Dominic Lewis has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 15 years, holding various management positions at big hotel brands like Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson. Now, he serves as the general manager of the Navy Lodge Mayport, Fla. LODGING spoke to Lewis about what it is like to run a military hotel. Here’s what he had to say.
How did you first get involved with Navy Lodge?
I started with the Navy Lodge Program in 2004 as a front desk clerk at Navy Lodge Hawaii. After working in several supervisory roles at the Navy Lodge Hawaii, I successfully completed the Navy Lodge Program Manager Trainee Program and was assigned as the general manager at Navy Lodge Everett, Wash., and now as general manager, Navy Lodge Mayport, Fla.
Do your employees receive any special training?
Our PREMIER Guest Service training program is the first step to ensure our guests receive great service while staying at the Navy Lodge. As a leader, we set the example and the tempo around how our associates treat our guests as well as how to implement and expect PREMIER Guest Service to every guest, every time.
Training continues throughout an associate’s career with the Navy Lodge Program. Each month, we do quick-thinking training on improving guest service. We encourage all of our associates to pursue industry training via the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for various certification programs.
How do you recruit employees?
It starts with hiring the right people. We recruit people who like people. More than that, we hire associates who are engaged and care about the Navy Lodge mission, which is taking care of our military service members and their families. Like every other hotel in the industry, recruiting good people is tough in today’s labor market. Since the Navy Lodge is on a Navy installation, security is tight. All of our associates must pass a background check and live by the U.S. Navy creed.
What do you like most about the hospitality industry?
I like everything about the hospitality industry. It provides me with a variety of opportunities to test and find out what I am good at and passionate about—including customer care, food production, food service, sales and marketing, housekeeping, IT, accounting, etc., all wrapped up in one hotel—and it’s awesome. The best part is I get to meet and interact with our service members and their families; I enjoy making them happy.
Working for the Navy Lodge Program adds another element to my job; this is serving the men and women of our U.S. Navy. It is an honor to work with them each and every day to make their lives better and easier as they protect our country.