Hotel Online  Special Report
Hotel People I Have Known

Harry Nobles  - October 2006

During my tenure at AAA and in the years since, I have had the privilege of meeting and working with hundreds of hotel owners, managers, and employees.

As I near the end of my working life, I look back on this experience with both pleasure and gratitude. The pleasure is because 99.9% of the ladies and gentlemen I have known in this business are true professionals and totally dedicated to the goal of guest satisfaction.  I should explain the “99.9%” figure; in my career of 23 years, I occasionally encountered a hotel manager or employee who appeared to be in the wrong job.  These encounters were too rare to merit any further discussion.

My gratitude is for all I learned from the hotel people I have worked with over the years.  Yes, I learned from not only the 99.9% previously mentioned; I learned something from every encounter. 

Now, a few of my favorite memories.  

A Marriott GM in Oklahoma personally interacted with his guests on a daily basis by serving coffee refills at breakfast.  He wore a nametag with his name and position, and mingled in the dining room and lobby for at least an hour.

An owner/manager in Arkansas was always at his desk in the lobby during afternoon check in and morning check out times to greet his guests on arrival and ask about their stay at departure.  If a guest had a problem, a complaint, or a question, they could deal directly with the owner.

One additional point about this gentleman.  He was 90 years old, and told me he had been in the business since he was 15.  He also told me that while the guests really liked seeing the owner in the lobby, his employees were less enthusiastic.   The lobby desk idea was something he had learned from a mentor more than 70 years before.  He said, “it was a good idea in 1912, and still is”.

Another Arkansas GM was German-born and began his career as an apprentice porter at luxury European hotels in the 1930’s. I was always amazed by his ability to walk around the property and, without breaking stride, note every grooming or attire infraction by any employee.

While the majority of owners and managers I have met were male, I have also seen an increase in the number of females at the higher echelons of the hospitality industry.  One lady in particular stands out.  When I first met her almost 20 years ago, she was an office clerk in a motel; she had no hotel experience, but she had the desire to move up. She also had the ability.  After several years in almost every position in her company, she now manages 2 hotels for the organization.  She has come a long way and is still young enough, and certainly capable enough, to rise even further.

If there is a negative aspect to this situation, it is that so many of the dedicated people I have known in this business are leaving due to normal retirement or for health reasons.  The good news is that I am now meeting the next generation of great owners and managers, and they are very impressive.  They, of course, are the outstanding young hotel employees I see regularly as I visit my clients.  If the ones I see are an indication of the future, we have nothing to worry about.  Our industry will be in good hands.


Harry Nobles
Direct line: (757) 564-3761
800.750.5666 Toll-Free
757.564.0076 Fax

Also See: 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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