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Tourism Matters

Leslie Menichini,

Making Rosen a Visitor’s Magnet

Alla famiglia! An Italian saying somewhere between a colloquialism and a toast. Quite simply, “to the family.” Proclaimed when gathered with food and family, celebrating togetherness, life and love. The tangible touch, taste and feel of food inextricably linked to the impalpable feeling of family.

It’s an idea that helped build a culture and a country. And here in Central Florida, it helped build a career.

Leslie Menichini, vice president, sales & marketing at Rosen Hotels & Resorts wanted to be a lawyer. And why not? Respect, success and the center of attention as courtroom dramas unfold. But it was love of family, food, cooking and entertaining, demonstrated by
her father, that ultimately guided her career choice.

“I spent so much of my childhood watching my father cook, create and entertain his customers as the true entrepreneur of the culinary arts when he was in our family’s restaurant Troia’s,” said Menichini. “As a teen, I worked at Troia’s from washing dishes to cooking specialty dishes. This was where my passion for hospitality and customer service began and what ultimately lead me into the hospitality industry as
a career.”

As one will when working hotels, Leslie Menichini has hopscotched around the country over a 30-year career, starting in Minnesota and then onto Tulsa, OK and California with Westin. Next to Orlando with Disney Hotels Swan and Dolphin. Then back west to Las Vegas with Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas, Caesar’s, Hilton and the Flamingo. Finally, returning to Orlando in 2001 to join the independent hotelier Rosen Hotel & Resorts, Menichini has literally worked for the best and the biggest in the business.

She says that while national and international hotel chains offer a salesperson a multitude of hotels to sell, she’s come to find many more advantages with selling an independent hotel company, especially one with all of its properties centrally located in Orlando. A flexible and caring on-site owner and a reputation as “the” Orlando hotel company uniquely positions her salespeople for success. “We always point out to clients that there’s no red tape when partnering with us,” said Menichini. “How many national brands have this direct access to the owner? Rosen Hotels & Resorts proudly eliminates cookie cutter hotel templates and allows us to create and design our facilities, which then allows the client to tailor their personal meeting needs in a unique environment.”

Menichini says that with virtually no layers for the approval process, Rosen Hotels & Resorts are afforded the opportunity to be more creative and forward-thinking regarding facilities, service, unique meetings and
catering events.

“We work harder than the other [larger] chains to make a difference to help build customer base that helps us grow our credibility through word of mouth, creating a strong loyalty,” said Menichini. “Philanthropy and giving back is a part of our culture, from the top-down with owner Harris Rosen. He’s incredibly philanthropic because it’s the right thing to do, and this also allows our sales team opportunities to give back, too, and to support our clients’ own philanthropic efforts in a grassroots way.”

Of her very public boss Menichini said, “Mr. Rosen allows you to grow and respects your opinion as well as the decision-making process. We have several women in key positions within our company,” she said. “Our voices are definitely heard.”

Menichini says she never really had to consider whether the playing field is level for women in the hospitality industry. “I believe that if you have the desire, passion, work ethic and commitment along with loyalty, one would be acknowledged and appreciated for what they could bring to the table and awarded accordingly.”

Along with Rosen, Menichini says she has high regard for the head of another hospitality icon. “For the strength of a woman, I would like to emulate Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines,” she said. “I admire her business savvy. She is brilliant. She is global. She is a relationship builder, customer driver of loyalty, well-versed in politics and education, and a hospitality leader.”

Menichini says she also has a great deal of admiration for the Orlando hospitality market. “Being known as the world’s number one family destination is a great advantage for groups looking for a clean, family-friendly environment, entertainment and fun,” she said. “But what makes us truly different is the commitment of the entire Orlando hospitality industry’s dedication to our destination. I truly believe that our entire hospitality community comes together for the betterment of the industry overall.”

Alla famiglia, Orlando!

For more information visit www.visitorlando.com

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About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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  • dear leslie Menichini
    Just a quick note to let you know how very proud I am of you and your success story.
    You are truly a very special person with a great knowledge of your industry. You have a heart of gold treat people with respect. Just think, it all started in a family restaurant, and bar on Hamilton street in Madison Wisconsin. Look at you now!
    I’m so happy to say that you are my sister!
    Love you more today than yesterday!