By Brett Cortright
General Manager, Grand Canyon University Hotel
I’ve gotten to work for some great hotels and have learned a lot about good service, but in the last year I’ve had an even bigger privilege — creating from scratch a hotel that embodies the values of Grand Canyon University.
Our vision for the new Grand Canyon University Hotel, which opened on August 1, is to elevate hospitality, create opportunity for our students and strengthen the university’s commitment to the community.
GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller said he wanted the hotel to reflect the warmth of the University, and I made that my mission every step of the way.
There were a lot of steps, obviously. Reshaping a hotel requires intense planning and nimble execution, but three decisions stand out:
Choosing the Right Software
I had to choose a proprietary software for our global distribution system. You want your hotel to shoot to the top of any Internet search, but it takes the right software to properly block off rooms, set rates, check in guests and track guest packages.
I settled on the Choice Hotels software, which was a good fit because the property previously was owned by Choice and it specializes in hotels this size (152 rooms).
Assembling a Top Team
I reached out to my contacts in the industry to hire the right people for my management team. I wanted to “get the band back together.” I’m confident I have assembled a group that will be a friendly face for guests and an excellent example for students.
Working with Hospitality Management Students
That brings us to the people who will benefit from the hotel as much as our guests — the first students in the Colangelo College of Business’ new hospitality management program. They’ll get a great education while working in the hotel as well as in the classroom.
I’ve had fun putting my new team together, and I’m eager to make it a great experience for guests and students alike. It isn’t hard to generate warmth in the desert, but this will be the kind that always feels good.