My first spin off interview of my "Hospitality Heroes" piece, is with Zack Moghaddam, who is Security and Parking Operations Manager at Balboa Bay Resort and Club in Newport Beach, CA. He was kind enough to do a quick interview on July 4th weekend, to share some thoughts, insights, and perspectives.
Hope you enjoy, and possibly get a tidbit ( or more) of wisdom, to help you move forward on your journey in a "people" industry.
Me: So what is the one lesson you learned this past year working? If you had to pick one?
Zack: How important one's health is, and also the other things that are important in life for me: good health, faith in God, family.
My takeaway: I think many of us, who already valued having good health, understand on a deeper level, that it is the responsibility to one's own self especially, to make good decisions, and to have proper discernment regarding one's health and wellbeing. Whether it is physical health, mental health, emotional health, spiritual health; we all make choices daily, on how we manage and hopefully thrive in these areas.
Me: Now that people are traveling, and this past year is behind us... with many lessons learned, and many challenges hopefully met, faced, and solved; what is one of the lessons that you would like to share about now moving forward?
Zack: Mental Fortitude. I need to stay strong mentally, and remain positive. Staying positive, and keeping a positive mindset is imperative. Also the concept of being a 'good steward.' A 'good steward' to the industry. I am here to serve others, and give excellent guest service. The luxury guest experience is all about customer service, and being there for our guests.
This last year, was especially all about mental fortitude and focus in our work. The concept Zack mentions about being a "good steward" is significant. I believe we all have innate gifts, and talents; and we are here to be "good stewards" of what we have been blessed with. I believe we are here to use our innate gifts to share with others, as well as support and encourage others in our spheres of influence.
There is a verse in the Bible, Proverbs 18:16 - "A man's gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men." I believe many in the hospitality industry, like Zack, are blessed with the gifts of loving others; being of service; having a warm, compassionate personality; and a friendly demeanor. These traits are invaluable to an industry that was , and hopefully still is, built upon service, hospitality, smiles, laughter, and genuine people who are authentically a pleasure to be around.
Zack: Another lesson I learned, and still incorporate in my life and work, is to take things one day at a time. I stay focused on the task at hand. I take one task at a time, and sometimes I take one hour at a time. I want to be excellent with what I do, and whatever the task, I want to do it with excellence. Now that people are traveling, and with the huge surge in guests coming here, as well as business demands; things can get very taxing – so one day at a time and continuing to deliver excellent guest service is at the forefront, and a priority.
The "one day at a time" concept, and the "one hour at a time" concept I do believe many of us learned on such a deep level this last year. It is definitely something to move forward with.
For me, if I am not in the moment, and being present with what I am doing, I need to slow myself down. For me, "slower is always faster." I know this sounds like a "paradox" but it does work. When I take a moment to breathe, and slow things down; I end up being more present, more efficient, more peaceful, and better able to engage with others, or accomplish the task at hand. This ends up being "faster" overall.
Me: So my last question, is about this "robot" culture...
I notice when I call over to your Resort, there is always someone who answers the phone; is friendly, respectful, and clearly all about service. (Hence, maybe one of the reasons you are so busy over there with high occupancy).
Other Resorts I have called, especially in the past couple months, and the people who answer the phone sound miserable, grumpy, and do not even know who is working at their own property.... and then they forward the call right to someone's voice mail or just hang up.
Others I have called, guests have to press #1, for this; and #2 for that; etc.... For me, I know that I like speaking with a real person, with a friendly personality. This does not seem to be the "norm" anymore. Do you think as time goes by, the hospitality Industry will become more and more automated?
Zack: Well. I believe that one of the main factors as to why our guests travel, and stay with us, is for the service. And yes, we are extremely busy with guests from all over, and this is good. We provide excellent service. Myself included, I do not want to call a Resort and have the call go to some automation, press #1, press #2, etc... I prefer the industry does not move toward automation, as there still are people in our industry who want to assist guests, and also members, as many Resorts also have members to serve as well.
I agree 150% with Zack. There are still "people people" in this world, and especially in the hospitality arena. These individuals want to be of service, and engage with guests – making the whole travel experience a true pleasure and a wonderful experience for those who are vacationing, traveling on business, or just having a stay-cation. Whatever the travel plans... robots will never replace human interaction, human personality, and human warmth and compassion.
Me: I want to thank Zack for this interview. It is abundantly clear, that Zack is a true "Hospitality Hero" - and I am blessed to know him. He has helped me much this past year, with his service, friendship, business, as well as presence.
If you want to learn more about Balboa Bay Resort- check out balboabayresort.com