By: Robert Bittner
Harris Rosen, founder of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, an Orlando-based collection of nine resort properties, doesn’t believe there’s any great secret to success in the hospitality industry.
“You hear the word ‘passion’ so much,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s passion, exactly. I just know you have to enjoy what you’re doing.”
That applies even when the task at hand may not be all that enjoyable.
After buying his first hotel as a young man, Rosen “lived in that hotel for 16 years.” He recalls: “I was general manager, food and beverage manager, chief landscaper, in charge of all the purchasing, and I worked with accounting. I helped cook breakfast in the morning and did all the meat carving at night. I also did all the night running: If someone had a stopped toilet at three in the morning, my phone was the one that rang.
“See, I knew I could outwork anybody,” he adds. “That was my saving grace. You have to work hard. But you also have to enjoy what you’re doing. Otherwise, what are you working so hard for?”
Today, Rosen’s perseverance has helped to create a company recognized for its innovative approach to creating a family atmosphere for its associates. “We built a medical facility exclusively for our associates and their dependents,” he says, “and we did it long before it was fashionable.”
The Rosen Medical Center provides a variety of free services, including a fitness center with health and wellness classes and a full-time staff dietician. Most office visits are on the clock and free, as are most of the pharmaceuticals that are dispensed on-site. In addition, Rosen says, “We pay for an education at any public Florida college or university for our associates and their children [once certain employment terms are met]. All of these things separate us from our colleagues.
“My dad’s family came from Russia,” he says. “Mom’s family came from Austria/Hungary. I was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. But here I am today. America is truly a land of opportunity. If I could do what I’ve been able to do, anyone with a dream should be able to do the same.”
Look for our article on Rosen in the January/February issue of Destinations, scheduled to be on-site at Marketplace.
Robert Bittner is a Michigan-based freelance writer.