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  • An outdoor tiki hut on the beach
Blog Article

A Day in the Life Tobias Arff

Jan 31, 2023

As I dress for work, I wonder what “hats” I will have to wear today. I can’t just bring my “General Manager” hat…it’s never that simple. Will I need my executive hat? My accountant hat? My diplomat hat? My public relations hat? My fixer hat? As a General Manager for the Hotel Madera in our Nation’s Capital, I have a vast hat collection. Keeping in mind that I never know what the day will bring, and that everyone is normal…until they check into a hotel…I decide to grab them all and dash out the door.

When I arrive in the morning I usually drop my bag off in my office, put on my “Team Leader” Hat, and head right upstairs to check in with the team. My first stop is the front desk and I check in with the morning agent or front office manager, we usually only have one person on the shift. The second stop is the restaurant where I have a quick chat with the front of house team and the cook to ensure everything is ok. After that I walk outside to take a quick glance of the outside of the hotel to ensure we provide a solid first and last impression to our guests. A quick trip to the gym and the public restrooms to ensure our property is ready to give a warm welcome to our guests. Good thing I remembered my “Inspector Hat.” Doing these early morning rounds consistently is important as it helps me to both stay connected with my team and communicate that their GM takes as much pride in the details as they do.

  • A view of the sunrise
  • A group of individuals talking on a rooftop terrace.
  • The outdoor dining area at Calusa Terrace
  • A woman welcoming a guest to hotel emery

After that, I fire up my laptop and follow up on anything on the MOD report that needs my attention. This report lists all follow up items from the previous days and it is important that we follow up on these items. I usually have read the MOD report prior to arriving on property as it is nice early morning read. It turns out we have a big issue to solve that will require my “Super Hero Hat.” A guest called and reported their four-year-old daughter lost her stuffed sloth. They checked out yesterday and the parents were hoping that they left him in the room as the little girl is devastated. Great news: Our team of housekeeping heroes found it! I’m fortunate to be part of an awesome team that truly cares about our guests. But the team went the extra mile and decided to really make that family’s day. They shared with me that they placed a Hotel Madera reusable water bottle in the arms of the sloth and took cute pictures showing the family that the beloved bear is in great hands, had a great time at Hotel Madera, and is getting ready to be shipped out by FedEx and reunited with its family! The team didn’t just avoid a disaster, they elevated a guest experience! Well done, team!

Next up I review the stats of the last day to include, revenue pick up, yesterday’s F&B performance and I check if we have any rooms that are out of order to ensure we are not displacing revenue. A quick look at the arrivals of the day to ensure we are not missing any VIP’s, etc. Wow! Where did the morning go? It is 9.30 am and it is time for our daily operations stand up meeting. As we are a true boutique hotel with 81 rooms, we do the standup up in the lobby to ensure the front desk can attend. Each department is represented at the quick 15 min meeting, and we go around the group to give a quick update on the priorities for the day.

As today is Wednesday we will have our weekly Revenue Meeting via Teams at 10am. The meeting is led by our Director of Revenue Management and our sales manager, Director of Finance, if available, our regional Director of Revenue Management and our Regional Director of Sales and I are joining the call. I love developing talented associates—my “Coaching” Hat is one of my favorite—I also invite department heads such as our Director of Housekeeping to the meeting as understanding the revenue and sales aspect of our business is very important.

It is now 11am and time to start working on our weekly update that each of our properties creates to summarize our KPI (key performance indicators) for the week to share with our corporate team. After a quick lunch, I’m joining my sales manager with my “Sales” hat to greet a client who is considering our hotel for an upcoming group and came for a site inspection.

We have family of our owners arriving this evening and I’m inspecting their room after my awesome housekeeping and engineering team detailed the room. A quick thank you to the housekeeper as the room looked great and our team will set up the amenity that we prepared with a handwritten welcome note from me.

Next up is our resume and BEO meeting where we go over the details for upcoming groups and events. This is a meeting I join when my schedule allows and when we have complex and high-profile groups that are coming up.

Back to some desk time, to approve some PO (purchase orders), answer emails, and work on preparing some end-of-month reports that are due.

It’s late afternoon now and next up is joining my sales manager for happy hour at the nearby Sofitel with our “Networking” hats. Each quarter, the Consular Corps of Washington DC hosts events with the key players of about ten embassies and some partners to include six local Hotels. A quick outfit change—yes I have to wear a tie to this event—grab a bunch of business cards and off we go foster some existing client relationships and build some new ones. The event started at 5.30pm and by 7.30pm, I am ready to put on my “Husband” and “Father” hats.

A long, packed, and rewarding day comes to an end – let’s see what tomorrow has to bring. Cheers!!

Man and woman having a conversation at a booth table.