A Place to Belong
At just twenty years old, John Paul Delamide found his calling in life. There was no denying it.
He had just arrived in America as a student from Lyceum of the Philippines University. The J-1 Visa, a cultural and educational exchange program, threw him into the exciting and welcoming world of hotels, where he got experience working in housekeeping, serving and administration. The shy, Filipino voice in his head quietly said, “I belong here.”
John Paul’s quiet resolve blossomed into his greatest strength. After completing his degree, he made his official move to the United States and began carving out a career path in marketing. He said it wasn’t long before the hotel industry called him back home.
“Everyone thinks that hospitality is a very small field of business, but it’s actually one of the top businesses in the world,” John Paul said. “It’s pretty much given me the opportunity to build connections, meet new people and to experience what’s beyond my comfort zone.”
Today, John Paul is a front desk supervisor at the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans. Despite being so new to the industry, he quickly moved through the ranks as an administrative assistant, food and beverage employee, front desk agent and guest service agent before landing his current role.
“Since joining the team in 2020, JP has taken on additional responsibilities and worked extra hours to support the hotel’s goals,” Charlotte Grant, human resources for Royal Sonesta, said in an email. “JP is always #1 in upsell revenue, is aligned with the hotel’s vision to not only garner the title of #1 rated hotel in New Orleans but also the coveted Forbes Travel Guide’s Five Star rating.”
John Paul has been happy to put in so much effort at the hotel because it is a place where he can fully be himself. As a gay man, he said hospitality has always been open to him and the people in his community.
To celebrate his first wedding anniversary with his husband, John Paul used the travel discounts he gets from Sonesta to celebrate in Houston. Since they haven’t been able to go on their official Honeymoon yet, John Paul is most excited to use his travel discounts to take his husband to the Philippines or to an affordably luxurious stay in Puerto Rico.
In the future, John Paul hopes to go down more of the tourism route in his career– possibly as a tour guide– where he can use his research skills to learn about cultures in different places. He said he’s inspired to do so by his experience as a cultural dancer back in the Philippines, where he researched various tribes and every detail about their dances.
“I got to experience that with people while performing on the national stage of the Philippines,” John Paul said. “That’s why I’m really in love and really engaged with hospitality, because I’m born to do this.”