Inspiring Hospitality Leaders By Supporting Guests

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Driven by consumer desires for new experiences, innovative technologies, and environmental impacts – travel is changing. Host Sarah Dandashy explores the technologies that power travel and the brands that build unforgettable experiences.

 

Is it possible to improve and enhance the guest experience during a pandemic? Yes, with the right mindset and creativity. Talking about this subject today, Say Yes to Travel host Sarah Dandashy welcomed her former colleague, Jeff Kulek. Kulek is the Area Vice President and General Manager of The London West Hollywood. He has over 30 years of hotel experience and shared his story of reimaging the guest experience.

Kulek had Hollywood dreams, but when he didn’t catch a big break, he found a new one—working in hospitality. “In hospitality, you are on stage and want to put on a great show. I love interactions with people.”

“I didn’t want accolades, just wanted to throw a pebble into a pond and watch the ripples, to make the world a better place.” – Jeff Kulek

Kulek’s love of people became even more important during the pandemic. The hotel never closed. “We wanted to be available to guests and see how we could help.” They hosted essential business travelers, healthcare workers, and patients.

In November of 2020, LA was back on lockdown, and Kulek was worried and knew he needed to keep motivating staff. “I had to be a change agent and work toward getting everyone in the mindset to provide great service and care for one another.”

Kulek wanted to get back into interactions, so he moved his desk to the lobby. He spoke with every guest, hearing their stories, filled with both hope and sadness. He and his team began to do little, unique things for guests, from special gifts to a penthouse giveaway for a couple unable to afford a honeymoon.

Kulek began to share the tale of the newlyweds and others on his LinkedIn profile to inspire other hospitality workers. He went viral, and publications began to print stories about the hotel’s ability to serve guests in new ways. “I didn’t want accolades, just wanted to throw a pebble into a pond and watch the ripples, to make the world a better place.”

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