Good News: Upholding Savannah’s reputation for hospitality
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah is well known for its hospitality. And it is the people in the hospitality industry who are responsible for that reputation.
“Hello, welcome to the Bohemian. How may we assist you?”
For many first-time visitors, the voice of Savannah hospitality has a Treutlen County accent.
“Everybody says you can’t be from Savannah, you don’t talk like you’re from Savannah. I say, no I am from the country. And I am a proud country young man,” Cedric Baldwin said.
But Baldwin has become a symbol of this city’s reputation. The welcoming presence people from everywhere else show up here expecting to meet.
“Cedric is amazing. Every day, just pure hospitality. He breaths it and he’s just so welcoming to everyone,” Benjamin McCarney said.
The lobby ambassador at the Bohemian Hotel, Cedric is the first person some guests see when they arrive in Savannah. So, his job is more than controlling traffic flow and giving directions. It’s making sure the Savannah experience is everything people heard it would be.
“Just make them feel welcome. Make them feel as if they are my top priority which they are. Make their stay more comfortable - I try to make them feel like there’s nothing we wouldn’t go above and beyond for them.”
The Bohemian created Cedric’s position earlier this year to better utilize the former bellman’s personality and the sense of hospitality he learned from his grandmother.
“Her telling me to treat guests or other people the way you want them to treat you, that is my biggest role model.”
And ever since, he has been making an impression on guests, during their stay.
“We just thought we were having a great conversation with a long-lost friend. He recommended some great places to eat, things to see.”
And even after their visit judging from dozens of positive reviews Cedric, and in turn Savannah, have received online.
“I walk around with him to different places with him and they’re like Cedric! and they tell him about the whole day they just had. And I feel subservient to him. It’s fun and it good to be around such a celebrity like him.”
But he says the dedication to service he is suddenly getting attention for is just natural, and naturally satisfying.
“Southern Hospitality is something you can learn, but it’s also in you as well. There is no limit to what we can do to put a smile on people’s face and make them feel welcome. And it gives me great honor and pleasure to know my grandmother is looking down from heaven saying job well done.”
Cedric was named a Savannah Hospitality Hero by Travelhost magazine in the fall.
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