Hilton General Manager writes emotional letter to his staff
Guest contribution from Marc Snijders, GM at Hilton Frankfurt City Centre
Marc Snijders, General Manager at Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, has put one of his key priorities on remaining close with his team by using various communication formats. One of them can be found in his weekly letters. He has kindly shared his first letter addressed to his team, which was originally sent on April 5th. The text has been shortened in places, but we did not want to withhold the letter’s key and emotional messages from you.
With all my heart, I hope that this message finds you healthy and safe during these testing times.
As I am coming to terms with the events of the past weeks, I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you.
When I go back in time a few weeks, how different our life was, and how different life in the hotel was: We hosted a large conference, 350 guests, every room of the hotel occupied, live music in the lobby and the sound of laughter, the sound of dishes and cutlery clattering, the sounds of coffee brewing and wine bottle corks popping: The sounds of hospitality. How easily we get used to these sounds, and how we don’t really hear them, until we stop hearing them … until they all of the sudden disappear.
Within a few weeks, nothing seems to be as it was. We feel uneasy, we feel uncertain, we feel vulnerable. When will this end? Is this just the beginning? How will our future look like? Questions that occupy us, questions that until a few weeks ago, we never thought we would ever ask.
We are in hospitality, and what we do is caring for people, for others, for each other. And even if it feels as if we are powerless, even if it feels as if we are not able to do what we are so passionate about – filling the earth with the light & warmth of hospitality – I can say with full confidence:
We are able to bring light & warmth, and we are displaying just that, more than ever. Dear Team, we are not powerless! We have a stake in each other, and we are deeply connected to each other. I have experienced the power of compassion, the power of togetherness, and the power of humanity.
Our guests, as few as we might have at the moment, have experienced just that. This is what they say about you:
“The staff made the stay extremely enjoyable, despite the restrictions on the activities we had planned, due to cancellations and closures in response to the Covid-19 restrictions applied that weekend in Germany.”
“Despite the current situation, the hotel does an amazing job and tried to fulfill all wishes as best as possible. The staff was super friendly across the hotel! For that alone a 10+. If you consider that in times of crisis, employees continue to be of such support to others, you can only say: Thank you very much :)”
In the past weeks, I have received truly heartwarming and inspiring messages from guests, clients and partners from around the world: messages of encouragement to you, messages of respect, love and hope. Over the next weeks, I will be sharing these messages with you.
These are indeed dark times. What is happening has not just disrupted our business in a way, we have never seen before, it has disrupted our lives and our sense of security. We are concerned about our health, about the well-being of those we love, and about our friends and colleagues.
In 1964, Conrad Hilton spoke at the American Hotel Association convention in New York City, how once upon a time darkness and cold filled the world.
This is what he said:
“Do you remember, ladies & gentlemen, the old Greek fable of how fire first came to the earth. Once upon a time, darkness and cold filled the world.
Then Prometheus decided to steal fire from the gods and bring it to the earth.
Lines of men, women and children waited, stretched from the highest mountain top to the end of the earth, ready to receive the flames and pass it on.
Suddenly came a flash of lightning and the first torch of the nearest man was on fire. Quickly the flame was passed.
From one flame came ten, from a hundred came a thousand. From city to city, from country to country, until light & warmth filled the earth.
Ladies & gentlemen, as hotel men and women, it has been, and continues to be our responsibility to fill the earth with the light & warmth of hospitality.
This is our story.”
This is our story, and it will continue to be our story.
Also in these difficult times, we can continue to make a difference, at home in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our communities and in our work place, Hilton Frankfurt City Centre. Determination, confidence, team spirit and integrity, these traits have brought us so far, and these will be the traits, which will bring us even further than we can imagine today, they will strengthen us and they will shape our future.
There will be calm after the storm, our kind of calm; the sounds of hospitality will return. Unfamiliar will become familiar again. Our beloved guests will travel again, and we will wholeheartedly welcome them, with the light & warmth of hospitality.
Dear Team, please continue to look after yourselves and your loved ones. I will continue to look after you!
Stay Safe. With love & gratitude,