I recently spent four glorious nights at the Delray Beach Marriott and while I was there I had a chance to interview Shaun Vincenti, the Assistant General Manager. He told me how he got into the hotel business, what a typical day at the hotel is like, what new developments are going on and why Delray is such a fantastic destination.
How did you get started in the hotel business?
I have a degree in Multimedia Design, however, after graduation I realized that I am not programmed to sit in a cubicle. After a short time in the graphic design field I entered into construction and built a house and a gas station. The gas station hired me as their first employee once the building was finished. There was a gentleman who drove the airport shuttle for the Sleep Inn – Pittsburgh Airport hotel who just so happened to fuel the van up on a regular basis at the station I worked at. After numerous encounters he told me, based on my personality, that he had the perfect job for me. It just so happened to be driving airport shuttle for the same hotel. That was my introduction into the hotel industry in 2000.
What is a normal day like in the hotel?
This is a difficult question to answer as everyday is ever changing. The typical day starts with an ‘Afternoon Stand Up’ meeting which involves all the department heads. It serves as a debriefing to keep everyone involved in what is happening on property for the day. It covers all outlets from the Front Desk, Food and Beverage, Engineering and Housekeeping. Communication is key in the success of any business, especially one with so many associates through so many outlets interacting with the guests. We discuss occupancy percent, groups that are in house, VIPs on property and any items that require I follow up from the previous shift. I spend time in the lobby welcoming and greeting guests and answering any questions they may have. I spend time with each department to assist where needed, listen to any creative ideas to enhance the service and add value that any associate or guest may have and ensure that everyone has the necessary tools to do their job. This is in addition to any guest concerns/issues I personally address and follow up on. I walk a number of vacant rooms each evening checking to make sure that everything is as it should be prior to guest check in. I check room lighting, the batteries of the remote control, the picture clarity of the television and the general cleanliness of the room. Toward the end of the night I walk all areas of the property to ensure any deficiencies are communicated to Engineering or Housekeeping for follow up. At the end of the night I forward a report to the management team that outlines the events of the evening through every department. This allows the AM team to come in, have a detailed breakdown of what happened in their individual departments and address any issues that have been brought to my attention that I was unable to resolve or act on. The main focus of every action, on any given day, is geared toward ensuring complete guest and associate satisfaction.
How has Delray grown as a destination?
As a destination Delray Beach has something for everyone. This year it was named ‘Most Fun Small Town in America’ by USA Today and Rand McNally. The great thing about Delray Beach is that it offers something for everyone. Visitors can soak up the sun and waves on the public beach in Delray, go on a tour of the Intracostal on the Lady of the Atlantic, get dressed to the 9′s to enjoy one of the many top notch restaurants on famous Atlantic Avenue or just put on some flip flops and relax at any of the local bars. There is a great live music scene in Delray Beach and the arts definitely offer a local flavor. Additionally, Delray Beach has numerous festivals and parades throughout the year from ‘Art & Jazz on the Ave’ which transforms Atlantic Avenue into a Delray art show to ‘Savor the Ave’ which is Florida’s largest outdoor dining experience. In addition to what the town offers, the location is also ideal as it is right between Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach so getting here is effortless.
What new developments are going on at the hotel?
We are excited to be in the process of completing our newest addition to the Delray Beach Marriott. Ocean Properties is expanding the hotel to include one, two and three bedroom villas. These two story luxury villas will offer a more private experience for people traveling to Delray Beach and will feature their own amenities and services in addition to the services we offer everyone else at the property. The scheduled completion is targeted for February 1st, 2013.
Just an FYI: The Delray Beach Marriott is right on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and A1A, with the beach a quick 50-yard walk away. That’s the same distance to the closest of Delray’s many delicious restaurants. But as with most chain hotels, it’s not about the building but the destination. The Delray Beach Marriott is very nice. It’s rated 4 stars, and with its tile roof and marble floors has a Mediterranean feel. It is probably the nicest Marriott I have ever been in in the U.S. and the hotel is designed for both business and leisure travelers. The former will love it for the conference space, free Wi-Fi, room service and the comfortable rooms. Leisure travelers will adore the facilities, two pools (one is adults only), and of course the location.