THE TWO ANGELS INN Sally Lapson sat stunned in her car parked in the flower-lined circular driveway only dimly aware of the fountain?s spray and the shadows of the palm trees. What had happened to Hap and Holly?s dream, kept repeating in her head. Sally, the first morning home from college for her spring break, had driven over to visit her former employers Hap and Holly Sanders at the château-styled inn, The Two Angels. Sally had looked forward to seeing the Sanders, who she considered as her friends, as well as once again experiencing the inn she had grown to love. As she parked, she immediately saw the new sign, ?La Quinta Lake Resort.? Upon entering the formerly serene, crystal chandeliered foyer, there was of all things a desk like any other hotel might have. Glancing to her left into the dining room she saw a portable coffee jug and plastic cups on the end of the table. As Sally?s eyes adjusted to the shadowed interior, a young man stood up behind the desk and said, ?Hi, I?m Mack, do you have a reservation?? Upon inquiring after the Sanders, she learned that they were no longer the managers. When Sally explained that she had formerly worked there, Mack sat back down. Sally then asked about Dawn and Maria. She was told to check with ?the help upstairs? with the warning that ?those old women don?t speak English.? So Sally excused herself and went back to sit in her car. What had happened to Hap and Holly? THE VALLEY Paralleling Interstate 10, between the Little San Bernardino Mountains to the east and the Santa Rosa Mountains close on the west, were a string of well-known resort towns?Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Coachella?collectively called ?The Valley.? The area is what southern Californians call the High Desert, very dry and sunny. Winters are considered the best season with daytime high temperatures averaging 70 degrees. Summers, however, can be quite unpleasant, the mercury consistently well over 100 degrees (with 120 degree days on occasion). A canal from the Colorado River and deep wells kept the many golf courses, man-made lakes, and home lawns, shrubs, and flowers luxuriant. People came to the Valley from all around the world, drawn to its winter climate, many resorts, and events such as the Bob Hope Classic and the PGA West. It has been home to many celebrities, for example, Frank Sinatra, Cher, and Gerald Ford, as well as where many well-off retirees, for example, ?snowbirds,? spend their winter months, and where many people from greater Los Angeles have weekend second homes or condos. In general, the visitors to the Valley desired the high-quality lodging, restaurants, and shopping that have long typified the ?Springs? (i.e., Palm Springs). La Quinta was one of the relatively newer and smaller towns in the Valley. The town fathers knew that their town could not compete with the number of large major lodging properties up the Valley such as the Four Seasons and Marriott. They believed in and actively encouraged smaller, unique, high-quality businesses in La Quinta. HAP AND HOLLY?S DREAM COME TRUE Harold (Hap) and Hollister (Holly) Sanders had been married for nearly 40 years. They lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where Hap, since graduating from Yale, had worked as an executive in his family-owned and managed chain of midwest department stores. Childless, Hap and Holly traveled extensively worldwide but over the years returned more and more to provincial France and Palm Springs. In 1997, the 100-year-old family company was sold; Hap who had earlier inherited a great deal of money from his father?s estate now acquired nearly $2 million more. Nearing 60 years of age, Hap and Holly decided to leave Cleveland and ?semiretire? to a warmer climate. They bought a large home in the Valley just north of La Quinta. Upon returning from a visit to the south of France in 1999, they dreamed of opening a French château in the Valley because châteaus to them had always embodied wealth, comfort, and a retreat from the stresses of everyday life. A prime piece of vacant land bordering a small lake near La Quinta?s best shopping became available. Hap and Holly immediately purchased it. Although the Sanders had no prior experience with a hospitality business, they decided to build their dream château because they enjoyed catering to people and making them feel welcome, and, in Cleveland, had achieved a local reputation for throwing wonderful social gatherings. They decided on the name of their enterprise before even scouting for a contractor?The Two Angels Inn. Their inn was to be basically their home into which guests were invited and given individual attention for a reasonable fee. Hap and Holly quickly located a renowned architect and worked closely with him on the Inn?s design. Their overriding criterion was to create a serene retreat that catered to its guests. Construction went quickly. Hap and Holly actively consulted with the interior designers to make their inn feel, as Holly often stated, ?like an exquisite mansion.? A boathouse with two spacious suites was also built on the lakefront. The layout of the completed inn was unique. The front doors were very tall and wide. They opened to a generous open space with a beautiful crystal chandelier above and a wide sweeping staircase to the second floor resembling an entry to a home. Through a wide arch beyond the entryway was a large living room. Photo albums, menus of local upscale restaurants, local pictorial history books, and large vases of fresh flowers topped several coffee tables. Multiple French doors opened on to a broad terrace overlooking Lake La Quinta. Extra large, plush couches and chairs were arranged in several conversational groupings. A fireplace burned every evening. To the left of the entry through another wide arch was a large dining room with antique sideboards and a long oval, glass-topped table with seats for 20 people. To the right of the entry was a library-den with a wet bar and several leather couches where guests could help themselves at all hours just as if they were at home. In the arch to the den was a carved table for morning coffee, tea, and juice amenities. All the fine china had a gold band and a Two Angels crest. The 12 guestrooms on the second floor each had a large bathroom and dressing room as well as French doors opening to a balcony overlooking the inn?s gardens or the lake where warm breezes wafted. Each room had its own unique theme, furnished mostly with furniture and decorated accents the Sanders had collected during their travels. Safari, Indian, Bali, and Geneva were some of the themes. The comforters, linens, personal bathrobes, and bath amenities were of the