Managing an institution like the Grand Hotel means respecting tradition and creating memories
Posted On December 12, 2019
What does it take to manage a place that people love so much, they come back year after year?
Scott Tripoli can tell you. Our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” Tripoli is the general manager of the Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in Point Clear, an institution on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay that draws a loyal following of repeat customers.
“I’ve met people who say: ‘This is my 72nd straight year at the Grand Hotel,’” Tripoli says.
That’s a different sort of customer than most of those Tripoli dealt with in 16 years as the GM of a 1,000-room hotel near SeaWorld in Orlando. While working in the hospitality hotbed of central Florida is a pressure-cooker, Tripoli says the Grand presents its own challenges.
“I needed to get that thousand-room job to get the job, because the Grand is special,” he says. “There’s really nothing like the Grand in the world.”
How does one manage the expectations of a clientele that includes a large number of generational guests, who expect to find the same place they visited last year, and the year before, and the year before? Especially when you aren’t from the local area yourself?
Tripoli says it’s important to respect the traditions of a place like the Grand, while looking to enhance the experience with new touches. You have to understand the importance of building relationships and creating experiences. And above all, he says, you manage expectations by providing exemplary service.
“They want to know that you care about them, they want to know you’re personalizing their experience,” he said. “Personalization of services is huge in this business right now.”
Tripoli shares how the hospitality industry has changed, from food service to booking to the rooms themselves; discusses the importance of process; shares what he looks for in hiring; and shares why, no matter the problem one is confronted with at the hotel, you always start with an apology.
“We’re in a common-sense, think-on-your-feet business. We’re not building rockets here,” he said. “If you take that approach, you tend to be very successful.”
Join us for a comfortable conversation about the hotel industry and the unique challenges of managing an iconic property like the Grand.