WEDDINC: Can you give us a little bio on yourself? A little birdie told us that you were formerly in the luxury yacht industry.
ROB ROCHE: I have been fortunate to have a long history in the Luxury travel / hospitality industries. Most recently with SeaDream Yacht Club – which is a private yachting company operating two twin mega yachts in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Prior to that I was with – Rosewood Hotels, Four Seasons and RockResorts.
WEDDINC: How would you compare luxury yachts to luxury hotels?
ROB ROCHE: They are very similar – guests traveling the high end hotel level as well as those traveling on a private yacht are both looking for the same thing – 1) a luxury travel experience 2) Creating Memories 3) Have an amazing experience.
WEDDINC: The Peninsula BH, according to Travel and Leisure magazine was once again awarded a Five Star and Five Diamond Hotel for 2015. What did you and your department do to help achieve these prestigious awards?
ROB ROCHE: It’s all about the staff.
“The staff continues to provide an unbelievable experience for the guest. The service is unmatched in the industry which creates a very high return guest ratio”.
It’s definitely a group effort.
WEDDINC: What is it like for you and your team during the Awards season, that is the Academy Awards, The Grammy’s or the Golden Globe awards?
ROB ROCHE: It’s crazy, it’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s fun, It’s amazing
WEDDINC: What is one unique feature about the Peninsula that really sets them apart from other 5 Star Hotels. Is it the Pages?
ROB ROCHE: Yes – the Pages, it’s the monogrammed pillow cases and it’s “Peninsula Time” (flexible Chick in and Flexible Check out and our service and airport concierge service).
WEDDINC: Tell us a little bit more about the Pages, how was the concept borne and what are the requirements to become a Page?
ROB ROCHE: Well, all five star hotels have bellmen and doormen but The Peninsula is the only luxury hotel to employ Pages on top of that. We have 2 Pages on staff every day over and above the jobs of the doormen and bellmen. The presence of the pages allow the doormen and bellmen to be more efficient at what they do. For instance if a guest needs a hand-written memo delivered to another guest at the hotel, the pages will step in. If a guest needs a dog walked or packages picked up at Neiman Marcus, the pages step in. Overall, all employees are trained to step in and be there for our guests before they ever ask for help.
WEDDINC: We heard that the management team at The Peninsula does a “Day in the Life’ of the staff at the hotel. That’s a brilliant idea!
Yes it was a brilliant idea Whose idea was it? Our Managing Directors – Mr. Offer Nissenbaum How does it go? Each executive committee Member selects a position and changes into the uniform for the department / position and does the job for the day. What position did you work? Housekeeping What are your thoughts on this concept? We should do it more often
ROB ROCHE: The experience of following a member of our housekeeping staff gave me a great appreciation of how hard they work each day. When I asked Wendy, one of our long time housekeeping employees how many steps she takes in any given day, her answer astounded me. She said she walks anywhere from 15k to 20k steps per day. “It makes me tired thinking about it let alone doing it”. She also explained to me that in addition to all her chores and rooms she is assigned to in any day, she is also assigned a section of the hotel so that if a guest is in need in her section, she can answer her walkie-talkie and bring an extra ash tray or extra towels and then get right back to her other duties. This just shows how finely tuned our staff are at being efficient at meeting guests needs just as soon as the request is made.
WEDDINC: What is your proudest moment at The Peninsula?
ROB ROCHE: The release of our Peninsula Red Carpet Video. We produced this video to show guests how the hotel prepares for awards such as the Academy Awards whether it’s having extra kitchen staff to prepare favorite smoothies or the fact that we employ several extra seamstresses to be sure that each inductee is fully ready to walk the red carpet with confidence or that fact that each celebrity has his or her limo all lined up around the block so that when they are ready to leave the hotel, their limo is called and the process is seamless for them to walk from the hotel right into their limo.
WEDDINC: What do you, your staff and The Peninsula have upcoming in 2016?
ROB ROCHE: The reopening of our Main dining room – The Belvedere. Our 25th anniversary and the launch of our Silver Suite to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.
WEDDINC: What is your favorite “nook” at the hotel and why is it your favorite?
ROB ROCHE: Humm, I have several but I’d have to say the back end of the rooftop pool deck near the jacuzzi with the view of Century City and Downtown LA at night. It’s quite spectacular.
WEDDINC: We know that a guest can sign up for a famous “Peninsula Moment”, what would you say is YOUR favorite moment you’ve experienced at the Peninsula so far?
ROB ROCHE: I’d have to say it was a moment I experienced just last week during a photoshoot for our 25th Anniversary for our Peninsula Magazine when we interviewed one of our employees who has been with us for 25 years, since the hotel opened. Out of all our staff, we actually have 9 who have been with the hotel since we opened 25 years ago. This particular scene was while the photographer was shooting an image of Alfredo, one of our 25 year veterans all dressed up in a tuxedo. The photographer was outside while shooting Alfredo decked out in his tuxedo inside the hotel with his hand on the door. It was such a beautiful and emotional moment. I’m not sure who was more proud Alfredo or myself!