so most of my down time is spent with them—coaching my daughter’s softball team, my son’s baseball team and watching soccer games.
CVBeat: At the end of the day, what is the key to the success of your property?
Kramer: It’s important to make sure the staff works as a family, and I encourage them to support local charities. Employees make up teams for Relay for Life and even volunteer at the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater. I like to refer to the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach as “the small hotel with a big heart.” When employees rally around causes that have nothing to do with the hotel business it gives a sense of purpose that guests can see when they are visiting. I enjoy reading customer reviews, especially when they point out how our staff members look like they actually want to work at the hotel. If you tell me our employees look like they want to work here, then I think we’ve done our job.
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