The Whiteman Inn: Ensuring excellence and great customer service

Carolina McGarrigle, 509th Force Support Squadron housekeeper, makes a bed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 25, 2014. Preparing rooms are essential to providing presentable living areas for guests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Carolina McGarrigle, 509th Force Support Squadron housekeeper, makes a bed at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 25, 2014. Preparing rooms are essential to providing presentable living areas for guests. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Carolina McGarrigle, 509th Force Support Squadron housekeeper, cleans a table at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 25, 2014. Cleaning is done to prevent the spread of disease or germs and maintain furniture while ensuring a comfortable living area for visitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

Carolina McGarrigle, 509th Force Support Squadron housekeeper, cleans a table at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., June 25, 2014. Cleaning is done to prevent the spread of disease or germs and maintain furniture while ensuring a comfortable living area for visitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry/Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- There is a refreshing scent in the air, a welcome mat to greet visitors, friendly smiles behind the front desk to greet guests making them feel at home.

This is the atmosphere of the Whiteman Inn here on base. The Whiteman Inn offers rooms for all branches of the Armed Forces as well as retirees, Department of Defense civilians and their family members with the convenience of being located on base.

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

Lodging contributes to the Whiteman mission by providing outstanding customer service.

"These qualities are important because they allow visitors to form good lasting opinions of Whiteman and enjoy their stay", said Staff Sgt. Renton Espejo, 509th FSS front desk supervisor. "For most visitors, we are the first people they see when they come to Whiteman. So we must be at our best."

The front-desk supervisor deals with various tasks to benefit hotel operations.

"I oversee customer services, deal with distinguished visitor reservations, and make group reservations for inspection teams," Espejo said. "When there are customers, I ensure they receive necessary assistance to accommodate them. I coordinate with protocol to arrange DV reservations and coordinate group point of contacts to meet mission requirements for inspection teams."

The front desk supervisor also makes arrangements for aircrews on a daily basis and service Guard units while they are on drill status or temporary duty.
Along with the front desk supervisor, the guest service representatives work the front desk to greet and assist customers.

"The guest services representatives offer assistance with reservations and check-ins, and handle all guest complaints," said Lindsay Hall, 509th FSS front desk supervisor. "If there are issues, they report them to the front desk supervisors and we inform housekeeping and maintenance to respond to the situations."

The operations manager handles services such as labor, linen, security and safety. The guest service manager oversees customer service and the front desk supervisors. The housekeeping manager handles the cleanliness of the hotel and supervises housekeepers. The supply technician ensures the employees and guests have the various supplies they need and the general manager is responsible for all the hotel's operations.

Every manager is responsible for different duties which deal with different aspects of the hotel.

The accountant takes care of the financial aspects of the hotel.

"I help set up budgets for end of month finances to keep the Whiteman Inn on track of where they stand with accounting budgets," said Trista Riffe, 509th FSS lodging accountant. "I also handle payroll for all employees, keep track of all employee s working schedule along with leave to make sure employees are accurately paid."

The housekeeping manager has the important job of supervising house keepers, as well as performing cleaning tasks to keep rooms in a presentable order.

"My job is to oversee housekeeping operations," said Susan Wike, 509th FSS housekeeping manager. "I assign tasks early in the day to housekeepers and perform room inspections. We have golden eagle standards which is a form per Air Force Instruction regulations that we abide by to ensure the rooms are kept in order. It's a standardized item I go over with the housekeepers to let them know our expectations. I use room inspection checklists to inspect rooms and inform the housekeepers of any demerits, improvement and overall room status. I also schedule tasks monthly in advance to allow the housekeepers enough time to plan accordingly in case of personal matters or leave."

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

The busiest time of the year for Lodging is the summer due to TDY travels, permanent changes of station and in and out-processing. Guests on a TDY or PCSing, stay in the Whiteman Inn until it is time for them to leave.

Each job has its importance and plays a vital role within the Whiteman Inn overall mission; outstanding customer service and good first impressions.

"We are aware of the importance in how we affect the Whiteman mission," said Senior Airman Justin Stewart, 509th FSS guest services representative. "We strive to just fulfill each guests needs with quality and convenient service. We are the first and last people most visitors see before their departure. We must ensure are satisfied."