Robert P. Richie II, 34, works in Rome, New York, as association sales manager at Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Richie discusses his passion for the events industry.
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What I do: I develop relationships between the Sheraton and associations, and as such, I hope to become more than a business professional to my clients and form long-term friendships. I do my best to give the client what they need while balancing company expectations, priding myself on fighting for what is right on both sides.
How I got here: I spent more than 12 years in the restaurant industry, which developed my hospitality skills. From there I went on to radio sales for two years, which developed my sales skills. After that, I went on to work as the director of sales for the La Quinta in Verona, New York, and was the opening director of sales for the Aloft in Syracuse, New York. I find that those positions were a perfect complement to where I am now.
My greatest career accomplishment: It is the lasting friendships fostered with past clients, managers and co-workers; I am still in touch with many today. That demonstrates my passion for customer service and going the extra mile for my clients.
Impressive stats: When I was with La Quinta, I grew the overall revenue by $1.3 million over two years and raised the ADR by over $17.
A specific improvement I’ve made: I have improved the client experience by initiating more face time to get to know their organizations better.
What I’m working on: For 2017 I am bringing more associations to the Sheraton to show them that customer service is still the No. 1 factor in hospitality. I look forward to getting to know more of the government-funded organizations that need someone willing to spend time figuring out how to work within their budget restrictions.
What I do outside of work: I spend as much time with the family as possible. I love to cook. I enjoy going to restaurants and ordering something new, then trying to make it at home. I am a sports memorabilia collector. I also love to travel.