Hazel Hagans wasn’t pushing for a occupation in hospitality when she took her 1st business placement at the W Atlanta Buckhead in 2010. Coming out of the deepest recession the U.S. had found given that the 1930s, Hagans settled on a place that did not put her chemistry diploma to use.
“Honestly, it was just a position. I liked it,” she stated. “I in no way assumed of hospitality as a profession, and as I joined the W in Atlanta Buckhead, I just beloved the different departments. I adore the guest conversation and enjoy earning someone’s working day particular.”
This April, Hagans is established to celebrate her one particular-year anniversary as the normal manager of The Madison Resort in Washington, D.C. She said her initial year in the role was a accomplishment, with revamped meals-and-beverage choices and powerful tradition-creating amid a manufacturer turnover.
The resort, developed in 1962, presently is owned by Crescent Genuine Estate Equities and operated by HEI Resorts & Resorts. The hotel formerly operated as a Hilton, and strategies to convert it into Marriott International’s Le Meridien Lodges & Resorts brand slated to start out later on this 12 months.
Hagans said she will take satisfaction in becoming a Black, feminine general supervisor and presents credit rating to having a woman basic supervisor at her initial resort business situation to exhibit her it was probable to climb the ranks.
Now a seasoned veteran in the business herself, Hagans mirrored on her initially yr at The Madison Hotel and her route to this place in a Q&A with Lodge News Now. This job interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are some highlights from your to start with 12 months as common manager of The Madison Lodge?
It truly is been an wonderful very first 12 months. A single of my passions is workforce-developing. As a standard supervisor, I like putting together a staff. The Hilton associates [who were here before] have been quite loyal to Hilton and they all remaining so we had to rebuild the construction, the society here, and it definitely turned out for the very best.
We have a city corridor, which is a assembly the place we collect all of our associates regular monthly and we just talk about what is likely on in the hotel. We rejoice our successes and wins, and speak about what’s new, what is happening up coming and we have a really excellent lunch, far too.
We experienced really fantastic affiliate viewpoint scores: We scored a 93.5 general pleasure for the resort, so I am truly very pleased of that. Realizing where we began and how we concluded 2022, it definitely makes me experience truly accomplished.
In addition to that, for highlights for the lodge, we rolled out a new menu, reintroduced delighted hour, we revamped our cocktail menu and we released Club Madison, our government lounge [for Marriott Bonvoy members].
We launched Tunes on Tuesday in our lobby, so we have stay songs each and every Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. We are heading to introduce Wine Down Wednesdays this yr. All our food stuff-and-beverage programming has unquestionably enhanced throughout 2022, and we are searching forward to getting an even greater 2023.
Over-all, we are just actually thrilled to be a aspect of Marriott. I’ve been doing work with Marriott for some time now, and I feel it truly is a excellent brand. I really like the get to of the model. And I definitely do love branding.
I sense that The Madison has so significantly rich history. I am so very pleased of becoming the common manager of this lodge. John F. Kennedy and Jackie were below during the opening and we’re about to technique our 60th anniversary on Feb. 7. We are going to have some enjoyable items in shop for that. These associates here, they have touched so a lot of life and they can inform you so many stories about superstars, politicians, seriously fantastic folks who stayed at The Madison all through the decades.
Today at city corridor, we got plaques for all of the milestone anniversaries from 2022. We’re going to existing them these days. We have associates who have been below for 38 several years, 30 many years, 37, so they have viewed a ton. The history of this hotel is just so amazing. Frank Sinatra utilised to complete for the Reagans back again in the ’80s in our lobby. These are just some of the exciting stories that I listen to from our staff.
What are some of your profits and promoting strategies to stand out in contrast to other resorts in the location?
For revenue and marketing to stand out, our No. 1 tactic is truly provider. That is the only point that I truly feel that can definitely different lodges from one an additional. It’s the unforgettable ordeals, the personal touches that are really essential. To talk about gross sales a small bit much more, packaging is seriously critical, making confident that we are clean and new. We in no way want to employ the similar techniques from the past. Generating absolutely sure that we have competitive packages, producing positive for teams — our daily conference deal involves supplies that a group may possibly have to have all through a conference.
