Image of Exterior of Hotel Commonwealth on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.  Featuring exotic cars lining sidewalk including several Ferraris

November 2007.

-- Tips for Business Travelers from
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams.

Boston Hotelier Survives Perfet Storm with Style!



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This usually peaceful oasis in the hustle and bustle that is Boston, is uniquely located across the street from Boston University (BU), around the corner from Fenway Park, and only one block away from the Charles River, making the Hotel Commonwealth the ideal place to stay when visiting BU, going to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, or attending an event at the river such as the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Do you see where I'm going with this story? Let's follow the sequence of quietly mounting events through the eyes of the hotel's managing partner and General Manager, Terry Guiney:

In April, 2007, BU approached the Hotel Commonwealth to save an allotment of rooms for their Fall Parents' Weekend. “As soon as the letter went out inviting parents to the October 19 to 21 weekend of events, our occupancy for that weekend, combined with rooms already reserved for that weekend in October, brought our projected occupancy to 80%,” states Terry Guiney, the hotels managing partner and General Manager. Some time after the BU letter went out, the Hotel Commonwealth was offered the opportunity to become the sponsor of the Head of the Charles Regatta, an event, Guiney explains, that draws teams and spectators from all over the world. In typical “who can believe this” fashion, the Head of the Charles Regatta is also scheduled for October 19th weekend.

“Then,” Guiney continues, “along comes the phenomenon known as the Boston Red Sox which joyously enter the playoffs with the 6th playoff game scheduled around the corner at Fenway Park for Saturday night, October 20th. At that point,” Guiney recalls, “the Red Sox were behind Cleveland, and everybody who wanted to be in Boston for the playoffs was contacting their friends and relative associated with Fenway Park, hospitals, law firms and companies who are all clients of the Hotel Commonwealth, looking for rooms. At this point, we're sold out and trying not to disappoint anybody, “Guiney explains.

Guiney and his staff, who he describes as “dedicated and energetic,” met four times a day, comparing waiting lists with cancellations and hoping to be able to balance the mix of BU parents, Head of the Charles Regatta participants and visitors and Red Sox fans. “We met at 9am, 11am, 2pm and 5pm each day, comparing notes to see who might have cancelled and who was asking for room space, trying to get everybody in. Then there were returning guests who wanted their favorite suite or wanted a room in the back of the hotel from which you can see the “green monster,” the left field wall and the stadium's lights and those who expected us to also get them tickets to the playoff. Add to that requests from guests at other hotels who wanted access to the food tent at the Head of the Charles Regatta sponsored by the Hotel Commonwealth and its Eastern Standard Restaurant. We were clearly stretched to our limits but we managed to take care of every guest without a hitch, a glitch or a disappointment,” Guiney boasts. “During some periods, guests checking in were 30 people deep in reception and it wasn't unusual that weekend to have 80 rooms at a time ordering room service. With all 149 rooms plus the parlor of our Presidential Suite all occupied, our restaurant, Eastern Standard, having the biggest weekend ever, and our staff stretched to their limits, it was truly the Hotel Commonwealth's Perfect Storm, and we sailed through it masterfully!” Guiney concludes.

There's a reason I have high respect for GM's and Terry Guiney clearly is the quintessential General Manager. When you've survived the Perfect Storm, you know you can deal with anything.


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