Almost two decades ago, Michael George founded Crescent Hotels after working in the hospitality industry throughout the majority of his career. At forty years old, he saw opportunity to rise from the atrophy of the hospitality and travel industries in 2001 and embarked on his new venture, never looking back. Naturally, Caroline George, one of Michael’s five children, grew up in the industry to which her father introduced her.
At age six, she helped in a hotel her father ran as general manager, polishing restaurant table legs and rolling silverware. Now, however, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in international business from James Madison University and attending Marquette University’s law school, George’s credentials far exceed the duties from her youth. Instead, she currently stands as Crescent Hotel’s general counsel—a position that combines her love for the hospitality industry with her passion for law.
“What encouraged me to follow in my father’s footsteps was really his passion for the industry,” she says. “It’s really inspiring for not just me, but for our entire company. He’s an excellent boss, who is quick to recognize effort, and shows all of our staff members his appreciation when he’s on property.”
Throughout her life, George has watched the industry modernize to enhance guest experiences. At Crescent, she says the greatest changes have been technological. “Our core pillars are exactly the same as they were when we began,” she says. “Crescent is still a people business and a shelter, but while the shelter itself has been impacted by design and technology elements, the people haven’t changed.”
At the core of Crescent’s mission is its commitment to its guests. Naturally, guest satisfaction starts with a groundwork of exceptional employees.
As George navigates her legal department, as a team of one, she says she constantly keeps these pillars in mind even though they are hospitality-focused, not legal-focused. Because the same values that reinforce problem-solving shine throughout the institution, George works interdepartmentally to ensure that her legal strategy aligns with every other operation to create impeccable customer experiences.
At Crescent, legal, human resources, and operations all work in tandem to ensure that the company functions with the utmost excellence with regard to internal and external staffing. “Our teams work extensively to make sure that we’re working with reputable companies that have extensive track records in the hospitality space and that we feel comfortable teaming up with,” she says. “In doing so, we’ve been able to uphold our standard of superior service.”
With the help of her team members, George invites rapidly changing technological solutions to stay updated on pressing issues that the company may face. George says that taking advantage of these big data solutions allows Crescent to stay ahead of any challenges or trends. In her role, George stays on top of market trends by looking at how geographical changes affect Crescent’s brand locally. Using an interactive map of the United States, for example, George is able to discover information about different restrictions respective to cities in each state and adjust her tactics accordingly.
“Our goal is to be proactive,” she explains. “Our industry is always changing and moving forward, so it’s incredibly important to act progressive. Staying up-to-date with these solutions allows us to constantly stay informed so we can move away from the reactionary phase and issue-spot proactively.”
“We’re constantly striving to make our guests happy and comfortable in the hotels that we operate.”
Crescent’s big data solutions have allowed the company to advance at the same capacity as they have allowed its worldwide branches to work together by sharing tactics and experiences. By using weekly guest satisfaction surveys, Crescent compiles the feedback and shares it globally to see how other hotels and resorts create the ideal environment. The branches then use this feedback to enhance customer experiences. “We’re constantly striving to make our guests happy and comfortable in the hotels that we operate,” she says.
Over the past eighteen years, Crescent has increased its portfolio from five to one hundred, yet maintains its original grassroots mentality. As the company grows, George hopes to further drive this all-inclusive communication plan to keep up with its successes.
“We have a stronger core than we ever have at the corporate company level,” she illustrates. “We run our company sophisticatedly, but we still have the grassroots mentality that allows us to believe strongly in each other’s ability to be self-sufficient. It’s our hope that we use this strength to provide our guests and employees a positive experience.”
Bongiovi Law Firm sends a big shout-out to Caroline George—as a Vegas Born firm, we so admire your passion and commitment to the hospitality industry. It’s always a pleasure working with you and your team (and being entrusted to take some work off your plate).