We have a definitely robust gross sales section. We have a enterprise travel sales supervisor and she is the private level liaison for all the businesses. If they are not able to guide the charge that they want, they can make contact with [her] immediately, and she will guide them or she’ll work a little something out to say, “Hey, possibly the rate’s not offered this working day, but I can work some thing out for you on Tuesday, Wednesday.” I assume the own touches are there and really just our company for gross sales and marketing.
How has your track record of becoming a Black lady shaped your career?
My background has formed my vocation mainly because to be honest with you, just expanding up with a Black family and Black mother and father, there’s a whole lot of tension on you to be ideal and to perform completely. It can be nearly like you are a consultant of your race. I grew up with my mother serving to me with my research and if it wasn’t excellent, I had to start all in excess of all over again.
I choose satisfaction in remaining a Black, female general supervisor. I uncovered to settle for imperfection, but to try for perfection. But again, if some thing is imperfect, it can be Okay, you can repair it, you can tweak it, it does not have to be 100% excellent. I’ve uncovered that with my staff as properly.
I’ve been blessed in my profession. At my to start with lodge, my incredibly initially basic manager was a woman and I assume that definitely formed my occupation. When you basically see someone in that job, it will make you really feel that the purpose was extra available. … It wasn’t right until [years] afterwards that I experienced a different just one, and I even now hadn’t seriously found any Black, female normal professionals.
My aim is to uplift some others like me, and I love to handle everyone equally. I don’t treatment what you are. Which is how my dad and mom elevated me. It is about the written content of your character, not the colour of your skin. What I try to try for is to instill confidence in ladies, confidence in minorities and permit them know that you have opportunity to increase in this career and with this enterprise centered on your skill established. I see the option in you I see that.
What does it suggest to you to now be in that position model place for many others?
It means a lot to me. As a great standard supervisor, you need to see the opportunity in the human being as opposed to ready for that particular person to arrive to you and say, “Hey, I want to be a supervisor. I want to do this.”
At the W Atlanta Buckhead, I was a director of housekeeping and there was a young lady who I realized was in school for accounting. Just one working day I approached her and stated, “I’m just curious, do you like your position? Why are you in this purpose? I know you’re in faculty, are you intrigued in accounting roles?”
And she reported, “Certainly, I would enjoy to have that situation. I utilized for some and I just failed to get the work.” So I worked with my director of finance, had some cross-teaching options for her lined up exactly where she would function a few of days in accounting just about every 7 days and then do the job in housekeeping, and as soon as a position opened up at one particular of our sister properties, she went for it, she obtained it and that designed me truly feel so very good.
It is really what tends to make me sense attained at the close of the working day. I truly adore helping many others get promotions, love internal promotions here, but no make a difference who they are, of program we want to see additional range. That is really vital, but when I see that anyone has that spark, that passion or bone for management in their system, I check out to cultivate that. That is what I believe great leaders just do.
Growing groups is component of my enthusiasm, but I get even additional very pleased when I am ready to cultivate a talent and they are capable to improve in this marketplace. There’s so many different departments in this sector, from accounting to human sources, it is not all about service at the conclude of the day, so I genuinely really like that about hospitality.
What programming strategies does The Madison have for Black Record Month?
We’re heading to have some cocktail specials that aspect Black cocktail creations like the mint julep. That will be one of our specials for the month of February. We are going to emphasize that by promoting it at the entrance desk and the bar.
What are some targets that you have in the upcoming, the two individually and for The Madison?
As much as plans, I usually like to boost. I always like to fantastic. I actually want to fantastic-tune this operation to be just better. Like I claimed, we’re introducing extra food stuff-and-beverage selections such as place service. I come to feel like a ton of hotels even now haven’t been able to get that services again. So I’m actually energized about relaunching that.
I truly want to great-tune some of the features that we offer you to our guests. I truly want to have additional marketing occasions listed here at The Madison. For case in point, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary listed here. We want to have an event to deliver the community in simply because this hotel was built on the neighborhood and it was designed to be the initially luxurious lodge in the D.C. spot and I actually want to highlight that and have a large amount of enjoyable with it.
To commence the renovation properly, that is one of our plans. But for me, it truly is definitely just to be a improved particular person or a additional well-rounded individual and just to get this lodge back again on the map as a person of the locations to stay in D.C., the most lavish spot to remain in the D.C. So that’s my goal.
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