Dan Hoch: Leading with empathy to create a positive work culture

March 23, 2022 - Mackenzie Coombs

The DoubleTree in Reading is the hotel chain’s highest rated hotel—for the second year in a row. Established in 2011, the award recognizes the exceptional team members and employees who follow the Hilton company vision and their mission. The members and staff are the heart of the hotel chain and represent the great success of the company.

Dan Hoch is the Director of Business Development for Reading Hospitality Management, the company which manages the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading.

In his position, Hoch is in charge of making things happen, but most importantly, he’s the driving force behind the scenes. He has been at the hotel since the day it opened and has been a big part of making things happen ever since.

“I grew up spending every summer down in Bethany Beach, Delaware. My family had a little home. I worked every summer, so I was the only kid that wasn’t tan at the beach because I worked all day,” Hoch said, explaining how he got into the hospitality business in the first place.

“I worked at every restaurant that you could imagine down in Rehoboth, Ocean City, Dewey, all over the place. I loved being in hospitality. I loved pleasing and serving people to make them happy and have a great experience.”

So, what does his average day look like? Well, he prioritizes his staff and team member, making sure they’re well informed and ready to start each and every day. He explained that it’s important to have a good relationship with each member. Also, to make sure that things will go according to the day’s plans.

“Every morning, I come into our daily morning meeting with all of our staff. We talk about the guests, the culture of the hotel, our staff, and hospitality. It’s very important way to start our day and a positive thing for our hotel moving forward,” he said. Hoch strongly believes that these meetings help for a positive outlook on the day and brings everyone together.

“My day could start with interviews with local artists who want to put artwork on our walls. It could be a band that wants to perform in the bar area.”

He makes the point to gather artwork and performers from those in the Reading community, because he believes that it’s important to incorporate influence from those in the surrounding areas. At the hotel, they don’t ask for anything from the artist, he wants to make sure that they’re getting the opportunity to be exposed by the public.

“All of the artwork on our walls and the bands that perform are local. We support the arts, locally,” Dan said, showing off the different pieces of artwork that can be found on every wall of the hotel. “Our hotel is filled with stories of great people, whether it’s our staff and where they come from or whether it be an artist that has found their passion for art late in life.”

It’s important to management to support everyone. Whether it’s their employees or their guest, they’re main goal is to make sure that everyone is having a great experience. Over the past two years, Hoch has recognized the hardships on his staff and their families.

The DoubleTree has a thrift store. This was up and running pre-pandemic, and the staff and the community can come in and look through if they cannot afford to buy new clothing. Most importantly, he emphasizes on the fact that everyone deserves a good meal, and his staff is always offered one every day.

“We feed our employees a meal every day in the cafeteria, because we know that people need a good meal. From management down to the dishwashers, we all eat a meal together,” Hoch said, making note that it’s important to be one with your staff and make sure that everyone has a meal.

“But there’s also a huge eviction problem that’s happening. The real estate prices are skyrocketing and it’s affecting some of our staff. So, right now, we’re housing them to help them get back on their feet. We do this because our staff is our family, and it’s important to make sure that everyone is doing okay.”

Those who work in hospitality know that it’s important to make sure that everyone is taken care of. They’re the ones who are working through all the hardships and are happy to come to work because they know that they’re going to be supported by management. Dan Hoch and the rest of the DoubleTree staff make sure of that.