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July’s Featured Artist Impresses Guests & Clients Alike

Philadelphia is now The City of Brotherly Service!  Rocky Balboa’s hometown has attained its 2nd  Featured Artist Award, trailing only Orlando as the district inhabited with the most Featured Artists.  This month, it was Zach Zirbel, a Guest Service Coordinator at Homewood Suites University City.

“Zach is being nominated for the Featured Artist award due to his ability to consistently deliver on Towne Park’s service commitment to guests and the positive impact he imparts on every person he meets.”

“Zach started with Towne Park in 2009 at the Grand Chateau in Las Vegas.  His journey carried him to Phoenix’s Marriott Desert Ridge before finally landing in Philadelphia.  At each stop, Zach has left behind raving fans and rabid supporters.  Tiisaimoyo Matsiwegota, a former co-worker at Marriott Desert Ridge, pronounced Zach as a “personal and professional inspiration.”

Upon arriving in Philadelphia, Zach joined the team at The Rittenhouse Hotel, consistently ranked as one of the top 50 small hotels in the world.  David Benton, GM and Vice President, immediately fell in love with Zach’s delivery and demeanor as Zach proved to be the “Go-to-guy” for the front drive experience.

In February of 2012, the Rittenhouse Hotel was acquired by Hersha Hospitality.  During the preliminary stages of the sale, Zach stood out and impressed the prospective owners as they covertly maneuvered in and out of the hotel.  Zach’s impact on the Hersha team was not apparent until the deal was signed, sealed and delivered, as Hersha executives commented on how Zach made them feel welcome and at ease throughout the intense negotiations and long hours.  The relationship Zach built with the Hersha team, specifically VP of Operations Joe DelGuidice, would lead to an additional hotel partner for Towne Park within 90 days.

Joe summarized Zach as “dynamic,” “special” and as having “an aptitude for hospitality not commonly seen in Philadelphia.”  When the time came to choose a provider for the bell, door and valet service at the Homewood Suites Universal City, Joe had two thoughts: Towne Park and Zach.

Talk about losing your best!  Zach was moved from the Rittenhouse to assist in opening the Homewood Suites on May 1st.  Zach’s laser-like focus on the guest experience and his fanatic attention to detail proved to be a perfect fit for this extended stay hotel.  Located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, The Homewood Suites provides extended stay accommodations to many patients of the UPENN and Drexel hospitals.

Immediately, the accolades for Zach began pouring in.  Guest surveys described him as “extremely helpful and accommodating,” “a very nice guy, always friendly and welcoming,” “his overall persona was very positive” and “superb, warm and welcoming… a credit to the Hilton name.”

On June 21, a Hersha executive sent an email to his colleagues entitled, “HERSHA HEROES:”

My sister-in-law is staying at the Homewood Suites on 41st.  I stopped in yesterday morning to pick her up and had one of the best experiences with a Hersha employee I’ve ever had.  Here’s what happened.

As you know, there is only a single motor lane and when a car is left, it creates an intolerable jam.  When I pulled in, I told the valet (Zach Z.) that I would only be a few minutes and that I really didn’t want my car valeted. 

Zach politely told me that is would be okay to park for about 15 minutes, but if it went much longer than that he would be forced to put the car in the garage. 

I told him I completely understood and that I was completely impressed with his delivery of a policy that I suspect is certainly irksome to most guests (score 1 point for Zach).  I also identified myself as “being with Hersha” (although neither my daughter, who was with me, nor I recall giving him my name).

15 or so minutes later when I returned, Zach, who had moved the car to the end of the lane, walked me down to and thanked me by name  I have no idea how he knew my name.  If I gave it to him, I’m surprised that he recalled it; if I didn’t, he had the gumption to find out.  Either way, score another point for Zach. 

I also heard him refer to another guest who was waiting behind me by name.  Score a third point for Zach.

Having a personality like Zach at the front door creates a remarkable first impression and I’ll bet goes a long way to diffusing the parking problem that I am certain is a big operating headache.  He deserves a big “atta boy.”

As an aside, the evening valet the night before was also very pleasant.  Whoever is doing the hiring and training here also deserves recognition.

I have never sent a field kudo like this, so be aware that the mere fact that I am taking the time to do it speaks volumes for how impressed I am. 

In writing Zach’s nomination, many people raised their hand high to offer their praise of Zach and his efforts.  Zach is clearly a top service artist in Philadelphia!”

Congratulations!  Zach will be attending the Leadership Summit meeting in 2013, actively participating in Matt Cahill’s breakout session!

Please contact your District Manager for the “Featured Artist” Nomination Form

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