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Wake Up! Waukesha

Jay, who has lived in the Waukesha area for over 20 years, is an active volunteer who has served on numerous local boards and committees. He's married to Colleen with three kids having gone through the Waukesha schools. He is the VP of a local distribution company.

When things go really right - A Marriott Story...

Community, Family, Observations

On August 27th, our oldest daughter, Kelly, is getting married to a wonderful young man, Chris, from Monroe, WI. As these events go, there has been a phenomenal amount of planning and a myriad of details which have been handled – mostly by Kelly and her Mom (My wife – Colleen). As the date nears and the stress…I mean anxiety…grows, it’s inevitable that ‘hiccups” will happen. And, just like in business, it’s often the handling of these miscues which makes the difference moving forward. Such is the case with the Milwaukee Marriott West in Pewaukee which is hosting the reception.

We booked the hotel last Fall, and have been working with Stacey - the banquet manager. There are many out-of-towners, so blocks of rooms were reserved. In addition and at that time, Colleen and I reserved an executive suite where we could entertain a few late-night guests and decompress after the official reception ended.Recently, it came to light there were other plans for this suite…

The PGA is holding the US Amateur tournament at Erin Hills that same weekend. Marriott has a national agreement to be the host hotel facility for the PGA. As such, their contract guarantees them certain amenities including the executive suite. And since there is only (1) executive suite, it came down to the Walt/Hoesly reception vs. a national PGA contract…Hmmm…not a phone call I would want to make either way if I am the Marriott contact.   

The General Manager, Keith Kramar, made the call to me, explained directly and truthfully that the double-booking had just been discovered, and obviously sought my reaction. How could I let him know certain death or dismemberment awaited me if I came home with this news? The date draws near and, gently put, there is a “Code Red” alert put to any unexpected news. I relied on an old trick by personalizing the issue with “Keith – are you married? Imagine reversing this and you having to take this home?” He was totally understanding and promised to get back to me later that day with ideas and concepts. The few hours that preceded his return call were filled with pondering different ways to approach the Bride and Mother of the Bride with “a change”.

Refreshingly, Keith called that same afternoon and again offered his apologies while outlining (2) choices for my consideration. We discussed logistics and I selected one of the choices. In complete candor – his compromise was far more user-friendly and accommodating than our original suite. My trepidation lessened, I took the Marriott’s plight/offer/resolution home where I witnessed the anticipated initial look of panic turn to agreement with their offer.

In today’s challenging business environment, economics and personnel cuts often trump the execution of professional, first-class service. Too often, this is becoming the “New-Normal”. Regardless of industry, things can and do go wrong – I revert to “It’s how one handles the situation that makes the difference”. The Marriott wedding planning staff has been top-notch from day one. It is very refreshing to know and witness this professionalism starts at the top. 

Quick side note – Colleen later reminded me of the prior generosity Keith and the Marriott had exhibited in supporting fund-raisers for the Waukesha Education Foundation...

And now, with concerns for both Keith’s and my personal safety narrowly averted, I am left with a deep appreciation for our selection of this venue. Sure, in principle we lost in a head-to-head with the PGA. In reality, we won because all of us can remain focused on the celebration of our daughter’s wedding armed with the knowledge that we are in the best of hands at the Marriott..

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