Welcome to Checking In, our feature that spotlights fascinating associates across the company and globe. Today, Heart of the House checks in with Cristina D., Training Manager at the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. Cristina was recently featured in the JW Marriott brand’s new marketing campaign,The JW Treatment.
Putting aside the official job description, please describe what you do at the hotel.
I observe our associates and provide constructive feedback on the spot, as well as show appreciation for their genuine service. I consider this essential to transfer the training and learning into behaviors.
Where are you originally from?
I am from Romania, from a city called Pitesti, one hour from Bucharest, the capital city.
How did you get started in the hospitality industry?
I started seven years ago at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel as a Training Coordinator. I had no knowledge of the hotel business, so I cross trained in all departments for six months – from the front office and engineering to security and room service. I took on any opportunity, even temporary assignments, to learn from guests so that I could really understand hospitality.
We hear the JW brand has a unique approach to training – like visiting the ballet. Can you tell us more about that?
To inspire associates to perform on the stage in front of our guests, not just serve or assist, the teaching moments have to be out of ordinary too. During training, we discuss using elegant gestures with eye-capturing easiness, being genuinely curious and really connecting with each guest, going beyond the expected and building upon each clue the guest gives us. None of these attitudes are superficial or technical, but profound and created through practice and rehearsal. We infuse our rehearsals with breathing exercises, physical and mental stretching, flow of movement try-outs, and elegant friendliness practice. Just like the ballet, associates come to realize that they have embodied particular postures and movements and have adopted a new vocabulary. All this translates into a very unique experience for our guests.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It is very rewarding when our associates tell me about a guest recognizing their service. Also, it is very fulfilling to see our associates’ hard work pay off when they get a promotion, new role or more responsibility.
What is one piece of advice that you like to pass on to all new associates?
Don’t just “work” in the hotel industry, love it!
When you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?
Exploring Italy and traveling the world. I love being a tour guide for all my friends and family that come to visit.
Anything else you would like to add?
I am very proud of my seven years of service with the JW Marriott brand and honored to be an ambassador, sharing the culture with every new associate