The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


A Day in the Life of a Ritz-Carlton Gentleman

“Can you help me spray paint these scuba fins?”

“My pleasure,” says Patrick Reed. Dressed in a sharp black suit, with a matching black vest, white Oxford shirt, and pink tie neatly tucked into the mix, Reed represents the essence of a Ritz-Carlton gentleman. Sitting at his desk just behind the wall of the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas lobby, people come and go, walking past his door, occasionally dropping in to say hi or see how his day is going. His door is decorated with a friendly Halloween skeleton and some cobwebs. The 30-year-old front desk manager is able to oversee the majority of his 17-person team from his corner office that overlooks the valet line and entrance to the hotel.

A schedule based on customer service

“The great thing, and the bad thing, about what I do on a day-to-day basis is that there is no rhyme or rhythm, my day changes from minute to minute,” Reed says. He likes to joke that his wife is a list person because she can make a list and check it off when it’s done. But for Reed, he’s more of the “spaghetti list” kind of guy where the lines don’t always go straight. In the hospitality management world, schedules aren’t necessarily based on meetings and agendas; they’re based on the guests’ needs.

Being in charge of four different teams means a lot of responsibility. Reed is the ‘leader’ of Guest Relations, Club, Front Desk, and Telephone Operators. Part of those responsibilities include performing a sweep, which means tediously separating purchases made on the hotel credit card amongst the different ‘buckets’ such as purchases for guests versus keys. Reed also meets with his teams to discuss goals for the week and updates a profit and loss statement, more commonly referred to as a P&L around the hotel. A P&L outlines the money that comes in and subtracts expenditures, acting as a checks and balances sheet for the hotel.

“I usually have at least two meetings a day,” Reed says, “but the guests come first, so if something happens, meetings get put off.” His favorite part of the job is getting to be a part of something that is different. Through putting the guest first, Reed has created a laundry list of guests that he’s gotten to know well over the years. When his daughter was born, he received gifts at home from guests. “How they got my address, I have no idea,” he said, “You don’t go to McDonald’s and give a baby gift to the person at the register, you don’t build those friendships.”

Small touches are important

“I make a healthy living bringing joy to other people’s lives,” says Robert Case, the guest services supervisor at the hotel. “I’ll ship things out, offer places for people to go around town, and book reservations,” he says.

“Small touches mean so much to a guest,” says Jodie Brown, a long-time guest of the Ritz-Carlton Dallas. “It’s the things you think no one notices that really make you realize that a hotel concierge stays on his game,” she says, “Every evening I order hot water for my favorite tea which I bring from home. After just one stay, Patrick made sure I had a self-heating pot in my room.”

“I’ll never forget arriving for our first Parents Weekend and finding the SMU Mom and SMU Dad coffee mugs and other treats that they had so thoughtfully placed in our room. It’s the little things that truly make a huge difference in making our stays so special,” says Barbara Kamensky, who has been staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas since her son began attending Southern Methodist University three years ago.

Reed thinks that the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas stands out from the rest because of the level of service that comes naturally to all of the ladies and gentlemen. “It’s unparalleled. When a guest bag got left here, someone was about to fly the bag personally to Mexico,” he says as he scrolls through the daily CTQ, or Commitment to Quality. The CTQ is a daily newsletter where the front-page is distributed to every Ritz-Carlton hotel. On that front page are “Wow stories” where they showcase a lady or gentleman who did something that was above and beyond.

There’s a swinging pendulum of different ways that the ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ of the Ritz-Carlton have to interact with their guests, according to Reed. “It’s not something you can teach people,” he says, “you either have it or you don’t and you have to learn people’s body language and mannerisms and how to predict or dictate what you’re going to do as a lady or gentlemen to make sure they’re going to have the best stay. Even with guests who are upset with service, the ladies and gentlemen of the Ritz view them as ‘”opportunity guests,” because they can learn from mistakes that were made. “It’s that mentality set, where you don’t know what’s going on in their lives but you have to deal with what’s going on in that moment,” he says.

From Vegas to Dallas

But Reed’s career hasn’t always been the Front Desk Manager at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. He started out working at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas when he was 18. After graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a hotel administration degree, he began working at the Ritz-Carlton Las Vegas, which is now closed, as a front desk agent. He then helped open the Dallas Ritz in 2007 before venturing to St. Thomas to work at the Ritz there for a month. Upon return to the Dallas hotel, Reed worked in laundry for a year, and has been the front desk manager for three years.

“Beforehand, I probably would’ve told you all I ever wanted to do was front of the house. But after doing laundry and being more of a support role, it’s got it’s own different challenges, but I liked it just as much,” Reed says as he leans back in his chair after getting off a phone call with a guest.

At the end of the day, the guests’ happiness is the most important thing to Reed and Case. Carmen Girouard has become close to them over the years: “There is never an instance when I arrive at the Ritz that Patrick and Robert aren’t waiting with a hug and a kind word. They genuinely seem happy to see their guests, and in this day of texting, email and little-to-no personal one-on-one interaction, that might be the most memorable thing of all.”

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