Barry Pollard is a hospitality lifer who started his career as an underage busboy and now oversees more than 60 properties as Kimpton’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations. What does that entail, exactly? Well, basically it means everything you experience in one of our hotels is his responsibility. Whoa, big job. But he’s a 12-year Kimpton veteran who’s been instrumental in our growth and has a wealth of knowledge and experience on which to draw. And since he loves Italian shoes and the movie Up, you know he has both style and heart, too.
Q: Describe your job in five words or less.
A: Awesome, challenging, exciting, intense, collaborative.
Q: How long have you worked in hospitality?
A: I’ve worked in hospitality my entire life. I started in a snack bar bussing tables before I was legally able to work and they paid me a few dollars on the side. My last restaurant stint was as a room-service waiter in a hotel while going to college. A job as a bellman opened, I asked for it and got it. That’s where my career in hotels started.
Q: Do you remember the first time you spent the night in a hotel or motel? How old were you and where was it?
A: Our family vacations were usually spent in a cottage on Cape Cod or the Rhode Island shore and there were so many kids it was usually sleeping on a couch, the floor or a sleeping bag. My first hotel stay was on a vacation with my aunt and uncle’s family when I was 17. We went to Mexico and we stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in Monterey. It was quite an elegant hotel at one point but it had seen better days by the time we got there. It had a fancy restaurant with tuxedoed waiters and I was in awe with the tableside service. But I still remember how bad the mattresses were.
Q: What’s your favorite travel/hotel–related movie?
A: Up. I loved, loved that movie.
Q: What’s your favorite place on earth?
A: Anywhere in Italy. I love all things Italian: the country, the food, the wine, the people and especially the shoes.
Q: What super power would you like to have?
A: Given a super power, I would choose to be a secret healer.
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
A: Prioritizing — because everything is important. And going to work in an office building every day instead of a hotel.
Q: What’s the best thing?
A: I work with enormously talented and creative people. Transitioning from the “boots on the ground” hotel world to that of the home office and working side by side with people who are charged with the continuing evolution of the Kimpton brand is exhilarating.
Q: What’s the short-term goal for your job?
A: As our brand continues to grow and evolve, my short-term goal is to be sure that we are staying focused on delivering our brand promise of excellence and difference while maintaining the unique culture that has been a hallmark of Kimpton.
Q: What long-term goal have you set for your job?
A: The long-term goal for my job is to create an innovative and successful operations structure that is focused on exceptional guest service provided with spirit, style and delight.
My wife and I have stayed in more than a dozen Kimptons around the country and loved every single one of them. By far and away our favorite hotel brand. You all do EVERYTHING right, and should be the model for any customer-focused business—not just hotels. Number one best thing about a Kimpton: Truly, genuinely pet-friendly. Our dog Buddy first stayed at the Hotel George 15 years ago, and he’s been a loyal member ever since.
Keep up the awesome service, folks! Thank you!
We appreciate the kind words, Michael. And yes, we really do love pets … give Buddy a scratch behind the ears for us.
Kimpton hotels are amazing. Excellent service and atmosphere in superb urban locations.
Thanks, Doug. You’re making us blush.
WOW! I love truly this interview. Mr. Pollard is everything that is GREAT about Kimpton! Kimpton is a one of a kind company which thrives on providing excellence to each and every guest. Kimpton staff all around the world have become my family and I am so grateful for the impact they make on my life. Thank you Mr. Pollard!