In her own words: Linda Barnett of Hampton Inn
June 2, 2014
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your property and the duties of your position.
Linda Barnett: The Hampton Inn & Suites is an 85-room limited-service hotel with a fitness center, business center, meeting room and indoor pool. The Hampton Inn & Suites is TripAdvisor's No. 1 ranked hotel in Carson City. I work with the general manager to ensure that we have a smooth operation and also function as the comptroller. The Hampton Inn brand was founded on a 100 percent guarantee. If a guest is not satisfied with their stay they don't pay, so we have to be perfect. You might see me helping out with our complimentary breakfast on a sold-out weekend, making sales calls with our director of sales or at Costco picking up supplies. At a small hotel you do everything. I also handle the social media/advertising for the hotel with our Hampton Inn & Suites site and our mascot Hank the Tank's Facebook page.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Barnett: When I was 18 I stayed at the newly built Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. It was my first time staying in a large hotel. I was fascinated by the hustle and bustle and the fact that the sheets were ironed and someone else made the bed — every day! I read the book "Be My Guest" by Conrad Hilton and decided that I wanted to work in a hotel. My first job in hospitality, however, was working for American Express in Darmstadt, Germany, making airline and hotel reservations. The TV series "Hotel" with James Brolin and Connie Sellecca was a favorite of mine and I thought living in the penthouse and ordering room service any time was what you would get to do if you were the general manager. Brolin seemed to spend a lot of time sailing around the bay in the hotel owner's boat or playing golf with guests. How bad could that be?
NNBW: What's the most important thing you have learned in your career?
Barnett: That you have to be flexible. If something doesn't work, try something different. Every day is a new day. No matter how bad things might be one day, you have to come in smiling and start over.
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NNBW: How did the recession change the way you do business?
Barnett: There is no margin for error. We are running much leaner in staffing and management has to step in to fill the gaps.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Barnett: Gift wrapper at a toy store when I was 13. I love the holidays so I can wrap presents.
NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren't you working it?
Barnett: If I had it to do all over again, I would have applied to work at the CIA. I am like a dog with a bone trying to get to the bottom of things. This is also a good trait for a sales person trying to find leads for business. You have to dig. I'm not working at my dream job because at my age they most likely wouldn't hire me.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Barnett: Start at the bottom of the ladder. Be willing to work in every department so that you have a full understanding of how hard each person works. Start in housekeeping and work side by side with the people cleaning rooms. Work in maintenance to see how electrical and mechanical issues are resolved. Work at the front desk Take a CPO course (Certified Pool Operator)! Every day is a different challenge and that is what is fun about the job. No two days are alike. One day you will be working with an interior designer to renovate a hotel and the next day dealing with why the spa is leaking 60 gallons of water.
NNBW:What's the most fun you have had on the job?
Barnett: Currently I am teaching the Guest Service Gold class at Western Nevada College. I am enjoying teaching and seeing what the next generation will bring to our profession.
NNBW: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Barnett: Have good girl friends.
NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work?
Barnett: Keeping in touch with friends.
NNBW: What has been your biggest professional disappointment? How about your best professional accomplishment?
Barnett: My disappointment is the downfall of civility in our country. The way people treat those working in the service industry. My best accomplishment is that many of the people I've mentored have become general managers themselves and are still working in the industry.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Barnett: I was going to be a pediatrician. I had a scholarship to Wheaton and my own pediatrician said I could be a doctor just like him. In those days doctors came to your house when you were sick and gave you lollipops.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Barnett: I don't think I would retire. Although, if I win the lottery I will be cruising around the world and the cell phone will go overboard immediately.
NNBW: What's the last concert or sporting event you attended?
Barnett: I recently went to a San Francisco Giants game.
NNBW: Where's your perfect vacation spot?
Barnett: The Oaks in Ojai. It is a wonderful spa in a truly majestic place.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Barnett: I didn't choose Nevada, it chose me. I came here for the job. What I like most is the weather and the opportunity for outdoor activities. I like the seasons and that there is little to no humidity.