Welcome to our GM Spotlight Series! This is an opportunity for you to meet the rockstars playing the hits at our various hotels throughout the western United States. Here’s a few insightful questions aimed at revealing just how we pull off our Mission: ‘Crafting inspired workplaces that deliver kick-ass guest experiences, maximizing investor returns’.

Introducing: Samantha Abendroth at our Fairfield Inn Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas, NV

By Alison Sansone, VP of Marketing and Communications

Fairfield Inn is a great, select-service starter brand for new GMs. On the other hand, the Las Vegas market presents quite a bit of nuance when it comes to serving the equally active flow of business and leisure travelers.

Samantha Abendroth was the perfect candidate when we took over this hotel in early 2018, successfully transitioning from a sales role at our SpringHill Suites / TownePlace Suites dual campus in nearby Henderson, NV. Her operations leadership was pivotal in raising our guest service scores, rallying a dedicated team to fulfill a wide range of expectations for guests and owners alike.

Not to mention her side gig, serving in the critical role as a NEW mom.

How did you get bit by the hospitality bug – tell us the brief story about your first hospitality/hotel job?
It was my second job, I switched from childcare. I started at the front desk and loved the service experience and learning all that goes into operating a hotel. That was at the SpringHill Suites in Henderson, NV.

“Samantha is a leader who truly leads her team by example! She sets the bar high for her team and is willing to do what ever it takes to reach her property goals. I am excited for Samantha’s future growth and for the success of the Fairfield Inn Las Vegas!”
~MICHAEL AFTANSKI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR of OPERATIONS

What’s the best comment you ever received from a guest?

We had a guest staying at our hotel to be near a family member in the hospital and going through a hard time.

We put games and stuffed animals into her room, and special snacks to support the opportunity for family time, since her kids were cooped up in the room for so long.

She shared that our hotel made her feel like family. It goes to show that guest circumstances aren’t always about vacation or business.

Tell us one particular thing you’re doing right now to improve your guest service [score]s:
The best way to make an impact on staff and employees is to do it/show it yourself. This is my way of ‘Leading by example’. Whether it’s working alongside them or interacting with guests as I encounter them.

So what’s your secret/tricks/tips for ‘minding the middle’ when it comes to the juggling act of your budget while keeping both guests and associates happy?
Being laser focused on rates day by day is impactful in maximizing revenue.

The green choice – our programs to reduce laundry helps a lot with labor. And we experienced big savings in utilities by investing in upgrades on our PTAC units – which also helped with guest service scores, by the way.

“Samantha has had a successful year as a relatively new General Manager in a challenging market. She didn’t miss a beat returning from maternity leave given that she had a big impact in driving Guest Satisfaction scores up upon return!”
~JOHN BLEM, VP of OPERATIONS

So what’s your secret/tricks/tips for ‘minding the middle’ when it comes to the juggling act of your budget while keeping both guests and associates happy?
The majority of ‘fires’ are put out with just a simple, genuine apology. A simple drink or breakfast coupon is a quick fix that doesn’t break the bank. Our guest service best practices don’t tend to impact our budget and employee satisfaction is linked to the empowerment approach to their duties.

Choose your management style: 1. Iron Man/Tony Stark, 2. Mother Theresa, or 3. Bill Murray

Bill Murray – hospitality can be so structured and procedural; comedic relief is a great way to strike a balance on a daily basis. When I interact w/employees, there’s always a way to spark a smile, even on the most stressful day.

Tell us about your daily stand-up routine? Group huddles? Dance party? Start with a joke?

It’s typically in-depth with the needs of the day. There’s also a high demand for translation or even just learning general Spanish terms. My team appreciates our efforts to learn their language and communicate.

One lead housekeeper will play a Spanish song to get the groove going, which often starts the energy off with a bit of dance.

If you were moving up the ranks and training your replacement, what are some words of wisdom you’d bestow for being a successful hotel GM?

I definitely say it takes patience and there’s always a solution to everything that arises. Focus on the resolution not the problem. As long as you take care of your employees, then you can depend on them to take care of you, especially when the going gets rough.

RAPID FIRE ROUND:

Beatles or Stones? Beatles

Nickname growing up? Sammy-Miami

Is your Netflix or Hulu or Cable? Netflix

Favorite sandwich? Italian Sub

One part of your morning routine you can’t live without… COFFEE.

Words of wisdom you’d give to your 16 year old self? Don’t focus on the present, focus on the future and what can become….

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