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Blog Article

Daring To Be Great: Leadership Insights With Thomas Fraher

Dec 16, 2020

Thomas Fraher General Manager, The Don CeSar and Beach House Suites by The Don CeSar

What do you love most about being a leader?

The opportunity to craft a vision and work with others to accomplish something great. At the core of this is interacting with people on so many different levels; as this can’t be done alone. This could include working with team members, vendor partners, our ownership group or our PIVOT & Davidson Corporate Office Team. Finally, every day is different and there is always something to share or celebrate with the team.

What is your management philosophy?

My philosophy leads with service and collaboration. In a hotel environment we serve guests from all over the world with various likes and dislikes, opinions, and preferences. It’s wise to draw from the vast experiences and cultures of our staff as we contemplate day to day and long-term decisions. Trust is also critical. You need to work closely with your team in order to establish a positive and productive working relationship. Clarity through instructions and expectations is a must. So, if ambiguity led to a process failure, it’s probably pointing back at you.

What inspires you to be great?

This is a loaded question for sure; so, I would say in my attempt to be great I am inspired by our Team. They work tirelessly every day to ensure our guests receive the best possible service and have memorable stay. Beyond that, I am awed by the rich and legendary history of The Don CeSar which inspires me to “carry the torch” in order to provide opportunities for new generations of Don guests and the local community alike to make memories at iconic Pink Palace.

How do you inspire team members?

Being visible and accessible is critical. In addition, I feel I inspire our staff through leading by example; whether it’s from interacting with our guests, jumping in Laundry to run the towel folder, or stopping to pick up that piece trash. And of course, taking responsibility on behalf of the hotel when something has not gone as planned.

What advice/tips resonated with you most from mentors throughout your career?

One of my prior bosses instilled in me that you shouldn’t let yourself get consumed by the present. You must have a balanced approach and always be looking ahead, figuring out ways to grow the business, and effect positive change, so that you don’t get left behind.

What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced and resolved in the past year?

The COVID-19 pandemic. This has been one of the most difficult operating environments I have ever experienced in my hospitality career. I had to make the very unfortunate decision to lay-off or furlough countless team members, knowing what a massive impact this would have on them and their families. This left us with an almost all managerial team as we figured out our new individual and team responsibilities. There was much camaraderie developed as we would all ban together to strip checked-out guest rooms, work in the laundry department, or take turns setting up beach chairs and umbrellas. We also had to establish all new protocols for the health and wellness of our staff and guests. As business slowly returned, we excitedly added back team members so we could welcome more guests to the hotel and offer more services. The journey culminated with the reopening of all of our F&B outlets and other amenities such as the Spa and Fitness Center.

Anything else you want to add?

Based on the appropriate business levels returning in 2021, it is my goal to welcome back as many additional team members as possible, so they can continue their Don journey. The hotel has just completed extensive enhancements to our guest rooms and two F&B outlets. The planning is well underway for a successful relaunch of the hotel which encompasses an overall marketing campaign to tell the story of the “Don of a New Era”.