How This Housekeeping Leader Builds a Culture of Support & Respect
Name: Praveen K.
Position: Director of Housekeeping
Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Dream destination: I have few on my bucket list: Salavan, Laos; Knivskjellodden, Norway; Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland; St George Island, Florida; The Pribilof Islands, Alaska. I’d love to explore the incredible natural beauty of these places.
Drink or treat of choice: Buttermilk
As the leader of a team of 54, Praveen’s favorite thing about his job is being able to witness his employees learn and grow.
“It brings me joy,” says Praveen, the Director of Housekeeping at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. “Seeing their confidence and competence in the job is gratifying and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
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Luckily for his associates — or ladies and gentlemen, as they’re known at The Ritz-Carlton — Praveen knows a lot about learning and development and the impact that those opportunities can have on both your career and life. He’s built an esteemed 20-year career in hospitality, starting in 2003 as a room attendant in a Mumbai, India hotel. After being promoted several times over and moving to Dubai and then the Seychelles, Praveen eventually joined Marriott in 2015 as Assistant Director of Housekeeping at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
After two years at the luxury Caribbean resort and one promotion to Director of Laundry, Praveen expressed his ultimate dream to his supervisor.
“My goal was to move to the United States,” says Praveen. “I was heartfully supported.”
To help make his American dream a reality, Praveen was given the opportunity to join Marriott’s Leadership Development Program, which he credits for transforming his professional acumen. As part of the program, he set lofty goals surrounding employee engagement, community footprint participation, cleanliness scores, and more — all of which he exceeded, thereby paving the way for his promotion and transfer to his current position in Sarasota, Florida.
“I felt truly supported by my Marriott family,” says Praveen, who experienced first-hand Marriott’s core value of Put People First.
“I believe that when you take care of your employees, they in turn will take care of the customers, resulting in a positive customer experience. This value is at the heart of Marriott’s culture.” says Praveen, citing the Marriott founder’s famous philosophy. “This is the reason I will stay with this company for the rest of my career.”
A large part of Praveen’s role in managing the daily operations of the Florida resort’s housekeeping and laundry departments is employee satisfaction, meaning he strives to ensure that his 54 team members have work-life balance, experience a positive work environment, and feel supported in “every possible way on a day-to-day basis.”
Praveen has felt immense support at Marriott, and as a result he works every day to foster that same culture of belonging in his own department.
“We are an organization that values diversity and nurtures our associates with resources, programs and benefits that give them support and confidence in their positions. We are committed to treating everyone with respect and creating a culture of inclusion,” says Praveen. “The opportunities I received after joining Marriott helped shape me as a true hotelier. Working with ladies and gentlemen from different nationalities has helped me grow as an individual and as a true professional.”
Learn more about Praveen’s inspiring career, in his own words, below.
How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?
I feel very valued working with Marriott International, from day one my expectations from my role were clear and guidelines to achieve my goals were provided. Marriott gave me an opportunity to maximize my potential and enhanced my learning experience. Working with Marriott is rewarding. They have provided me with excellent on-the-job training and a supportive team environment. I am proud to be part of this innovative and modern organization.
What is your favorite part of working at Marriott?
There are a lot of opportunities for growth and development. Talent is very much respected and managed by Marriott. I have experienced it myself and have seen many ladies and gentlemen get promoted within the hotel and transferred with promotion. It is motivating to learn that there are opportunities available for growth.
The culture of Marriott is great, it is based on respect and integrity. Everyone is treated equally and with respect. The diversity in the workplace is celebrated and embraced, which makes Marriott a great place to work.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
I like starting my day with a positive attitude and a smile. When I arrive, I review the occupancy with the front desk and make sure that the day’s forecast looks as expected. I then review the daily agenda and start my day. I like to keep the team motivated and busy. My goal is to ensure that our guests always have a great experience. I make sure the team is happy and engaged in their work. I like to check-in with my team, answer their questions and help them where I can. I also make sure that the product and brand standards are met. At the end of the day, I review the day’s accomplishments and plan ahead for tomorrow’s tasks.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
Marriott’s interview process is very thorough. I was interviewed by four guidance team members before I was offered the position. It was an amazing experience; all the questions led back to my past experiences and refreshed all my memories. All the questions are based on STAR – Situation, Task, Action and Result.
As for advice, the key is preparation; it starts from building a very strong resume to attract the recruiters. Know what’s in your resume and do not add anything in resume just to make it look good. Rest, relax and reflect a day prior to your interview and make notes of your achievements related to People, Product, Profit, Processes. Respect everyone at the hotel, as they all play an important role in achieving the success factors in any hotel. Be creative, think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions to the problems that you may face during your interview. Most important, be yourself, be genuine and have a positive attitude.
When have you felt like a part of a community at Marriott?
During my Leadership Development Program in Grand Cayman, we worked with Bonaventure Boys’ Home. Bonaventure Boys’ Home is a therapeutic residential program that provides therapeutic services, educational and vocational programs and social and life skills for residents who have been remanded for antisocial and criminal activities. Our group helped create a recreation center for the residents. This project was completed within a month’s time. At the grand opening, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing that I had been part of a group that made a difference in the lives of those children. The smiles on their faces and the appreciation from the staff and from the home, made me feel like I was part of a community.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
I love to travel. Only five years in the United States and I have already explored almost every part of Florida. And when I travel, I always use Marriott Explore Rate and travel discounts. Now I am a Bonvoy Member too and earn points even when booking through Explore Rate. I also use the mobile app to book my stays and redeem points when I’m traveling. It’s one of the best features that Marriott provides and I’m very happy to be part of the Marriott family.
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