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Thanks for the Memories! - A Tribute to Harry Nobles

E-mail:  hospsvc001@aol.com

Editor’s Note:
by Michelle Renn

We at Hotel-Online recently learned that one of the original trend setters in hospitality, Harry Nobles, is no longer with us. We feel compelled to express our condolences to his friends and family along with our gratitude for his contributions to the industry. He will be missed and we are honored to have known him.

Harry Nobles began his career in the hospitality industry with the American Automobile Association (AAA) as a field representative inspecting and rating hotels and restaurants. Later, he was promoted to supervisor of inspections at AAA headquarters with overall responsibility for lodging and dining ratings throughout North America.

During this period, Harry was instrumental in the development and implementation of AAA Diamond Ratings Guidelines, the forerunner of the current ratings system that is now an industry standard.

Hotel-Online has been lucky to have been associated with Harry Nobles for many years and enjoyed his tremendously positive outlook and exuberance for excellence in all he attempted.

Harry passed away on April 3, 2011, just weeks after he wrote the column below.  When preparing this for him, I wondered at the time if he knew something the rest of us did not.

Reading it now with hindsight, I'm certain he did.

Harry shared with us his thanks for his experiences and all those he encountered these many years.

I would like to share with you once again, his final column exactly as it originally appeared.

Thanks for the memories Harry!


by Harry Nobles
March 10, 2011

We often hear that all things must eventually end; in our personal and professional lives we encounter regular reminders of this reality.  With age these reminders come with greater frequency and with less subtlety.  I have been receiving reminders for a couple of years, and I ignored them.

The messages became more frequent, and I still ignored them.  Why not?   I had worked for more than 50 years in two very different career fields.  I was a soldier for 21 years, and then by a very fortuitous quirk of fate I came into the hotel field by the back door.  I still remember the AAA job ad:  “Stay in hotels and dine in restaurants”. There was additional ad copy which I ignored.   That was 1983, 28 years ago that I stumbled into my second career.  Quite an adjustment!   Going from sleeping in the mud, snow, and rice paddies , living on K Rations,  C  Rations, LRRPS, or some other  exotic military cuisine.  Now I was required to sleep in triple-sheeted king beds, and dine in elegant surroundings on culinary delights that I could not pronounce, with silverware that I had never seen before.
 
Don’t forget Room Service! I often ordered from Room Service just so I could eat with my fingers,   And Thank Heaven for Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel’s welcomed opportunity to enjoy a reality breakfast again.
 
I saw this career change as a major challenge and as another opportunity to serve.  After 20 years of making the world safe for democracy, I would now make the highways and byways safe for AAA members.  This was going to be a difficult transition and I vowed to give it careful and serious consideration; after about 10 seconds of deep thought, I knew this was the new career for me.

Despite the obvious differences between the military and the hospitality industry, I often reflect on the similarities.  One of these is the outstanding dedication, professionalism, and talent one encounters in both workforces    I have found that the current and future leaders in both fields share some common traits.  Among these are the total acceptance of responsibility, a steadfast drive to succeed and excel, and the true leaders are noticeable because they take their work very seriously, without taking themselves too seriously, and two of my favorites:  leading by example and stressing the value of teamwork without becoming or creating martinets.

Military and hospitality leaders are able to consistently deliver outstanding results in difficult and stressful conditions.
 
Another personal similarity is that I thoroughly enjoyed both my careers.  Both jobs allowed me to do interesting things, work with people I liked and respected, and see the world.   Blind luck or wise career choices?  Mostly luck, with great support from so many hotel owners and managers who gave me opportunities to work with and for them.

In the past several months Parkinson’s disease has caused me to make some changes in my life and work style.  Specifically, NOBLES HOSPITALITY CONSULTING, NHC (www.nobleshc.com) will continue as a viable entity providing the same scope and quality of services as we have for the past 21 years.  For the time being, my travel will continue but at a decreased pace.  I will have limited participation in current and future projects. 

NHC is very fortunate to have several excellent associates on staff and can provide uninterrupted service.  Most are very experienced and have worked with me for several years.  Some of you know them already; others will get introduced soon.

My major physical problem is loss of balance due to Parkinson’s; I fall unexpectedly and often.  Hand tremors also make typing difficult; otherwise, I am doing pretty well.  There is also the resurgence of a childhood speech impediment which has become noticeable recently.
I sincerely thank all of you for your friendship and support.  You have made the last 28 years possible, and you made it fun!  So I won’t be seeing you on site as much, but I can still be reached by phone, email, or SKYPE. If you know any good jokes, funny anecdotes, or just want to say HELLO, I am here.

