Whittany Burgess is a hands-on learner. Volunteering to single-handedly plan a family wedding and learning every aspect of the hospitality management Marriott’s Voyage Program are only two of the many learning opportunities she has successfully pursued throughout her five years in hospitality. Working as a server through high school and college, Whittany credits the service industry with inspiring her love of people and hotels with refining her skillset.
“When I first started I was under the impression that I’d be helping out with decor,” says Whittany. “It’s much more about the logistics and bringing in partners who touch different aspects of the event.”
Whittany spends her days working with nearly every department in the hotel. After receiving an event from sales, she works with her team to create an event action plan. On a single day, she may talk to food and beverage to confirm catering details, the front desk to plan event check-in times, and housekeeping to ensure all rooms are ready. For Whittany, the devil is in the details.
“Once I have the information from the sales team I create welcome templates for certain groups,” says Whittany. “It maps everything out in the contract, introduces other members who will help me start task delegation, and lists frequently asked questions.”
The success of the event depends on the strength of the team. Whittany encourages an open-door policy to build trust between colleagues, support new ideas, and address guest challenges efficiently. In her experience, hospitality professionals are always willing to help answer questions any employee, new or tenured, might have.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” says Whittany. “If you’re open to learning, we can teach you.”