BloggedIn with Steve Mahoney

Steve Mahoney is the Banquet Manager for the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites.  He has spent his entire professional career working in hotels and has been at his current hotel for 10 years.  Steve has always been in banquets with a little time spent in hotel security, when needed.

Like so many in this industry, hotels specifically, Steve determined this was the path he wanted to take because he cannot be behind a desk all day.  “Being on the floor each day, executing events that change minute by minute…I found it to be incredibly intriguing!”

Steve’s job starts once the contract is handed over from the sales department.  “I need to see that everything is going to fit and how it is going to fit…that the sales department didn’t OVERSELL a space.”  Once the BEO’s are signed, it becomes Steve’s responsibility to ensure each of the events is executed to a higher means and with excellent service detail from start to finish.

From Steve’s perspective it’s “watching the guests’ expression when something happens that’s really nice and above what they expected” that makes the job.  Sometimes something as a small as how a lunch is presented can do it.  “Clients order things blindly and are pleasantly surprised once it’s operational.”  It’s the simple pleasures that can really remind us what we love and why.

However, the complaining from guests can be taxing sometimes.  Unfortunately, as the front man on the floor Steve gets it firsthand, and it’s usually something he has no control over.  “I’m constantly playing the go between among guests and other departments and it’s my job to come out with a win win.”  In the end, the guests’ happiness is bliss!

We’ve all had non ideal situations we’ve had to combat.  Steve particularly recalls a day at his last hotel where the sales staff oversold a space and no one caught it ahead of time.  The ending of one event overlapped the beginning of another.  Steve was the front man on the floor that day when the family for the second event began arriving to see another family in their ballroom.  In quick stride, Steve opened up a bar for them to occupy them during the overlap and comped their entire event.  “We’re all a team, but at that moment I had to act quickly and do the best I could do to appease the situation.”

Throughout his 29 years of experience, Steve has learned NOT to manage with emotion.  “I use to wear it on my sleeve, but I have to understand that at the end of the day it’s always about the guests and to not take things personally.  You need to have patience and not use emotion.”

It’s also important to ASK questions!  If something doesn’t make sense, ask.  “It’s my job to ensure everything flows smoothly, to do that I need to ask questions and verify everyone’s on the same page.”

Lastly, recognize that this industry does not come with an 8 hour workday, 40 hour workweek.  It requires long days, nights and weekends.  It’s important to know that when you’re considering your endeavors and before go in.

Please leave any questions or comments for Steve below.

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