It was—it’s safe to say—a sticky situation.
As a staff member of a professional sports team in town to face off against a local opponent, the guest’s luggage, along with the rest of the team’s, had been shipped to Denver for their next matchup. But this particular team member wasn’t continuing on the road. She was due to be the Maid-of-Honor in her friend’s wedding the following afternoon. And now her bridesmaid dress was hundreds of miles away.
When questions around the baggage first arose, one member of The Grand America’s Guest Service team remembered, distinctly, the bag in question. This was Preston Saint Pierre.
Preston loves his job because he loves connecting with people. He pays attention to the little things, putting a personal touch on every guest interaction. It’s why he knew, confidently, which bag had gone missing. It’s also why he felt determined to get it back.
The Art of “Unreasonable Hospitality”
A relative newcomer to the city, Preston enjoys being a Salt Laker, in part, because it reminds him of his hometown, Tucson, Arizona. He appreciates the “big-small” city, and the community that this size can provide. Having worked in different bars and restaurants throughout his career, he already understood, before joining the team at The Grand America, what he’s passionate about. Mainly: service and connection. Put simply, Preston loves making every day an excellent day.
It’s why his work as a Guest Services Manager suits him. No single day for him is typical. Sometimes, he’s greeting you at the door with the bell team. Some days he’s guiding you through the city via the concierge desk. Other times, he’s parking your car with the valet team. No matter what, though, he strives to spend most of his time with guests, always aiming to deliver “unreasonable hospitality” with every interaction. In his own words, it’s never about just getting people in and out the door; it’s about leaving them with more than they came with. More joy. More than any average experience.
The Great Bag Delivery
Because—at the end of the day—it’s about the people, it’s not surprising that Preston was most concerned with how the guest was feeling. While they were trying their best to retrieve the bag, it wasn’t looking like it would be possible to get it back in time for the imminent wedding ceremony.
Preston saw it through the guest’s eyes, and thought a lot about how disappointing this would be for her, and for her friend. And though, he admits, he probably shouldn’t have, he decided to make her a promise: he would get that bag back in time.
He began to look at flight schedules. Then a plan took shape. Once he figured it could work, he pitched it to his supervisor. If he took a 4 AM flight to Denver, drove downtown, retrieved the bag, and flew back to Salt Lake City by the early afternoon, he could deliver the dress just in the nick of time. It was kind of crazy. But when the goal is “unreasonable” hospitality, it wasn’t out of bounds.
Even through the chaos, Preston remained calm and confident. This, after all, was an adventure. Full of adrenaline, he left the Denver airport and made his way to the hotel where the team was now staying. (Making note, true to form, that he “made a great connection with his Uber driver.”) Before entering the lobby, Preston paused to put on his suit jacket—showing up, as always, in Grand fashion.
Bag secured, he rushed back to the airport, flew back to Salt Lake, jumped in a rental car and drove through the canyon up to a Park City resort to hand deliver the guest’s bag, just in time.
Everything is Personal
The big moments, big victories, like this, are rewarding. It was really nice, Preston says, to get so many “You rock!” texts from a guest in one day. But the little moments, the daily interactions are equally important to him. Not only with guests, but with his team—and with all the teams who work in all areas across the hotel. As he says, every victory is a team victory. And every relationship built matters. This love of personalization extends to every person he welcomes through The Grand’s golden doors.