One-on-one with Rose Hotel GM Phylis Grisham
As general manager of the hotel, what do you consider your primary task?
It’s anticipating change and preparing for it. Changes in guest preferences, staff attrition and vendor product and service improvements need to be recognized well in advance of the occurrence.
The hotel prides itself on being a property frequented by both leisure and business travelers. What are some of the considerations you take into account when trying to serve both types of travelers?
Serving both the corporate and leisure travelers is no problem as we recognize their different needs and wants and are prepared to meet them.
How big a role does the hotel’s location play in its success?
Our downtown location is very attractive to most travelers as it offers a variety of restaurants and shops without having to take their car out of the garage. In fact, since many guests arrive via limo they are without local transportation. Being within walking distance of a variety of restaurants offers more choices than the usual chain hotel dining room.
The hotel has been widely hailed for its strong customer service. Why has The Rose been so successful in this area while so many other hotels—and other service business—struggle to achieve the level and consistency of customer service they strive for?
Our consistent, high-level customer service is mainly due to careful selection of staff members, recurrent training and retention . Our staff members tend to be a bit more mature than the average and enjoy being of service to our guests.
From your experience, what are modern travelers most particular about?
Travelers insist on cleanliness, comfort and, of course, security.
What is the most frequent comment you receive from guests?
They’re usually about staff friendliness and attention to detail.
As a boutique hotel, what features does The Rose offer its guests that differentiate it from the big chain hotels?
As a boutique hotel we are able to offer a more personal experience because we deal with fewer guests. Also, most of our business is repeat, so we know many of them on sight. Thus we build loyalty rather than just “put heads in beds.”
What do you want every hotel guest, and would-be guest, to know about your property?
That the testimonials on our website and blog are unedited, and that the real property is equal to or better than the virtual one shown on our website.
What kind of changes or innovations do you foresee at The Rose Hotel over the next five or 10 years?
We expect improvements in technology as it evolves, and generational changes as well. Hopefully the new technology will be more functional and easier to use. Speed and ease of use seem to be high on the list of most younger travelers.
What keeps you up at night?
There are a numbers of concerns that can cause a GM lack of sleep, but a small property has special needs in the area of staffing. With a small staff, an unexpected absence can put a strain on the remaining members of the team. However, in anticipation of this, we cross train so that we can fill in on short notice for each other without affecting the level of customer service. The variety actually makes our work more interesting and rewarding as well.
How do you spend your leisure time?
Golfing, horseback riding, cheering for UCLA, and showing my grandchildren San Francisco Bay Area attractions.
Do you have a favorite quotation relevant to what you do?
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence,” Vince Lombardi.
Written by Mike Consol