Hotel managers try to educate themselves as much as they can about their property’s products and services. They seem to know everything from how many people they can accommodate to what the newest amenity at their hotel is.The test comes when escorting media through the property.

I had the opportunity to lead a luxury press trip through the Florida Keys. We had a couple of site visits, which the journalists seemed to enjoy. At the first resort we were greeted by Thomas, the guest services manager. He began to walk us through his property telling us all about the history and the architecture. As he walked us into the rooms, he informed the journalists of all the amenities, rates, special offers, activities, services and facts about the place.

As the group was walking back through the lush gardens, one of the journalists asked, “What kind of tree is that?” Poor Thomas knew every other answer except that one. The only one he had not studied! He quickly said, “Let me make a call and let you know.” He reached for his cell phone, pretending to call someone who would know and seemed to ignore the question, which didn’t matter because the group had moved on to more interesting things.

At the next property it was Tiffany’s turn to answer the media’s questions. While in one room she described everything from the kind of kitchen counters and appliances to the latest addition of a flat plasma TV. One of the journalists, who was standing next to the dinning table looking at a work of art on the wall, asked “What is the name of the artist who painted that?”

Tiffany was perplexed! She had been asked the only thing that had nothing to do with the resort’s latest and greatest amenities.

No matter how much you study or read, you will always have a journalist who asks a completely random question to which you do not know the answer. The true test is in how you handle it.

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