For over 25 years, David Cronin has managed Hotels & Resorts from Frankfurt to Scottsdale, and worked to push the boundaries to curate one-of-a-kind experiences for his customers. David’s successful management of a broad cross-section of hospitality and F&B operations led to a myriad of prestigious awards including Luxury hotel of the year at both W Minneapolis and W Scottsdale. His powerful and creative attitude along with drive and motivation delivers a superior product/experience to guests at W Scottsdale.
THE CRONIN STORY —
It all started thirty years ago in Bad Honnef Germany as an intern in the Mini Bar department. I immediately fell in love with the hotel business and the 24-7 fast paced environment. It has taken me to many beautiful places and is one regret that I don’t have.
You wake up in the morning – what’s the driving passion?
To do it better than the previous day
Being in such a competitive market as Scottsdale – how do you separate yourself from your competition?
To stand out in a competitive marketplace like Scottsdale, our offerings must be high-energy, diverse and frequent. We offer incredible programming at W Scottsdale, with live music 4 nights a week in the Living Room, plus weekly fuel workout classes with local studios on our pool deck and in our event space. To capture the local crowd as well as guests, we operate a wide array of atmospheric bars with inventive rotating cocktail menus, and deliver the best sushi in Arizona at our Sushi Roku Restaurant.
On the weekends, we set the pulse for the entire entertainment district by hosting world class DJ’s and live entertainers at for our popular pool parties. Our parties are considered the best in the city, and we maintain this status by hiring the best entertainment and finding new ways to keep things fresh and interesting. For example, we celebrated the 4th of July with a “Stars, Stripes and Sax” pool party featuring Natty Rico, a DJ who also plays saxophone. The mix of live music from the sax backed by and electronic beats really got people to their feet and created a high energy atmosphere. It was something else!
Who is your customer?
Our customer is the disruptor who thrives on bending the rules and upending the unexpected. Our guest naturally lights up a room and has an obsessive lust for a life less ordinary. They want to work hard and play even harder.
Just about everyone in the lodging arena touts the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow with your guests?
We call it “Whatever Whenever.” It’s about providing our guest Whatever they want Whenever they want it. As long as it’s legal, we make it happen.
Curious to know — when you are staying at a facility of one type or the other — what’s the first things you notice — both good and bad?
The first thing I notice is service. Is the staff engaging? Are the actions authentic, or do they feel scripted? As someone with a long history in every aspect of hospitality, I also pay close attention to cleanliness of the rooms and the staging of the public spaces.
For those interested in playing golf when in the immediate area — what role does the facility play in assisting that endeavor?
Not every golfer wants the same experience or the same course. We listen carefully to our guests to pick up on cues so we can recommend the correct course for their personality and goals. Do they want a shorter game or something more challenging? Are they looking to blow off some steam or beat their current handicap? We provide suggestions and then book their tee times to ensure a seamless experience. When they return, we make sure their day continues exactly as they want – whether it’s a spa treatment, a refreshing cocktail, or velvet rope access to the best nightlife in town.
How difficult is finding top quality staff given the employment situation here in America?
This is the single largest challenge in the industry. We get over the hurdle at W Scottsdale by being proactive and thinking outside the box – we look beyond resumes to identify people from other industries who have an innate knack for hospitality. This also ensures a diverse workforce and a better exchange of ideas, which translates to a more personal and robust experience for guests.
How much interaction do you have on a daily basis with guests?
On average, I probably interact with guests 3-4 hours a day. But if I had it my way, it would be all day. Taking care of our guests, engaging with them and hearing their stories is my favorite part of what I do.
Is there any difference in terms of needs or servicing for Baby Boomers versus that of Millennials?
Absolutely. Things are changing quickly in response to Millennials and how they travel. They tend to be less forgiving when it comes to service issues and response times. We now live in a world where everything is a keystroke away. Swiftness and Service go hand-in-hand, and it’s up to us to adapt and meet that challenge.
Best advice you ever received – what was it and who from?
Was from Mike Cassidy, Area Managing Director with Starwood Hotels and Resorts – and an amazing boss. He said “It’s not rocket science, you have to have fun and always remember to make family a priority.” As a father, a General Manager and a mentor, those words are with me every day.
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