Keith Butz is by his own admission intense and a perfectionist, and he doesn’t mind either label. “If you’re paying attention to details, you’ll make things perfect,” he says. “And that requires an intense level of effort from everyone on the team.”  

The GM of the 355-room Hyatt Regency Calgary is also intensely loyal to the Hyatt brand, having been with the chain for more than 20 years. He met his wife Amanda when they both worked at the Hyatt New Orleans and he’s been at the Calgary Hyatt Regency since August of last year. “It’s my seventh Hyatt property in 15 years,” says the Indiana native. “Every hotel is unique. The company considers it important to maintain a strong brand image while capturing the [spirit of] local surroundings and culture.”  

While working in San Francisco, the 37-year-old says he heard great things about Canada’s oil-rich city. “There are only four Hyatts in Canada, so this property has always been considered a hidden gem. Our proximity to the mountains and the can-do lifestyle and overwhelming philanthropic efforts of Calgarians make the hotel a centre of activity for the city’s largest social events, and a hub for travelling professionals.”   

Overseeing a staff of 450, three restaurants and a spa, keeps Butz energized, but working in a boom-town like Calgary carries its own unique challenges. “Labour is at a higher demand here than anywhere else in the country, but it’s no different than the dot-com boom we experienced in San Francisco a few years ago,” Butz says. “The talent and ambition is out there — it’s a matter of working closely with the HR department and local groups to attract the right individuals for the right positions. The key is communication and retention, which I believe Hyatt succeeds in with our excellent benefits package for associates.”

Labour shortages aside, Butz focuses on creating brand awareness. “Potential guests have a lot of options, so it’s important to accurately communicate the differences between your brand and your competitors, [including] what they can expect when staying at a hotel in your chain.”

Consistency is key with regard to amenities and service — two areas that often make or break a hotel stay for guests — and Butz says Hyatt welcomes any feedback. Yatt’ was created by the company for users to post their own reviews of its properties and services in real-time. “But you have to properly monitor the comments and respond where necessary because they directly affect the public perception of your brand,” he says. “We’re working on it, both at a property level and as a company.”

The hotel is also working hard at being more socially responsible by offering guests green-friendly alternatives without compromising the level of service. Recently, it committed to using 100 per cent post-consumer-waste recycled paper for all of its print collateral and hotel stationery. “We’re following that up with another major initiative — signing on with Bullfrog Power, a leading Canadian provider of 100-per-cent-green electricity.”

And in November, the hotel is planning a $6-million room renovation, followed by renovations of the restaurants in 2009, common spaces in 2010 and meeting rooms in 2011. “It all goes back to service and brand expectations,” says Butz. “Our philosophy has always centred on the importance of people and this translates into providing authentic hospitality — from who we hire, how we train them and most of all, how we support them in their day-to-day efforts to ensure an amazing guest experience.” 


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