Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 25

 7.5-MINUTE READING TIME

JENNA SMITH STARTED HER CAREER IN THE HOTEL INDUStry as a guest services representative at a front desk for a
property in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a way to earn money
while attending college.
"I ended up enjoying and stuck with it," she says. Now,
14 years later, she has worked her way up to the executive
table as the vice president of revenue management for First
Hospitality Group. From front desk, to sales, to general manager, to a regional revenue management position, to where
she is now, the industry has provided her a rewarding career
that keeps her learning something new every day.
"I always knew I wanted to get into revenue management
because the impact of the discipline fascinated me," Smith
says. "It's always changing, and it's not overly routine. I'm
always learning something else, and the day goes by so fast.
The learning piece is what keeps me engaged."
Gerry Chase started his career as a houseman at a hotel
when he was just 15 years old. Over his decades-long career,
Chase joined Marriott during the company's early days, eventually working in supervisory positions and then becoming a
general manager of a 4.5-star hotel and restaurant in Raleigh,
NC, when he was 28 years old. Then, his career took off when
he was hired on at Interstate Hotels as a troubleshooting
general manager for five full-service Marriott properties.
He served as vice president of Interstate from 1981 to 1988
before being recruited to join New Castle Hotels & Resorts as
a partner, where he currently serves as president and chief
operating officer.
Chase says that respect has always been the key to his
career success.
"Show respect at all levels, from investors and owners to
the dishwashers," Chase said. "When that happens, there is
a special environment created where everyone works in the
same direction with the same purpose and has the desire to
respect and succeed at whatever assignment is given."
Both Smith and Chase credit several key factors that have
helped elevate their careers and allowed them to rise through
the ranks. They provided the following tips for career success.

"The hotel industry offers great opportunities for people to enter and grow,"
BE
Chase says. "They have the opportuWILLING
nity to enter a career, pay their dues
TO PAY
and advance for a lifetime of rewards.
YOUR
It's challenging and rewarding at every
DUES
stage of life."
The reward potential is exactly why Chase says it's important that people just entering their careers pay their dues
and realize that while it's commonplace to grow within this
industry, promotions won't happen overnight and reaping
those rewards takes hard work and perseverance.
"Work hard and focus on the important stuff," he says. "It
just takes time."
Smith agrees, adding that having an open mind and making
yourself available when your boss needs something can do
wonders for moving up in the ranks.
"Be the go-to person," she says. "When they need something,
say, 'Yes, I can get that done for you.'"
Paying dues is important, but equally
important is patience, Smith says.
However, patience can be a difficult virBE
tue to practice in today's fast-paced world.
PATIENT
But, according to research, hourly hotel
employees can take solace in the fact that
the industry provides a place to grow a
long-term career. According to a report from the American Hotel
& Lodging Association, 97 percent of hotel companies surveyed
reported that at least some of their top executives began their
hotel careers as hourly entry-level line employees (See sidebar:
"From front desk to C-suite"). Additionally, more than 90 percent
of respondents said that new-hire hourly employees are eligible
for promotion within the first year of employment.
"You might not always get the first opportunity that comes
up," Smith says. "Don't get discouraged. If you have good
relationships with your boss or others in the company, you
will get promoted."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN DURING YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY
THAT HAS HELPED YOU SUCCEED IN YOUR CURRENT JOB?
Dealing with guests at a front desk,
you have to learn that your goal
is to make all of your guests or
employees walk away happy. It's a
hard challenge, but you have to try.
I keep that mentality in the back of my
head and remember it and apply it now. I have to
keep guests happy, investors happy, bosses happy.
It's learning to balance and prioritize.
-Jenna Smith is vice president of revenue management
at First Hospitality Group and started her hotel career in
2004 at a front desk when she was in college.

Being service oriented and making sure you anticipate
the customer's needs, but really wanting to please
people and wanting to serve people. With that desire,
it carries in through your other jobs throughout your
career. I had an executive ask me one time, and he says,
"You know, I have this VP title and some of the people
I don't feel respect me." I asked if he respects them, and he said that
they should do it automatically because he has the title. I said, "No, you
have to give to get. You have to respect people to get their respect."
-Gerry Chase is president and chief operating officer of
New Castle Hotels & Resorts, and he started his career in the
industry as a houseman when he was 15 years old.

TODAYSHOTELIER.COM | MARCH 2018 | 25


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - March 2018

Letter From the Chairman
Letter From the President & CEO
#AAHOACON18 Spotlight
Government Affairs & Advocacy
The C-Suite
Common Ground
Elevate Yourself to a Higher Role in the Industry
Next-Level Housekeeping via Technology
Mentoring Matters
Small Business
Finance
Marketing
Technology
Compliance & Legal
Leadership
Guest Experience
Aahoa Founding Members
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
Back of the House
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Intro
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover1
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover2
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 3
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 4
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 5
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 6
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 7
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 8
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 9
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Letter From the Chairman
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 11
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Letter From the President & CEO
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 13
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - #AAHOACON18 Spotlight
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 15
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 16
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 17
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Government Affairs & Advocacy
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 19
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - The C-Suite
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 21
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Common Ground
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 23
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Elevate Yourself to a Higher Role in the Industry
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 25
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 26
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 27
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Next-Level Housekeeping via Technology
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 29
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 30
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 31
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Mentoring Matters
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 33
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 34
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 35
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Small Business
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 37
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Finance
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 39
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Marketing
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 41
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Technology
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 43
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Compliance & Legal
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 45
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Leadership
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 47
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 48
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 49
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Guest Experience
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 51
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 52
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 53
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Aahoa Founding Members
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 55
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Classifieds
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 57
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 58
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 59
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 60
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 61
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 62
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 64
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - Back of the House
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - 66
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover3
Today's Hotelier - March 2018 - cover4
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