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Wesley Bagarozzi, Front Desk Supervisor for The Westin La Paloma Resort
 and Spa Wins Spirit of Service Award from the Arizona Office of Tourism
By Karen Mracek, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Aug. 6, 2004 - Troubleshooting is the name of the game for Wesley Bagarozzi.

"Vacations bring out the best and the worst in people," he said. "There is a fine line between being hospitable and maintaining hotel policies."

Bagarozzi, 26, walks that line as the nighttime front desk supervisor for The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive.

He supervises the front desk staff, which can be up to four people on any given night. He represents the hotel in emergency situations, but most of his job is making sure guests are happy, he said.

"Not every decision is going to be the right one, but I am able to pull the trigger and actually make the decision," Bagarozzi said.

The job changes from day to day and Bagarozzi has to be ready to respond to anything from unruly guests to medical emergencies.

"My job is to make sure that everyone is being taken care of," he said. "I oversee operations."

The New York native recently won the Spirit of Service award from the Arizona Office of Tourism, which is presented to the tourism employee who best exemplifies the Arizona tourism industry's commitment to exceptional customer service.

"He has a true hunger to grow and learn and is willing to do whatever it takes to provide quality service," Gov. Janet Napolitano said at the awards presentation last month.

Bagarozzi works at night, which works well with his school schedule. He is a full-time student at Northern Arizona University, studying hotel management, but attends classes via video or the Internet at Pima Community College campuses.

"In school, they always tell you that the key is relationship-building," he said. "It's really true in the real world." Bagarozzi started in the hospitality industry six years ago and plans to pursue it after graduation in an upper-level management position.

"I've always liked the business," said Bagarozzi, who started as a valet at the Sheraton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road, before it was sold to Hilton. "I like to interact with all different kinds of people."

Bagarozzi also is inspired by the beautiful environment that surrounds him in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

"We take it for granted every day," he said. "I am really fortunate to work at a property of this caliber." And the feeling of appreciation is mutual.

"Associates like Wesley make The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa what it is," said Matt Greene, hotel manager at the Westin La Paloma.

The Westin has a beautiful resort and facilities, he said. "But it is consistently the staff and their exceptional service that makes the biggest impression on our guests."

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