Hospitality Community Spotlight - Travis Klimek

Photo Credit - Derek Davis, EchoShots

Travis Klimek is a great hotel representative, not only for Candlewood Suites in Greenville, SC, but for our entire industry. According to his General Manager (GM) Michael Heater, “Travis has the ability to connect with guests. He can almost read them when they enter our lobby. He can tell if they want to talk or just get to their room real fast. He has a great instinct!”

When you first meet Travis, you notice his genuine smile and his fun personality. Travis says, “I try not to be too serious, but also very professional. I try to access the guest and what their needs are by their body language.”

He is very familiar with the Greenville, SC area since he grew up there. Helping guests find local destinations is an easy task for him, and guests appreciate that.

Travis has been mentioned in numerous reviews for his hotel, especially on The reviews that mention him are really good and share positive feedback. We asked him what he is specifically doing to receive so many recognitions.

He replied, “I don't think it is just me, although I do try to push my name out there as I'm greeting the guest. I also make sure they know my name when they are walking away. I try to use it at least two or three times during guest interaction. Also, I make sure to always say, 'If you need anything else, please let us know.' I will then repeat my name again every time they call or walk by the front desk. But it's not just me. I feel it is our team that triggers those good reviews.”

Travis currently works front desk primarily during second shift, and guests see him often when they first arrive and check-in. They connect him with their first impression many times. If he has helped them over the phone, they remember that connection as well.

Travis began his hotel career back in 2006-2007 mainly for the purpose of picking up an extra job. He worked third shift as night audit for a local IHG hotel in Greenville, SC. He eventually moved into manufacturing and sales which took him away from the hospitality industry for a while, even though with sales work he was still getting experience in customer service.

He returned to hospitality in 2014 after experiencing changes with commission structures that were not so favorable. He was looking for somewhere to start over and build a relationship with a company, possibly starting from the bottom up. He shared that with hotel GM, Michael Heater during his job interview. “Michael shared with me how his company was growing so it lured me back,” says Travis. “Also, I met the team and could see how friendly everyone was with each other. At my last job, you were lucky if you knew other people's names. Here, it feels more like a family.”

Guests definitely remember Travis, but does he remember some of the returning guests or other guests he has helped over the phone? “Absolutely!” says Travis. “That is a big thing, too. When they call in, we see their name with caller ID, so you can actually do your greeting and then say their last name and ask, 'How is it going? What can I help you with?' Just the familiarity with the guests – they appreciate that and want it.”
In addition to using caller ID, Travis says that another helpful tool is recognizing and remembering guest accents. It also involves conversations they may share. According to Travis, “Sometimes I may not recognize them right away or remember what we talked about, but sometimes they bring up something we talked about in a past conversation, and that triggers something I remember about them.”

Although Travis has not formally studied hospitality on a college level, he does have extensive work-related experience. He started working at the young age of fourteen. Customer service and sales experience highlight his resume. He contributes his sales training for giving him a slight edge as a front desk employee.

Credit - Derek Davis, EchoShots
Travis Klimek photo credit - Derek Davis, EchoShots

“It's hard to forget your sales training”, says Travis. “You are always wanting to succeed and reach expectations. I always have in the back of my mind that I want to make the best impression possible and give the guests whatever information they need to make them happy - when they walk away they are satisfied. This way, it is building a rapport with the guests. I'm not getting any commission out of it, but I am helping get results for the hotel and for the team.”

Although Candlewood Suites in Greenville, SC typically receives hotel reservations via the internet and a call center designated for reservations, front desk associates often times make reservations for returning guests before they check-out during a stay. Travis has experienced frequent guests wanting him to be the one to help them make multiple reservations.

Candlewood Suites General Manager Michael Heater shares his thoughts about Travis using his salesmanship at the front desk. “One thing I have noticed about Travis is the sales. I have worked in a lot of different hotels. When we set rates, those rates can fluctuate daily. We also have different room types with different rates. A lot of reps from other hotels will start at the bottom and will be shy about the rates. But Travis will often times start at the top rate. If he has resistance, then he may go down. For instance, we have a king suite that is a premium room, and if we have that available, that is where he starts. I think that is where his sales ability kicks in.”

We asked Travis about his future career plans. He is definitely interested in how sales works within the hospitality industry. He wants to learn as much as possible and explore all opportunities, including management.

Travis Klimek is a great asset for Candlewood Suites and the IHG brand. We definitely need more professional hotel representatives like him in our industry.

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