READING, PA -- Craig Poole, General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Reading, PA, spoke with TAPintoTV’s Brian Brodeur about how the hotel is adapting due to the limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brodeur and Poole spoke via video conference from East Main Media’s studio in Little Falls, NJ, which was reconfigured to accommodate remote interviews due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this point, Poole said, local data is not yet showing that the hotel is able to reopen, but he and the staff are preparing. “I was able to reconfigure what the hotel looks like and rethink about how it’s going to look when we open, so we open successfully,” he said. 

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In the meantime, the hotel has donated food, sweet treats and even clothes to city first responders, though the hotel regularly engages in philanthropy and community-based outreach, pandemic or not. “Our purpose was to change a city through a hotel,” said Poole. “The hotel is the vehicle we use to help change a whole environment. So when you have a bigger purpose than a hotel, there are bigger things that you do.” 

Reading consistently ranks as one of the poorest small cities in America and consequently, also has a high crime rate. The DoubleTree by Hilton opened in 2015 with the hope of bringing revitalization to Reading. 

Poole, who is also President of Reading Hospitality Management, explained that hiring staff in a city with a high crime rate means that prospective job candidates often have criminal records.“I don’t want us ever to hire somebody based just on their past,” he said. “I look at who they are today and where they want to be tomorrow.” 

“A lot of the people I hired were already leaders, but they weren’t allowed to be leaders before. They were never told they could be a leader,” Poole said, “and now they’re being empowered to do that, and now they’re doing great.” 

Over the course of its five years in business, the hotel has won numerous high-profile hospitality awards and was voted the #1 DoubleTree property in the U.S. three times. 

“I’d rather hire people that have a vision for other people, a vision to change the city, because that’s what drives our hotel,” Poole said. “It drives everything.” 

To learn more about the DoubleTree by Hilton in Reading, visit them online at: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/rdgdtdt-doubletree-reading.