Built in 1980, the Hilton Houston Westchase is managed by Interstate Hotels and Resorts, who employs a staff of 120. Judy Orlando, the hotel’s general manager, estimates about 80 percent of her employees have been with the Hilton for more than 15 years. “When I came to the Hilton three years ago, I learned so much by listening to my fellow associates as they told me their stories,” she said. “Many of our associates have watched each other’s children grow up, so there really is a family feeling here. Everyone takes such pride in the hotel.”
Orlando said that while Hilton Worldwide has embraced a “Make It Right” brand promise that guides customer service standards, this year Interstate introduced four core values for its employees:
- Do the Right Thing – Demonstrate empathy, honor and integrity in all that we do.
- Think We, Not Me – Together as a team, we reach new heights in our work and community.
- Be Your Best Self – We are engaged, move with purpose and serve with enthusiasm.
- Think like a Guest, Act like an Owner – Anticipate the needs of our guests and value our properties.
“Every day, we come to work breathing those values,” Orlando said. “We also make time to celebrate our small successes. Employees can fill out and submit ‘We Are Interstate’ cards when they notice their peers exceeding expectations. We then have monthly rallies that include prize drawings for both front-of-house (front desk, restaurant, housekeeping) and back-of-house (kitchen, sorting, laundry) associates who have been recognized.”
According to CBRE Hotels Americas Research, a temporary oversupply in Houston hotels has slightly decreased occupancy rates, though a strong Texas economy is projected to position Houston’s hotel market for continued growth. Orlando said that in these tight times, she feels it’s important for her employees to feel valued. “I’m constantly letting our associates know that they are what separates us from the competition,” she said. “We still believe in relationships, whether they are with individual travelers, with meeting planners or with people booking events. It’s not something that’s robotic – we’re all working together and having fun doing it.”