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Blog Article

“A Day in the Life” with Nicole

Jul 06, 2023

A Day in the Life of Nicole Ramamurthy, Hotel Manager

Sheraton Philadelphia University City

“It’s Game Time!” , I chant to myself as I get in my car to begin my hour commute from my small New Jersey township into Philadelphia! I’m not repeating this mantra over and over because the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, or 76ers are scheduled to play today. No, I’m prompted to energize myself with this phrase because I can hear my General Manager’s voice in my head saying “ UPenn Graduation is our Superbowl, make sure your teams are ready” and they are.

As the Director of Operations at the Sheraton Philadelphia University City, my “teams” consist of The Front Office, Housekeeping, Loss Prevention, F&B, and Garage. My role today is to support the team members and leaders in these areas as they work to execute the plans we have constructed to offer exceptional guest experiences to the Family and Friends of UPENN’s Class of 2023. So yes, it’s Game Time!

Gearing up for the big event requires me to be at the property extra early dressed in my best collection of red and blue; ready to tackle the day. I am energized by the fact that as families gather in our lobby prior to the ceremonies, they comment on how seeing our entire team in Penn apparel and our lobby draped in university decor reflects on the hotel’s genuine desire to share in the excitement of their moment. To be honest, this is one of my favorite times of year in the hotel because not only is it game time, it’s a time for gathering in our community. I have the opportunity to spend time with guests such as the Hermes family whom I met 4 years ago during move-in week at our welcome reception. So, as they take pictures with their son at the photobooth we have set up in the lobby, they invite me to join in and I am happy to oblige. It’s such an honor to be a part of these journeys from start to finish.

Today, is also meaningful because it is an opportunity for me to witness our associates demonstrate the “we over me” mindset that is embedded in the culture of our hotel. As I join the F&B team in the complimentary breakfast that we offer in honor of the graduates, I see the entire Sales team around the ballroom assisting and greeting guests. I notice that members of our Loss Prevention and Engineering team are also walking through the meeting room congratulating guests and offering assistance where needed. The F&B team is masterful in executing this breakfast in a timely manner so that families can dine and head out to for the ceremony. I lend my assistance by clearing tables so they can be reset for new guests. I also take a moment to introduce myself to guests I don’t recognize and in doing so learn of how they are connected to the graduates. At one particular table, I am delighted to meet a couple who inform me that they are in town from New York to celebrate the graduation of their God daughter. While in town, however, they also have the opportunity to perform as they are both singers. When I let them know that I too am a singer, we become fast friends and I receive a personal invitation to come to see them perform the next time I travel to their area.

As families head out to attend the graduation, I return to the lobby to set out the delighters that we prepare each year for the families. Each year a few of the associates and I bond over creating mini-graduation treat boxes. Although time consuming, I really enjoy the time I get to spend with my colleagues creating these mementos. We are often told by our guests that these small touches are what stands out about our simple property.

I move through the day by ensuring all of my administrative tasks are complete including checking in on all of our brand metrics and company initiatives. Marriott has so many systems and programs that we are measured on,I like to spot check each of them as a part of my daily routine to ensure our property’s performance is on par with the brand’s expectations. So despite the buzz of graduation going on around me, I pause to review GSS alerts; GXP Cases; Mobile Panel percentages; Daily Enrollment progress; and MESH dashboard.

Satisfied that most of our metrics are in line and that we have a gameplan for the day to remain on target, I head out of the office to walk the property and touch base with all of the department leaders I support to see if they need any assistance. The later part of my day is spent with the F&B team as they prepare a happy hour for our guests. In my experience,one of the best ways to make our hotel memorable is by providing guests with a taste of the city. So we are using the graduation festivities as means to showcase Philly flavors through drinks and appetizers.

I also believe strongly in both serving and supporting the community. A small way to do that is by connecting with local musicians and giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents. As we are nestled between two college campuses, I feel especially compelled to give music students or recent graduates a chance to perform when we can as well. I am grateful that on this particular occasion, Tom, a violinist/guitarist was available and willing to come delight our guests with his violin and guitar.

Counting the day’s events as successful, I watch the families depart the lobby at the end of our happy hour on their way out to their respective celebratory dinners and congratulate our team members on a job well done. As I head out for the day, I am filled with gratitude to work in a role that enables me to connect with people from a myriad of backgrounds during some of the most memorable occasions of their lives.