June 20, 2023 | Careers
They remember his big smile. His small acts of kindness. His huge heart for hospitality.
Most of all, guests remember Kevin Williams’ name.
“I have a stack of five-star reviews that mention Kevin by name,” says Chris Raines, general manager of AC Hotel Bethesda. “He is an amazing bellman. Guests love him — and of course, we do, too!”
Williams has been at the front door of AC Hotel Bethesda since it opened in August 2022, not only greeting guests and settling them into their rooms but also tending to any needs that might arise between check-in and check-out.
“A good bellman is the bridge between a traveler’s home and their hotel room,” Williams says. “I’m the point person who makes sure they feel genuinely at home while they’re staying with us. I welcome them as if they’re a guest in my own house, and I stay just as engaged with them throughout their entire stay.”
Hard as he works, this is actually a retirement job for Williams. His first career was all about cars, beginning as a teenage valet at the famed Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, and culminating as an executive with Premium Parking in the DC Metro market.
When pondering a second career, he decided to pursue his passions; now he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a local studio and drives positive guest experiences at AC Hotel Bethesda.
“Nobody cares more about GSS than Kevin Williams,” Raines says. “We get so many compliments via guest surveys about the things he does: greeting every guest with a huge smile. Holding elevator doors. Handing out umbrellas on rainy days. Making sure every child gets a coloring book. The list goes on.”
One five-star review came from a woman who wasn’t even staying at the hotel. She had shown up in the lobby via the nearby bus terminal — stressed after a long ride, unable to call Uber because her phone was dead — so Williams settled her in a cozy chair, provided a charger, and brought her an unexpected cup of hot cocoa to soothe her nerves.
“Please, please tell Kevin how much he made my day and how much I appreciated his kindness. People like him are not easy to find — I know that because I worked in customer service for decades. I can’t thank Kevin enough … and I wasn’t even staying in the hotel!” she wrote.
“I enjoy the satisfaction of helping people; if they’re frazzled or coming in from a bad flight, I can replace their problems with something nice, like a room drop,” Williams says. Hospitality offers many amazing career paths for anyone willing to put in the work, he adds, “but I’m here to tell you, there’s no better job in a hotel than being the bellman.”