finest quality. Every morning Hap made breakfast which he began serving at 8:00 A.M. The menu varied daily with a minimum of three main entrées and five side dishes but special requests were welcomed. Holly made a special blended drink each morning?a different combination of fruits, juices, and other flavorings, which she would name?and invite the guests to guess its ingredients. The Sanders would make restaurant suggestions and reservations for their guests, sometimes even when room reservations were called in. Each evening at 5:00 P.M. Hap and Holly invited their guests to a wine hour with homemade hors d?oeuvres. Most guests attended and socialized with one another and the Sanders. During the day if a guest needed to speak with Hap or Holly they almost always could be found in the Inn?s kitchen or garden. THE STAFF Dawn and Maria were the only employees. Maria Hernandez was the housekeeper. She came to work each morning to clean and prepare all of the guestrooms. Every other day, she also did all of the laundry. Maria was very efficient. She seldom spoke with anyone except in response. Married, Maria?s own household had two of her five children as well as a variable number of relatives. Maria had begun her employment at The Two Angels when it first opened over two years ago. Currently Maria had some health problems necessitating time off. Recently, too, she had requested time off for one son?s birthday party, to go to a funeral in Mexico, and to nurse an ill relative. Dawn Johnson, a retired single woman, lived alone just a few minutes from the Inn. Dawn would come to work early and help serve breakfast, do the clean up, and then return home. In the evening she would return for turndown. Turndown required entering guests? rooms while they were away for dinner or other evening events, pulling back the comforter, ruffling the sheets in a designated way, and placing a signature book and two angel shaped candies on the bed. She also replaced any used towels and amenities and pulled down the curtains. She worked quickly and seldom made errors. When finished with all occupied guestrooms Dawn would go home. When Maria was away from work, Dawn would willingly take over her work. Any time the Sanders needed to go out of town, Dawn filled in for them too, for example, making reservations and breakfast, hosting the wine hour, etc. Often she was heard to say, ?The Inn is my second home.? When Dawn couldn?t do her tasks, Holly would do them. THE HIGH SEASON AND SALLY The inn was not busy all the time. While the year round occupancy was 68 percent, summers were generally low and winters high. As the 2001?02 high season approached, both Maria and Dawn missed more and more days at work, a couple of times on the same day. Holly, even with Hap?s help, had trouble completing all of the inn?s work. Neither of the Sanders had the energy they had when they were younger. While the 12 guestrooms were not now at full occupancy, they soon would be. Hap and Holly decided they needed some part-time help. Not having had to find employees since they had opened their inn, the Sanders were unsure of how to go about it. They placed advertisements in the local newspaper and the local radio station and spread the word around merchants in town. As the high season was nearing, the larger resorts were also recruiting. After a month, the Sanders had had only four inquiries about their opening?none with any lodging-related experience. Holly then had a new idea; she called the hospitality department of the local community college. Her call was transferred to Mr. Meyers who taught the Introduction to the Hospitality Industry course and supervised the department?s job shadow program. Mr. Meyers invited Hap and Holly to be guest speakers in the course, to talk about managing a small, high-quality lodging property and to invite part-time job applicants. Within a week the Sanders spoke to Mr. Meyer?s class utilizing many color slides of The Two Angels Inn and its grounds. After class only one student came up to the Sanders to talk about their inn. Sally Lapson had been impressed by the elegance of the inn, how guests were pampered, and the evident enthusiasm displayed by the Sanders. She made an appointment to visit the Sanders for the next day. After touring the inn, Sally was even more impressed with it and how nice Hap and Holly treated her. She believed that she would learn a lot and enjoy her time there. The Sanders liked Sally and her appreciation of all that they had accomplished with The Two Angels. When they discovered she was willing to work any day or shift needed they hired her immediately. Sally began work the next weekend. She learned quickly, and was diligent and guest-attentive in their opinion. Soon the inn was running smoothly. In the weeks before the Christmas holidays, Sally worked more and more at The Two Angels. She filled in for both Maria and Dawn who missed several days at work. The inn was now full each evening. Hap and Holly also had Sally assist them in elaborately decorating the inn for the holidays as well as assist almost daily with the wine hours. They often praised her work and called her ?a natural.? SALLY?S DECISION In early January, Sally began to think about what spring semester courses she wanted to register for. She was pretty sure now that she wanted a hospitality career?her parents, Mr. Meyers and the Sanders were all encouraging, and she loved the ambiance and the variety of people and tasks at the inn. The more Sally thought about it, the more sure she became. On the second weekend after New Year?s and before registration for classes, Sally and several friends spontaneously decided to drive to Las Vegas for a few day?s excitement. While there she visited the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, discovered the major hospitality program there, inquired about transferring, and acquired application and financial aid materials. Within two weeks Sally was provisionally accepted for the upcoming semester which was to begin immediately. Hap and Holly were stunned by Sally?s decision to leave. On her last evening at The Two Angels, they used the wine hour as a going away party for Sally. As she left the Inn, Hap, Holly, and Sally tearfully hugged and promised to stay in touch. Sally promised to visit in two months when she came home on her spring break.
Read the following: The Two Angels Inn. (pgs. 260-263)
2. Read the case carefully. In an essay format, answer the following:
3. How effective are the recruitment strategies? Make suggestions to improve this critical Human Resource process.
4. What are the organizational strengths presented in this case?
5. What are the organizational weaknesses?