How our Residence Inn by Marriott in Austin Has Risen to the Occasion

Embracing Change in the Face of a Pandemic

We’ve all heard the phrase “during these unprecedented times” more than we can handle over these last few months. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head in the United States, there was a clear shift that took its toll on many Americans. While many hotels (15% to be exact in the US) shut their doors, Pathfinder Development didn’t shut the doors at a single hotel they manage. However, this story isn’t about all of our hotels. This story highlights what our Residence Inn in Southwest Austin has done to overcome every hurdle and challenge that’s been tossed our way.

         Quite often, when you think about “extended stay,” you don’t always associate fun and incredible service with the experience. It can feel mundane and you wouldn’t think the staff would be all that interested in why you’re staying there in the first place. Pathfinder Development wanted to set a high standard make sure that every guest AND employee got an unforgettable experience as soon as they walked through those automatic doors. When you check in at our Residence Inn, you’re home and our team immediately thinks of you as family.

         Even before COVID-19, this hotel has been known for its outstanding service, amenities, activities calendar, and location. Located in the heart of Southwest Austin, it truly is the perfect distance from everything you’d need to get the full ATX experience. Downtown, Dripping Springs, and even the Texas Hill Country are all easy to get to and with our 5-star staff, there is always someone to help you tailor the experience you’re craving.

         Outside of our location, you can’t beat what Pathfinder has done to create incredible spaces both inside and out. Our top-of-the-line gym is strategically placed to look out at the pool and our backyard. Our pool has an infinity edge and looks out to the gorgeous green belt. Our spa is always hot and bubbling and our grills are always gassed up and ready for use. All 108 of our rooms provide the guests with everything they need to enjoy themselves.

         So, what happened when the coronavirus hit? Did we shy away from everything that made us special? Absolutely not. In fact, we saw this as an opportunity to shine and show our entire team that we still care more than ever. With so much stress and uncertainty, we not only kept our doors open and our staff working, but we implemented a number of tactics to keep our employees and our guests incredibly elated. Hot summer days that felt draining turned into fun water balloons off the roof sessions. Mask requirements that felt forced turned into an internal photo challenge to see who had the best masks and who could get creative with social distancing guidelines. We even partnered up with RNDC and other various vendors to host socially distant and safe wine tastings and we provided lots of opportunities for the staff to feel safe while taking good care of themselves. If an outdoor pool party while wearing masks with a coronavirus pinata filled with vitamins, hand sanitizer, and other self-care items isn’t motivating, then what is!?

         Seeing the rise in stress and mental illness during these times, Pathfinder Development also saw a need to provide support in other ways. Amanda McPherson was hired on as a life coach and her hour-long sessions are available to ALL staff members that feel like they want to work with her to tackle anything they may be struggling with both personally and professionally. The overwhelming responses from the staff about how she’s helped change their perspective has created an electric energy that radiates with every new check-in, check-out, and everything in between.

While everyone has been cooped up and bored in the house, we also saw the need to keep up with our activities calendar. With all the new rules and regulations, it was time to get creative and find fun AND safe ways to make our guests feel like they weren’t in the middle of something terrifying. This meant hosting themed outdoor BBQs, activities where guests can build their own puzzles, and happy hours. We even tapped our in-house yoga master, Erwin, to host early morning, outdoor, socially distance yoga sessions.  

         While other hotels may have been slashing budgets, we saw an opportunity to take some time to also invest in the property by enhancing our outdoor space into something magnificent. Our pool and grilling area was already famous, but our team worked tirelessly to build and stain a beautiful pergola with outdoor seating and a fire pit as well as a staircase that leads you from the pool area down to the park, so it’s easy for you to take your dog down for some play time.

         There is no doubt that these are unprecedented times, but in the short time that this hotel has even been open, Pathfinder Development has left its mark in the community with this hotel and the future looks bright. We’ve been awarded the Silver Circle Award 3 years in a row and have built repeat business that have a long-term presence in our marketplace. We also soar above the hotels in our comp set and our team has invested in talent to take on the future.  

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