[This is the second installment in an series of interviews. Read more here.]
Today's interview is with Lindsey Gift, Regional Director of Sales for Peninsula Hotels. I met Lindsey on a recent visit to their Chicago hotel and after hearing that she has visited every Peninsula hotel around the world I knew she would be a great person to interview. Lindsey lives in Chicago and has been in the travel industry for five years.
Hi Lindsey. Can you tell me about yourself?
I am a sales person who never thought I would ever love sales as much as I do. My favorite part about my role is developing relationships that last a lifetime. My favorite part about the hotel industry is taking care of people and giving them exceptional experiences that can only be found in the very best of the luxury hotels around the world. When I first entered hospitality, I was told that I needed to have the heart of a servant. Over the years, that phrase has led me through my career. I love sales and luxury hotels and feel lucky that I have one of the best jobs in the world.
What makes Peninsula Hotels different from other luxury hotel chains?
We are a small company, only ten hotels globally, although it really feels like we carry a much larger presence due to our strong reputation in the luxury segment. We bring Eastern graciousness and glamour to the U.S. and as employees we are all empowered to wow guests and create memorable experiences.
How many Peninsula Hotels are there... and where are they?
As of August 1, 2014, we are now ten hotels globally. In Asia we have Hong Kong (our flagship), Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Manila. In the U.S. we have New York, Chicago, and Beverly Hills. Our newest gem is The Peninsula Paris, our first entry into Europe.
I know you’ve been to all the Peninsula Hotels - which hotels (and destinations) were your favorites and why?
This is always the most difficult question. They are all so special. When you walk into The Peninsula Hong Kong, you can feel the 85 years of history and tradition. The Peninsula Beverly Hills is so glamorous and offers really unique services, like flexible check in and check out, operating the hotel to accommodate our guests instead of the guests having to adjust their schedules for us.
Can you tell me about some of the favorite places that you’ve been?
My favorite places I have visited include Sydney, Barcelona, Paris, Hong Kong, Montreal, London, and Kauai. I love them all for different reasons, but usually it is because of the food, the culture, and the company.
Where are you traveling next?
I travel a lot for work, so my next trips are to Winnipeg, Las Vegas, and Vancouver. My next vacation will be to San Diego for a multi-generational family trip.
What kinds of things do you take with you when you fly?
I am pretty simple. I must have a big bottle of water, a light sweater, my iPhone, and a magazine.
What are your favorite restaurants in Chicago?
Since we have grown into a little family, we are learning all of the places that are kid-friendly, which in Chicago there are actually lots of options. Our go to spots include Peace Pizza, Uncle Julio’s, Southport Grocery, Uncommon Ground, and Crosby’s Kitchen. If it is just my husband and me, we love Takashi and of course all of the restaurants at The Peninsula Chicago.
What destinations do you still want to visit?
My top three places I want to visit include Italy, Africa, and South Korea.