Being able to help provide a great vacation experience for people visiting a new area is an element of her job that Janette Raspatello thrives on as sales manager at Best Western Plus University Park Inn and Suites in State College.
In her first year at the new hotel, Raspatello is enjoying numerous aspects of her job.
"Knowledge of everything going on in 'Happy Valley' and really being able to know so many people from so many different walks of life are some of my favorite things about my job," Raspatello said. "People work hard for a living and deserve a break in life. There is so much to do in Happy Valley that people don’t even realize and I try to recommend all the hidden activities."
Although the Best Western is a new facility, Raspatello is not new to the industry, having worked for three years at the Country Inn and Suites at the Baltimore Washington Airport.
She emphasized that "getting everyone in the world" to stay at the Best Western Plus University Park Inn and Suites in State College is her main duty. Among her biggest challenges is trying to get people to realize what a great hotel the establishment is.
"Once people stay here, they love it," Raspatello said. "We are a green-certified hotel and have an energy-efficient electric system, and it is really neat to introduce people to the future of what people are going to see in most hotels."
According to Raspatello, an opportunity to work in the hotel industry presented itself while she was employed at a restaurant. She spent seven years in the restaurant business before moving to the hospitality field.
"I also had lived in Ocean City, Md. and Hawaii during my summers of college and was really drawn to tourism," Raspatello said. "I recommend anyone to Google how much money is brought into areas from tourism. It is a huge business that employs more Americans that you would ever believe. No matter how much the economy goes away, people will take a vacation-- just smaller or cheaper."
Raspatello, 31, is the mother of three children: Dominic, 7, Sammy, 5 and Zoey, one week old. Together they reside in Milesburg, a town located 20 minutes north of State College.
She graduated from Elk County Christian High School in 1998 and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in psychology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
While working in Baltimore, Raspatello's high school alma mater contacted her regarding accommodations for the school's senior class trip to the area.
"It was so neat to be able to work with old teachers and see familiar faces while they enjoyed a great trip to the area. It was also nice to be able to give the teachers VIP suites and special treatment to really help them enjoy their trip," she said. "Now that I am closer to Elk County, I do see more familiar faces. We were also able to host my godchild Brady Schneider's 9/10 year-old St. Marys Curve baseball team for their tournament here last summer."
Her duties at the hotel include accommodating guests who stay for numerous days during extended business trips and many times are missing out on family events.
"I have a real heart for these people and am glad when we can make long-term visits better for them. If anyone has ever had to stay in a hotel for extended periods, it can be very hard," Raspatello said. "This field is not for everybody, but it is a very fun job to have. If you are interested more in it, I would highly encourage talking to someone directly about it because as I mentioned, it is a field that is growing and there is a sense of job security due to this, which people need in this economy.
She stated that growing up in St. Marys has instilled in her a sort of friendliness that gave her an edge working in a larger city.
"Hospitality and being from Elk County really just go together naturally," she said.
Once her maternity leave with her daughter is up, Raspatello plans to stay with her current company as they build more hotels and hopes to work in each of them.