Hospitality Sales: Do What Comes Naturally
This is part one of a two-part series.
While at my sonâ€™s band performance the other day, somebody asked me how I ended up in hospitality sales.Â Without giving it much thought, I began to blurt out the standard clichĂ© answers.
I like making money, I enjoy the challenge, I like being my own boss (well if only in mind anyway), and I like people.Â But the more I played this back in my head and had time to reflect, the more I realized that I never did really answer the question. Yeah, I knew what I thought I enjoyed most about hospitality sales, but I had never really thought about the steps that had brought me to this point.
I didnâ€™t study hospitality sales/management in college.Â They didnâ€™t offer it then.Â I devoted my studies to being an architect, while dealing blackjack in Lake Tahoe during the summer breaks.Â After graduation, I decided to get serious and focus on my strengths.Â I took a job as a National Field Consultant for my national fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi.Â Ok, maybe it wasnâ€™t â€ścareerâ€ť serious, but I did learn the finer points of wearing a suit and paying my own bills.Â Following my Dadâ€™s death two years later, I realized just how precious life is and got a real job as a box salesman.Â Â My Dad called it â€ścorrugated packagingâ€ť and he devoted his life to it.Â My brother still sells it to this day and is quite happy.Â Figuring I was destined for something more, I decided to head back to school, so I attended UCLA by day and worked at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) by night loading aircraft.Â Â Soon the reality of my situation set in.Â There was no way I could support myself, my graduate studies and live in Westwood on such meager wages.Â So the big question: Move to cheaper digs and and/or drive an economy car? Or find another job and put school on hold?Â Letâ€™s just say, have you ever driven a brand new candy apple-red IROC Camaro?!
I recall the smell of jet fuel (rotten eggs) on my person, the day I spotted the article in the LA Times announcing the grand opening of JW Marriott in Century City, California.Â For some reason I remember thinking then â€śsalesâ€ť, but also realizing I knew absolutely nothing about the hotel business.Â I applied the very next day, but as it turned out, the only positions left just days before opening were in valet parking.Â I later became the supervisor for the department, only to transfer months later into banquets, whereby I met a woman (co-worker) who is now my wife of 20 years.Â The roots of my hotel career are wide spread and have yielded much growth, from my experiences in Human Resources as a recruiter and payroll administrator, to my days as a front desk agent and front office supervisor.Â All of which lead to Cheyenne Mountain Conference Resort in Colorado Springs, CO and what is now my livelihood and passion, hospitality sales.Â I guess the days spent purposely cutting through the sales office on my way up to the front desk, in hopes the Director of Sales would give me a shot paid off.Â Â That brings us right back to where we started.
I realize now more than ever, after more than 22 years in hospitality industry, 18 years of that in hospitality sales, that every experience, challenge and job Iâ€™ve encountered along the way brought me to this point.Â Without them, I would not be the successful hospitality sales person I am today.Â Â Most importantly, Iâ€™ve learned that the reason I ended up in hospitality sales is because it is what I was destined to do.Â Iâ€™ve realized for the first time really, that I am doing what comes naturally. How cool is that!?
Part two of this series, Customers See the Benefits, coming soon!