I can still vividly remember when fell in love with the hospitality industry, even though at the time I had no idea it would be how I would wind up spending my career.
When I was seven years old, my family visited Boston to see my grandparents, and we also got to visit my Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob was and is an absolutely amazing uncle. At the time, this was because he did things such as head stands when he would come and visit us. He also would have phenomenal stories and was all around just wonderful to be around.
This trip to Boston had great visits with grandparents, cousins and sorts of family. There were a large number of highlights. However, the topper was visiting Uncle Bob at the Long Wharf Marriott, where he was the GM. Up to this point, the only hotels we had stayed in were Holiday Inns, or similar hotels on hockey trips. Just to be clear, I was and still am a big fan of the Holiday Inn brand. This was the era of the Holidome, and when the hotel had pool, it was pretty much the coolest thing ever.
I had never seen anything like the Long Wharf Marriott, the hotel was like nothing I had ever seen. We also got the benefit of truly seeing the hotel and how it worked with Uncle Bob showing us the ropes. I still remember being blown away by the Presidential Suite (we did not stay in it, but even the visit of the palatial room was really something for seven year old me).
Three years later, Uncle Bob showed up to our house in Indiana. He had just started a very small software company and I still remember him showing us a demonstration of this product called Delphi which he said was going to change hospitality. He showed us the DOS based product on what could most certainly not be called a laptop computer, but could maybe be called a portable computer. It was 1985 and it was essentially the size of a very large steamer trunk, and had a very small screen on it.
What really shined through was the passion that Bob had, and how convinced he was that this was going to transform hospitality. He may have also told my dad that this idea was going to make him a million dollars. At that time, this was not an amount of money that seemed even close to conceivable to be earned. Especially in an industry that really did not even exist, because hotels and other businesses did not use computers, so there were not people out selling solutions and building companies in the space.
A few years later, and after my first year at Indiana University my dad suggested I call Uncle Bob and see if I could do an internship similar to the one my brother Lee had done with Uncle Bob. As soon as I arrived, I was given a crash course on hospitality. Uncle Bob ensured that I truly understood the challenges that were facing hoteliers, and how Delphi helped to solve these challenges. He had all of the manual reports that hotels had to create, a large function diary (by Hodges and Irvine) and a GRC (Group Rooms Control) that was also on paper. Bob would have me create all of the events in the function diary, fill out the GRC, and then compile all of the necessary reports.
He would then bring me over, and let me know, that I needed to move the groups because of a large convention or meeting. I would need to manually update the diary, GRC and all of the reports. He made sure that I fully knew and understood every step in the process. It was the understanding of the challenges our customers were facing, them helped me fully understand and eventually articulate how the product helped the customer to solve these challenges.
This is something that has stayed with me for my entire career and it is also the same way that I approached my most recent opportunity search. I was fortunate enough to have a large number of options and companies that could potentially have been a very good fit.
When I would review various options with my family and my trusted advisors, I kept coming back to what really felt right and where I could have the greatest impact on the industry I love.
I have known Jaime Job and Mike Kennie for decades, and have enormous respect for both of them. The more I learned about the Amaze Insights tool, and how they built it, my respect for them only grew. They had approached the challenges in the group sales and catering reporting space in the exact same way my Uncle Bob had many years ago. They took the time to truly and fully understand the challenges facing customers and they built a platform that allows customers to solve these challenges.
I also realized they were not only the exact type of people I wanted to work with, they are the exact people I wanted to work with. As we spent more time together during the diligence phase, we also realized that we had skills that fit almost perfectly together and complemented each other well. The more people we shared the solution with, the more we realized how much value it would drive for our customers, and the more excited we all got.
As I was telling my friends and family about this new tool. I realized who I was starting to sound like. I had found something that sparked fully in me, exactly what I saw in my Uncle Bob when he was talking about Delphi in the earliest days. I did not think I could be more excited about this, however, as soon as I had this realization…..I realized that is exactly what I was….even more excited.
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