Keriann Smith: I Want People To Feel Welcomed

– by Cara Aungst

Keriann Smith came to Happy Valley to get her degree in Hospitality Management from Penn State. She got a lot more in return. “I instantly fell in love with Happy Valley and the community,” she said. “I love being outdoors whether it’s snowboarding in the winter or One-Wheeling in the summer.”

Keriann Smith1

[Editor's note: Keriann Smith has accepted a new position as Programs and Events Manager with the Pennsylvania State University School of Hospitality Management since this interview was conducted. We wish Keriann the best in her new hospitality adventure!]

During her time in Happy Valley, she’s had amazing experiences with various hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and more. She served as the sales manager of Hyatt Place when it opened, and today she’s the director of sales for the 2022 “Best of Choice,” Comfort Suites near Penn State, working for the hospitality management company that she interned with during college.

Keriann said that HFL Hotels struggled with the decline of travelers during COVID just as many other hotels did, but they were able to keep all of their staff on board and working throughout the pandemic. In fact, in 2022, the Comfort Suites was awarded the “Best of Choice” award.

Keriann Smith

She says that their team has worked incredibly hard to create a haven for their guests, and it shows. “Our team is a diverse ‘family’ and we love it when guests consider us a home away from home,” she said.

She says that her role has helped her to network and give back. “I’ve been able to meet so many people and key players in the community. Plus, it has enabled me to give back in ways that I could have never imagined possible.”

She says that giving back makes a positive impact in people’s lives and the community, and helps her to reach her ultimate goal for guests at Comfort Suites.

“I want people to feel just as welcomed to Happy Valley as I did when I moved here.”

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