Pam Ryan is a quintessential hospitality veteran who worked her way through the ranks to become a successful hotelier. Now General Manager of a new hotel, she is opening what will be the newest addition to the Marriott Autograph Collection. In addition to her traditional career growth, Pam also helped found and develop two hospitality organizations including CHLA’s partner, the Long Beach Hospitality Alliance.
“If you take care of your team, they will take care of the customer”
When it comes to providing the best customer experience possible, it starts with the staff. As soon as a guest steps into a hotel, they can immediately tell whether an employee’s smile is real, and whether the chemistry there is right. When Pam Ryan first began her career, it was this authenticity and excitement which attracted her to start working in the hospitality industry, and it remains one of her key motivations to this day.
For Pam, staff are one of the most visible elements of the guest experience and, as such, are integral to ensuring that visitors feel both welcome and comfortable during their stay. By providing staff with opportunities to learn, the ability to choose their own futures, and an environment where people are valued, Pam helps to develop their “spirit to serve.” By making employees feel valued and welcome at work, it helps encourage employees to engage at a high level and provide the best experience possible. According to Pam, Marriott’s “spirit to serve” starts at all levels of the organization and, when your team reaches this cohesive level, providing a fantastic customer experience becomes “almost effortless.”
Capitalizing on the Location, Providing Employees with Tools for Success
Now the General Manager for the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Pam Ryan is building both the work culture and the hotel from the ground up. As the first hotel she has managed through the grand opening, Pam is combining her team-building approach with the local history of the area. Highlighting the location of the hotel and its proximity to the historical Mission at San Juan Capistrano, staff will be referred to as storytellers and will help share the legacy of the mission. By investing the time to teach employees about the history of the area, Pam is simultaneously developing a unique touch befitting what will become the newest hotel in Marriott’s Autograph Collection and creating a connection between staff and the surrounding area.
It’s Bigger than One Hotel—Identifying the Need and Taking Action
In addition to her work directing operations at hotels in the Los Angeles region, Pam also founded and grew several hospitality-focused associations including the Long Beach Hospitality Alliance (LBHA), a CHLA partner. Citing the need for a niche association to promote the industry’s needs, improve community service efforts, and represent itself to government, Pam set out to grow local hospitality associations which could do just that. In one association (LBHA), hospitality professionals could share best practices, develop mutually beneficial marketing programs, and establish relationships with elected officials. This enabled hoteliers to establish a community of hospitality, where hoteliers were able to work together to promote the guest experience. Though Pam consistently played key roles in each organization, she applied her skills towards ensuring that each member felt like a part of the team by consistently seeking and valuing the input of others, establishing a role as a facilitator rather than an executive. Now, these associations provide hoteliers a means to broaden the guest experience beyond the walls of their hotel by communicating and interacting with the local communities.
Happiness and the Guest Experience
Though it may be your role to help run the show or deal with the stress of daily life, your happiness is a crucial element to providing the best guest experience. For Pam Ryan, happiness comes not just from her successes, but also from her job. A true hotelier at heart, Pam has won recognitions in categories ranging from employee satisfaction to customer satisfaction, and everything in between. However, she is most proud of the fact that she is doing what she loves and still has time for family, and that appreciation for her work helps make the customer experience even better. As part of the staff, having a happy manager can be determinative of the customer experience and for Pam, a happy staff is one of the things that makes her a happy manager.