Slatin Group: Elements of Service

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EOS Training for W NY Downtown and Hotel Mela Times Square

July 3, 2013

Working for the first time with Paralympian racer Maggie Redden, we provided Elements of Service Training for two NYC hotels, both owned by the Moinian Group. Maggie and I met at the Hotel Mela on West 44th Street and spent some time with GM Nick Ibezaj discussing the hotel's operation and history. The Mela is barely six years old and has 80 employees for its 219 keys—and they are needed, with the hotel operating at over 90% occupancy in the super hot Times Square market. To its great credit, a hefty percentage of its management and staff at all levels have been there since its opening, indicating that management is doing its best to retain valued employees. Trust Hospitality of MIami is the management company.

We were then joined by 20 staffers and managers who, following’s lead, were genuinely eager to soak up the EOS message, especially since they have a pretty regular weekly flow of wheelchair users. In addition to our discussion of interpersonal behaviors and approaches, Maggie was able to point out challenges these guests currently face at check-in from a too-high front desk, but plans are in the works to create a lower counter to mitigate that.

The W New York Downtown

From the Mela, we moved to the three-year-old W New York Downtown, a beautiful property on an impressive site facing Ground Zero. Managed by Starwood, the W Downtown has 217 rooms and just over 100 employees. Newer than most other properties in the Financial District, its occupancy is slightly lower but is still a very healthy and happy 80%–plus; that’s sure to increase as more buildings and cultural offerings are completed at the World Trade Center site. General Manager Wolfgang Wehen is a seasoned Starwood and Hilton International hand, and his influence is evident in the smooth operations from arrival to departure. Similarly, Maggie and I held informal discussion with Eduard Petrescu, the manager of the on-site restaurant, BLT Bar and Grill; he also sent some key staffers to our formal workshop for Wolfgang’s staff.

What we learned

We continue to be extremely pleased by the feedback we receive. The key takeaway—even those with some experience working with disabled guests or with friends and families with disabilities learn a great deal because of the shift in perspective provided by our EOS training, as well as the depth and breadth of the information presented. We will continue to monitor operations at the W Downtown and the Mela, but we feel they are well on their way toward providing great service to the disabled community.

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