What’s the best way for a guest to get to know a new city? Online reviews by locals and visitors may offer some clues into favorite restaurants and attractions, or guests may ask at the front desk for a more personalized recommendation. In anticipation of this desire for a local’s perspective, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is inviting guests to sit down and spend a bit more time checking in with a native of the city—the hotel’s General Manager Rob Mallinger.
The property recently launched ‘Beers with the GM’—a program that welcomes guests to share a complimentary local brew with Mallinger each Monday. Beers with the GM, which can be booked through the website with at least 72 hours’ notice, gives guests a chance to ask Mallinger for tips and suggestions during their trip, give feedback on their stay, or simply have a conversation.
While other hotels have implemented ‘Run with the GM’-type programs, Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh’s initiative is made to specifically celebrate and share the Steel City’s love of craft beer. The hotel promotes the program on its website, through social media, and by word of mouth at the front desk. “It’s a great recommendation for guests who are traveling solo, for a group or couple who wants to know more about the city, or business travelers who want to take a break from their screens for some face-to-face conversation and a bit of Pittsburgh culture—with a local beer, too,” he says.
Mallinger says that travel can often be isolating, and this program helps bring back some human connection, which is also a focus of Kimpton’s ‘Stay Human’ initiative to inspire human interaction across its properties. “Sometimes we’re so busy, especially when traveling, that we forget to step away from work and have a real conversation or experience our surroundings. We’re hoping that this program reminds people that they have friends wherever they go, especially in Pittsburgh,” he says.
For his part, Mallinger is looking forward to taking a moment to escape constant emails and meetings to have one-on-one conversations with guests—“which is really why we’re all in this business”—and share what he loves about his hometown. “I grew up in Pittsburgh and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy talking about things to do (or not do), or places to see in the city, as well as the quirky characteristics of the hotel,” he explains. “In general, many guests ask about our birdcage lamps, the hanging garden chandelier, and the portraits on the wall that are half dipped in paint—which were actually made to spark curiosity and conversation.”
“As a local, you see things very differently than a traveler with a fresh perspective,” Mallinger continues. “Maybe we can even take away some feedback and use it to make future stays even more enjoyable.”
Mallinger adds that he hopes the initiative will convey to travelers that the hotel’s staff truly want to get to know them and help make their experience in Pittsburgh the best it can be. “By forming a relationship with our guests, we can become a trusted friend instead of just a place to lay one’s head after a long day.”