By Rick Vacek
GCU Information Bureau
Bekah Ritterling is passionate about individuals. She enjoys to interact with them and, in particular, to serve them. It’s a trait that will provide her perfectly in the hospitality industry.
In point, it by now has.
Through a new partnership, Ritterling was one particular of 5 Grand Canyon University students who interned this summer time with Drury Lodges, rated Maximum in Guest Satisfaction among the Upper Midscale Hotel Chains for 16 a long time in a row by J.D. Electricity.
It is a match produced in hospitality heaven simply because of the form of service the family members-owned organization aims to provide and the variety of pupils the Colangelo School of Enterprise (CCOB) aims to produce.
Learners like Ritterling, who labored at the Drury Inn in the vicinity of the Kansas Town, Missouri, airport. One working day when she was operating the entrance desk, she checked in a pair and then, as portion of her frequent responsibilities, continued to make them come to feel at home when she saw them on the home.
The outcome was this e-mail from the delighted guest:
“What an superb consultant of both equally your university and the Drury Inn firm. We have been so impressed with not only her persona but also her professional demeanor. I am in the business enterprise of corporate aviation, and customer provider is every little thing. If these are the variety of pupils your school is graduating, their futures are incredibly vibrant. Very nicely accomplished!”
“I don’t forget them so plainly. I would just go up to them, as I would with a whole lot of other friends, and see how their working day was going and get to know a little little bit extra about them. They went into much more conversations about their profession. I try to remember sensation so encouraged by them. They have been brilliant.”
It flawlessly frames why Ritterling, scheduled to observe in her two brothers’ footsteps from their residence in Pueblo, Colorado, and graduate from GCU in December 2022, switched to a hospitality management significant right after pondering for the duration of substantial college that she would go into marketing and advertising. It is all about the persons.
“I believe it’s wonderful that God developed us all so uniquely and in different ways,” she stated. “I’ve developed to appreciate assisting develop memorable and pleasurable, optimistic experiences for men and women. That’s variety of what I wake up considering. Right before going in to function, I’d be like, ‘God, use me in regardless of what way you see healthy. How can I generate an fulfilling working experience that people today are going to remember 10 many years from now?’
“When they glimpse back, I want them to say, ‘I want to continue to be at the Drury Accommodations since they built me really feel specific and they made me truly feel beloved there even although they observed a good deal of visitors on a every day foundation.’”
But to receive the Drury chance, Ritterling very first experienced to get to know Dr. Jennifer Elfenbein, CCOB’s Chair for Hospitality Administration. Soon after just a single course with Elfenbein as her instructor, Ritterling was all in on Drury.
“She taught us so considerably much more, not only about the functions, but about the heart of hospitality, which actually received me passionate about likely to operate with Drury,” Ritterling explained.
So she went to Elfenbein’s business for the duration of her freshman year to talk about her aims. Elfenbein’s response: “Knowing you, knowing your talent set and figuring out how much you are relationally concentrated, Drury Hotels would be the very best match for you.”
And Elfenbein wasn’t shocked when Ritterling received these kinds of a stunningly good evaluate from a visitor.
“She is so authentic. She’s just so joyful. That is her,” Elfenbein explained. “She does not put on an act. From time to time we have to put on a experience when we’re in hospitality, primarily when we get hard clients and guests. But she is absolutely constructive all the time.”
The Drury partnership grew out of the connection among Dr. Randy Gibb, the CCOB dean, and Kevin Whitfield, President at Drury Southwest, when they were being neighbors in San Antonio, Texas. They continue to talk consistently, usually in textual content messages sharing their passion for sporting activities – for Whitfield, that indicates San Antonio Spurs basketball.
“Randy and I go back again a prolonged way,” Whitfield mentioned. “If he receives guiding a thing, he’s all in. Partnering with GCU has been a purely natural changeover for us. We’re excited about it, and we imagine it will lead to really superior factors in the upcoming.”
Mentioned Gibb, “The partnership with Drury is the best illustration of who we are and the sort of firms we collaborate with for our college students. Jennifer’s mentoring and teaching is genuinely a Lopes First strategy – encouraging our students locate good results. And Kevin is the great servant leader that our ‘ColangeLopes’ are blessed to be discovering from by using their hotel tradition and hospitality. Love this … thrilled to do additional and develop this GCU-Drury partnership!”
Elfenbein’s emotions about the partnership are just as potent.
“I genuinely like the enterprise,” she mentioned. “It is a household-owned enterprise, which is so unusual. I converse to my college students about how a lot of various brands there are out there. You may possibly be operating for a resort with a management organization, an possession business, a franchise corporation – it is just very convoluted, exactly where this is vertically built-in.”
Yet another rationale why it operates: Drury is a lot like GCU.
“Much like GCU is ground breaking as significantly as their education resources and offerings and how they solution education and learning, we are remarkably modern in our approach to hospitality,” Whitfield explained. “We’re in all probability 1 of the most atypical hospitality companies that you’ll run into. Currently being a family-owned company, our roots begun out in construction and gravitated into hospitality. But we have preserved toes in equally pools all these many years.
“We make our have homes. We layout them. We have our very own construction groups. We even manufacture the cased products that go in the rooms. We have designed over the decades a entire world-course hospitality group, and they do a excellent position of doing the job with our customers and using treatment of them.”
Like Ritterling, the other GCU students treasured their time with Drury this summertime.
Olivia Harris, who labored at the Drury property in Chandler, observed her studies in the hospitality application appear to existence.
“It surely was a big enable in understanding the distinctive profits facets of a lodge,” she said. “When my GM would demonstrate unique issues to me, I had a very good plan what she was chatting about mainly because of the courses I experienced taken.
“It also assisted with doing distinctive team jobs and functioning with a crew. It aided me put together for different jobs that I’ve experienced and just becoming adaptable. Jennifer showed me a lot about how to offer with various situations.”
Amara Trudzinski also was able to implement what she figured out in class when the general manager and assistant standard supervisor would consider her on home walks and clearly show her income experiences at the Drury Inn in Fenton, Missouri, not considerably from her household in yet another St. Louis suburb, Arnold.
But even far more eye-opening was the over-all really feel of the company.
“Everyone explained to me, ‘It’s a household-owned enterprise, it is close-knit and you come to feel like section of a spouse and children,’” she mentioned. “Now that I’m working there, it is like, ‘Wow, I comprehend what all people meant for the reason that I imagine that’s really true – all people I have worked with has been so kind. You can explain to that they actually care about the shopper practical experience.”
Ritterling will be occupied on campus this slide as Assistant Director of the Commuter Events group and Vice President of the Hospitality Club.
But she’ll be just as active off campus – she was supplied a position at the Drury Inn in Joyful Valley. That usually means additional options to chat with visitors and make them come to feel welcome.
“My number one target in everyday living is to, very first and foremost, serve the Lord and, quantity two, provide the persons all over me,” she said. “I imagine hospitality is the perfect mix to be capable to do that as a occupation.”
The enthusiasm goes equally techniques. It can make men and women passionate in their praise – and passionate about coming back again, way too.
Speak to Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].
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