Friday, October 10, 2014

Recognizing Pride and Passion

Lodging Operator of the Year Craig Thompson (center)
ORLA recognized four hospitality professionals at our annual Awards Banquet during the convention last month in Bend. The Lodging Operator of the Year was awarded to Craig Thompson, GM of the Hotel Monaco in Portland. Craig’s long, successful, influential and continuing 44-year career was highlighted. He was recognized not only for running the #2 rated Oregon hotel by TripAdvisor, but for the leadership role he played in a number of other industry organizations, and for the influence he has had through mentoring employees who have moved on to successful management careers. In fact, Craig pointed with pride to the fact that the #1 TripAdvisor rated hotel in Oregon is managed by a former employee and front desk manager that Craig hired and mentored! All of the award winners are listed along with links to their videos on ORLA’s website ( I encourage you to check them out as they are all terrific representatives of what makes the hospitality industry great. You’ll see the passion they have for their jobs and this industry and see that it hasn’t waned during their long careers.

In this issue, you’re going to be treated to a wonderful feature story that highlights the philanthropic programs several lodging companies operate to benefit their communities and the state. They’ve developed these programs to support charities that resonate with their team members. Those team members participate in the fundraising design and implementation throughout the year. Those results translate into contributions to designated charities that benefit those in need in their areas. The result for the business is engaged employees who are introduced to these types of charitable activities; a development of teamwork as all the employees get involved in the planning, fundraising and presentation of their hard work; and a very real, personal and professional feeling of accomplishment and pride by all involved.

The thing that links the award winners and the teams of the businesses highlighted in the article is passion. The award winners succeeded in their careers because they discovered and brought a passion for what they did every day. That passion could be seen on the awards night as they graciously and humbly received their well-deserved recognition. They all spoke about the love for their jobs. They transmitted their passion for what they do in their brief remarks to everyone in the room.
Similarly, the people quoted in the article this month cited the passion that their employees felt for being involved in a philanthropic program. They tell you how it creates a real link among everyone on the team and improves their view and appreciation of their employer. They do it because it is right – not because they want to benefit from it. They do it because the team has become passionate about the programs and taken ownership of it.

Passion is certainly the operative word here, isn’t it? The passion for serving people is what makes a successful hospitality industry professional. Whether is it the front desk person, a server, a concierge or a room service person it is passion for what they do that makes the difference between excellence and ‘just okay’ for them in their job and, ultimately, for you as the employer.

I can tell you with pride that your association is staffed with people who are passionate about serving you and the industry. All you need to do is reach out and ask for assistance, answers or information on an ORLA program. You’ll get what you need quickly and enthusiastically from a professional, trained to serve you and your needs. Remember us when you need assistance or information. We’re here to serve you and are passionate about doing so. | Steve McCoid, ORLA President & CEO