Harry Nobles
757-564-3761
harry@nobleshc.om

Contact:

Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
www.nobleshospitalityconsulting.com
harry@nobleshc.com
(757) 564-3761


Also See: How Reliable are Hotel Ratings? / Harry Nobles / January 2011

Can you risk a downgrade of your AAA rating? The dilemma of going from 3 Diamonds to 2 Diamonds / Harry Nobles / November 2010

Chaos in the Lodging Ratings World and Defining "Boutique" - A Solution? / Harry Nobles / August 2010

When is the Right Time to Worry About Your AAA or Forbes Rating? / Harry Nobles / July 2010

Is 'Mega Boutique Hotel' an Oxymoron? / Harry Nobles / April 2010

Boutique Hotels: Have They Gone Too Far? / Harry Nobles & Lisa Jackson / March 2010

Does AAA Approval Help? / Harry Nobles / November 2009

Which Training Plan is Right for You? / Harry Nobles / June 2009

Is Hospitality For Hotels Only? / Harry Nobles / June 2009

How Important is Service? Very! / Harry Nobles / May 2009

What to Do? Improve Guest Services or Upgrade Facilities / Harry Nobles / December 2008

My Dream Hotel? / Harry Nobles, October 2008

Hurricane Ike:  Challenges and Opportunities? / September 2008

Who Should Train Your Employees?/ Harry Nobles / September 2008

Designing for the Future a Key to Earning 4 or 5 Star/Diamond Rating / Harry Nobles / February 2008

Look for the Ducks / Harry Nobles / April 2007

How Should Casino-Hotels Be Rated? / Harry Nobles / April 2007

Is 'Mega Boutique Hotel' an Oxymoron / Harry Nobles/ December 2006

Hotel People I Have Know / Harry Nobles / October 2006

Now I’ve Seen Everything -  “Food Servers Employing the Internet to Divulge Names of Customers Who Tip Less than 17%”/ Harry Nobles / September 2006

Does Hotel Room Size Matter? / Harry Nobles / September 2006

If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating / Harry Nobles/ May 2006

AAA Evaluation Procedure: Is It Fair? / Harry Nobles/ May 2006

Four Star vs Mobil Four Star / Harry Nobles/ February 2006

Rating Condominiums / Harry Nobles / January 2006

AAA Five Diamond Lodgings; Chain vs Independent / November 2005

Katrina & Rita: Silver Lining or Opportunity? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / October 2005

Our Dream Hotel / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / July 2005

Losing a Diamond or Star / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs /  March 2005

Ratings vs Guest Satisfaction / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2005

Our "Pick of the Month" / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004

5 Star vs 5 Diamond: What’s the Difference? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004

Strategic Alliance Announced, Committed to Hospitality Excellence / August 2004

Family Resorts: Suggested Strategies / Cheryl Griggs / July 2004

Are Small Resorts Unfairly Treated by the AAA and Mobil Rating Criteria / July 2004

Designing For Optimum Global Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / June 2004

QualAsia Formed to Provide Authoritative Organization to Inspect and Evaluate Hotels Across Asia; Harry Nobles Appointed Chairman of New Asian Hotel Rating Service / May 2004

Validity of Online Hotel Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / April 2004

Resorts Ratings Redux / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2004

Are Your Trainers Trained? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson Grigg /  January 2004 

The Language of Service / Cheryl Griggs / October 2003

Hotel Renovation Ideas vs AAA Ratings Criteria / Harry Nobles / October 2003

New Employee Orientation: Necessity or Luxury?  /  July 2003

Save the Best - Replace the Rest / July 2003

AAA and Mobil Ratings As a Sales Tool / May 2003

How Well Do You Know Your Competitor? / May 2003

Our Favorite Hotel?  / March 2003

The Current Value of AAA Hotel Ratings / Feb 2003

Stars and Diamonds; Some Similarities and Some Differences / January 2003

AAA's Delay: Good or Bad? / July 2002

Timing Is Everything, Or Is It? / July 2002 

Boutique Hotels: Have They Gone Too Far / May 2002

People Really Do Make the Difference / Jan 2002

What Is a Boutique Hotel? / Dec 2001

The Non-negotiable Traits of Leaders / Oct 2001 

How Important is Service? / Sept 2001

Front Desk Service Mistakes / Aug 2001

Food & Beverage Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001

Bell Staff Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001 

Attitude vs Aptitude / June 2001

Female Business Travelers' Expectations / June 2001

Is Outsourcing Your Training a Viable Alternative? / June 2001

Unique Identity + Consistent Service = Success / May 2001

AAA Standards vs  Guests' Expectations / May 2001

Are Your Guests Better Informed Than Your Staff? / April 2001

Are U.S. Hotels Rated Differently From Other North American Hotels? / April 2001

The Design Theme - AAA / Mobil Ratings Connection / March 2001

Attitude Can Make the Difference / January 2001

How Should Casino-Hotels be Rated? / Dec 2000

Does AAA Rate Resorts Fairly? / Nov 2000

Is Your Property Suffering From Design Deficiency? / Nov 2000 

The Future of AAA Ratings / September 2000

What Is Your Optimum AAA Rating / August 2000

If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…../ June 2000

Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000

Creating Atmosphere / Jan 2000

What is "Atmosphere"? / December 1999

Maintaining Your AAA Rating / Nov 1999

Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult? / Oct 1999

Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999 

Consistency: The Hallmark of a Fine Hotel / September 1999

Who Should Train Your Employees  / Aug 2000 

Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998 

Key to Success: Training + Follow-Up / June 2000

The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 

To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page


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