Exceptional hospitality and dedication is a huge part of Rutherford County's tourism success story. The Visit Rutherford/CVB team strives to recognize the wonderful people on the front line of customer service and provide insights into their work ethic!
We are proud to introduce our first Visit Rutherford STAR for 2019: Steph Norris from Sleep Inn, Murfreesboro, TN. Steph was kind enough to do a short interview with us and provide some insight into providing exceptional hospitality.
How long have you been in the industry?
"I have been in hospitality for more than 12 years."
What is one piece of advice you can offer others in the hospitality industry?:
"I treat every guest as if they are family and remember the person standing across from me is paying my wages. I am representing more than just the hotel. I am representing all of our staff, but more importantly, I am representing my community and of course the CVB. When I check any guest in, my first question is "what brings you to town?" That line opens up incredible conversations."
When you welcome a sports team or group to your hotel, how do you make them feel welcomed?
"Having an extensive sports background always helps with the various teams and sports who stay with us. I am very comfortable striking up a conversation about any sport and talking at length with coaches, sponsors, grandparents, and parents. I always make the key envelopes in their school colors and many times I will see what their mascot is and will make a copy of it and put on key envelopes. When it is State Tournament or Spring Fling time I make door knockers with their team name and mascot on them."
Why do you go above and beyond for your guests?
"Why not? We are one of many, many hotels in the area, so I feel we need to do something extra to make their stay memorable in hopes of gaining repeat guests. That being said, in all honesty, I don't extend the "welcome" to enhance the business, it's more that "everyone has a story", and getting to know the guests adds to my life. I become "invested" in their stories, and in turn, they have enhanced me. I've made many lifetime friendships through my time in the hospitality business-been to weddings, games, and unfortunately funerals since I've been in the business.
Any final wisdom you would like to share?
"Guests will say: "you are so nice and pleasant". My response is "it takes more effort to be 'ugly' to people...niceness takes no effort! That's a life-lesson carry-over."