Recession to Reward
Ten years ago, you would have met Tracy Boles, part-time manager of a dry cleaner, part-time housekeeper, single mother and Savannah native trying to make ends meet during one of the country’s toughest recessions. Today, Boles has poured herself into hospitality and has earned a lucrative career for her and her family.
It is this vibrant tourism community that brings more jobs and more advancement opportunities for more people than any other industry in Savannah.
For Boles, she started cleaning rooms part-time. The management team liked her attitude and work ethic so much, they offered her a full-time housekeeping spot that paid more money and had more flexible hours than her previous job managing a dry cleaner.
Not long after she went full time, she began earning more responsibilities. From housekeeper to houseman to front desk clerk to front desk supervisor, she kept working hard to advance in her new hospitality career.
“When they first asked me to move into the front desk, I was afraid of computers,” said Boles.
But, all along the way, they trained her and helped her succeed. With that on-the-job, paid training, she also enjoyed pay raises with each new job title.
“Every time I went into another job, I had a pay raise,” said Boles. “I’ve had so many raises; I can’t keep up with them.”
Boles works for the locally-owned and operated hotel company Image Hotels that prides itself on promoting and training from within.
“During the recession, Image Hotels never laid anyone off, and management made sure that everyone had a turkey or gift card to take home for the holidays,” she said through tears.
Even though she’s been offered other jobs, she remains loyal to the company that gave her a chance and saw a general manager inside a part-time housekeeper.
INVESTING IN HER TEAM
The Richard Arnold High School graduate prides herself on taking care of her employees that service a multi-million dollar, very busy hotel near the airport.
“It’s my job to make sure my team is successful,” said Boles. “That means making sure everyone is successful.”
Walking around her hotel, you can see how her entire team loves and respects their leader. And, as someone who is in the business of hospitality and tourism, Boles not only has to treat her employees well, she has to treat the customer well. So, she lives by one philosophy, a happy employee, makes a happy guest.
“If you love your job, love what you do, if you’re happy, you’ll treat others right,” she said.
It seems to work for Boles, she boasts nearly 80 percent occupancy year round. That means that her hotel is busier than the average hotel in the entire Savannah market.
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