"Checking inn" with lodging

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- There is a fresh scent in the air, a welcome mat to greet visitors, and friendly smiles behind the front desk to greet guests and make them feel at home. This is the atmosphere of the Whiteman Inn here on base.

Like many hotels, the staff of the Whiteman Inn comprises receptionists, accountants, managers, house keepers and maintenance workers. Each has a significant role that affects the hotel's operations.

Every manager is responsible for different duties which deal with different aspects of the hotel, said Whisper Maxwell, 509th Force Support Squadron lodging accountant.

The operations manager deals with services such as labor, linen, security and safety. The guest service manager oversees customer service and the front-desk employees. The housekeeping manager deals with the cleanliness of the hotel and supervises housekeepers. The supply technician works to ensure the employees and guests have all their various supply needs met. Finally, the general manager is, of course, responsible for all the hotel's operations in charge of the entire hotel.

Additionally, receptionists offer assistance with reservations and check-ins, while housekeepers are responsible for delivering room service and cleaning the rooms, said Staff Sgt. Derrick Walker, 509th FSS housekeeping manager.

As a lodging accountant, Maxwell also performs a vital function for the Whiteman Inn.

"I am responsible for doing daily paperwork and deposits," said Maxwell. "I also do group reservations, usually more than four people. For the Compliance Unit Inspection (CUI), there will be 150 people arriving. I've talked with their point of contact to get all of their lodging handled. We gather all the names and log them into the system and handle the inspector general bill, which pays for the rooms of individuals who are entitled to it. This also applies to smaller groups, such as flight crews or med group inspection teams."

Housekeeper managers have the important job of supervising housekeepers, as well as performing cleaning tasks to keep rooms in order.

"I am in charge of 17 housekeepers and [of] cleaning rooms. We do turnovers before check-outs (1100) and check-ins (1400)," said Walker. "This means we will have to clean all used rooms before check-in time when guests arrive. Time management is a big factor in what we do because of events like the up-coming CUI; we are constantly busy making sure rooms are prepared for the inspectors within a timely manner. Teamwork is very important; managers who do not normally clean will step in and help get the job done successfully."

Lodging contributes to the Whiteman mission through providing outstanding customer service and quality first impressions.

These attributes are important because they allow visitors to form good opinions of Whiteman and enjoy their stay on base, said Maxwell. For most visitors, Lodging personnel are the first people they see when they get to Whiteman, so that positive first impression is vital.

Distinguished visitor houses are used for anyone deemed a DV, such as a newly promoted general, a person whose relative has passed away, or the secretary of defense. Whether DVs or not, however, all guests are treated with the same level of respect and care.

The busiest time of the year for Lodging is the summer because of temporary duty travels, permanent changes of station and out and in-processing reach their high point. People traveling TDY or PCSing stay in the Whiteman Inn for the duration of their TDY, or until they find permanent housing upon PCSing.

At the end of the day, whether someone is PCSing, traveling TDY or just visiting the base, Whiteman Inn personnel aim to provide their guests with positive experiences, and make them feel welcomed and a part of the Whiteman family.

For more information, questions or concerns, please contact the Whiteman Inn at 660-687-1885.