With Luis Tello
Following is my interview with Luis Tello, Assistant Director of Purchasing, The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and Hotel Bel-Air. Hope you enjoy!
Me: So you know in my last series, "Hospitality Heroes," I interviewed Veronica (Hotel Bel Air Boutique Clerk), who is such a pleasure to work with. You also were so kind to offer a great quote which I included in the main piece of that series. This last year and a half has been quite challenging for those in the hospitality arena as you know, and many have come out of this last year stronger, and learned a lot. What do you think are the most important things you have learned through all this so far?
Luis: I think patience. So much of what has gone on, and continues to go on is out of our control. What is in our control? Obviously we need to know patience, and to not stress about certain things. Understanding that things come up that are out of our control, and I control what I can and what I can't is really out of my hands. Each day is a blessing, and I am grateful first. At any moment, things can change. Gratitude is very important. This past year has made a lot of people better, and a lot of us are coming out better people.
Patience and gratitude! Also, letting go and surrendering are key takeaways, especially from this past year.
Me: In my opinion, Dorchester Collection, is one of the best brands. I know that so many employees stay for so many years and there is loyalty, as well as longevity. I think this speaks volumes to the management, leadership, and also work culture at Dorchester.
Luis: Yes, indeed. There are over fifty people who are part of the Quarter Century Club. Another forty team members are here more than twenty. I've been here thirteen plus years.
Me: Yes, I think Arnel Ramirez who you work with, has been there a long time right? He is an awesome guy too!
Luis: Arnel is part of the Quarter Century Club, and has been here since the renovation in 1996. Without a doubt the work culture is great and the company is terrific to work for. This does indeed play a huge part in the retention of employees such as myself, Arnel, and many others. The longevity and the environment here is also great for our guests.
Great leaders, and great brands inspire and create loyalty, longevity among their people. This also creates loyalty, longevity among guests.
Me: There is a quote on your website from Denise Flanders, who is the General Manager of Hotel Bel Air. She says "the emotional attachment that some have for Hotel Bel Air is so very special." I was so intrigued by this, as I feel emotions and emotional connections are extremely important in business. Working with many of the individuals at your hotel brand since the early 2000s, I know building, establishing and maintaining connections are important to your brand. Thoughts about this quote?
Luis: We genuinely care about people and understand the importance of emotional connections. Every person is different, and appreciates different things. It is the emotional connection that drives people to come back, and we build connections from an emotional level. We have many locals that come just for dinner, or for a night, and we respect the community and the community respects us. I believe we all do a great job here, in how we treat and service our guests, so they keep coming back.
Actions speak way louder than words. I still remember Regina Davis, who worked in the boutique at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, who wrote me a handwritten thank you note on their pink and white striped stationery, back in 2005/6. To this day, I remember the impression that it made on me. I mentioned this to Luis during our interview, as he worked with Regina, and is familiar with that pink and white stationery. True connection, appreciation, and caring, will always be evident and felt on a deep level. This is why i believe that robots will never replace human connections!
Me: Knowing that we are all doing our best to navigate these times, and with almost everyone in our industry spread so thin, how do you prioritize your workload each day? Do you have a daily to do list? weekly calendar? monthly?
Luis: At the end of the day, I send an email to myself. I set it up as a draft, and I add to it during the day. I put on there the things that are still pending, any new projects that come in that I need to follow up on. Things that I did not get to, I set reminders for myself. I also recap what I took care of and what needs to get done. What is pending, done, what is urgent, etc...
Priorities are important and staying in the day. One day at a time works well for me, and I think what Luis does to manage his work load is a great and empowering practice. This way, one gets to review, and acknowledge what did get done, and what moves into the next day/future. Unreasonable expectations we may put on ourselves, or others' unreasonable expectations projected upon us, does not serve anyone well. Daily progress and process!
Me: As you know, there are many delays with production, and all that is involved with that. I know your property does appreciate USA made products, and I think more and more are understanding the benefits of buying made in the USA. Thoughts on this?
Luis: Yes, with all the delays getting products from overseas, with freight, shortages, etc... I think buying USA is a better way to go about business. I think there is a shift over to USA/ locally made. In general, I believe people are starting to care more about where products are made, whereas in the past many looked at what is cheaper. Even with our food, we have been looking for more options, more local farmers markets, supporting local breweries, etc...
Supporting USA made and locally made/grown is hopefully a trend with many, that will continue.
Me: As you probably know from many of my other interviews, I love nature. Big fan of art and nature. Tell me a bit about your swan pond.
Luis: Yes, our historic swan lake. We have three swans in there. A majestic walk across the bridge and it transforms our guests beyond Los Angeles. Our plush gardens really help to make our guests feel like they are on a real get away, away from city life.
Along with the historic swan lake, Hotel Bel-Air has twelve acres of tropical gardens, 483 specimen trees, more than four thousand plants. One of my favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes: "Accept the pace of nature – her secret is patience."
I want to thank Luis for his time, as I truly enjoyed this interview. Luis is a joy, and a true professional! What an asset to the Dorchester brand!
Hotel Bel-Air is celebrating its 75th year anniversary this month August.
For more information on The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows and Hotel Bel-Air, visit: