I happened to be at an AHP property the other week during a trip. I didn’t even realize it was an AHP property until I researched it and, lo and behold, it was.
I paid close attention to how the property was being managed. That’s not the important part of this story. It is managed very well. It was a stellar property.
The story is that I tried to speak with as many regular employees as possible, totally on the QT, without any indication that I was a shareholder. I would make friends with them and then quietly ask what they thought of AHP management, and what kind of interaction they had, or knew about. I was curious because, “I work in hospitality and I think my company needs to change some things, so what are the pros and cons”.
I really pressed them on the cons, and nobody came up with anything substantive. What they did say was that AHP management knew what they were doing, and that actually gave them confidence. Many had worked at hotels with inferior management. They did not feel valued, they said. They did not feel like their performance mattered. Here, it did. Here, they felt like part of a team.
They said that management is frequently communicating with property-level management. AHP executives have come by to inspect the property and talk about issues of one kind or another.
Then I asked them what might happen if AHP management just went away one day. The front desk staff said something very interesting. The clerk looked at me sideways and said, “I’m not sure anyone else could do any better.” Then I asked what would happen if new management had literally no experience in hotels.
S/he laughed. Loudly. “Sure, and I’ll be flying a 747 to Paris tomorrow.”