Secret Hotel Pathways - Jenny C. Vanover

Hi! My name is Jenny. I am currently the Front Desk Manager at Oak Tree Lodge in Sevierville, TN. Working at a hotel had never really crossed my mind prior to this job. 
Before working in the hotel industry, I was a Registered Medical Assistant. The thing I enjoyed most was definitely helping people. Even the most minor ailment or injury can be very distressing, both physically and emotionally. I enjoyed being able to end my day knowing that I had made a difficult situation easier for my patients.

I ended up working at a hotel quite by accident. A good friend is the general manager at the hotel where I now work, and I was looking for something temporary while I searched for a nursing job closer to home. Little did I know, a year later I would still be happily working there.

As with my last job, the thing I enjoy most is helping people. Even though a pleasant hotel stay is not as crucial in the grand scheme of things as one's health and well being, it is still about the most important thing going on for your guest at the time. Guests have usually travelled a long way to reach us, what could make a travel experience more pleasant than an accommodating host who make a temporary place feel more like home?

A close second to helping our guests, is the crew that I work with. We really are a team, and sometimes a family. We always work together happily, and are there to pick up the slack if one of us is going through something difficult. I work with a wonderful bunch of women and, oh yes, one man.

I believe that all experience from previous jobs helps when working at a hotel. When doing our best to provide hospitality to each and every guest, a hotel employee has to wear many hats, far more than I would have believed before I experienced it for myself. 

For many years, I worked as an operator at an answering service. This brought me to my hotel career with confidence and courtesy when speaking with guests on the telephone and in person as well. My career in nursing taught me to listen; it's all in the details. Being able to pick up on subtleties is as helpful when dealing with guests as it is with patients. The little things mean a lot, and can make a guests stay more satisfactory, and our jobs much easier.

I've had guests in my lobby see me being chewed out over something minor, (the light bulb in the lamp beside the bed is NOT a three-way bulb! It's SUPPOSED to be a three-way bulb!) and then shake their head as my aggressor walked away and say, "I could never do what you do." That may be true. Working in the hotel industry is NOT for everyone. But those who are patient and understanding, and have a strong team spirit, I would definitely encourage a job in our industry. It's rewarding and fun if you're doing it right. 

Oak Tree Lodge - Sevierville, TN