Spotlight on Talent: The Hotel at Auburn University, Carling Whetter

by Talent Plus

September 20, 2021Articles

Carling Whetter was used to very specific calls from guests as a front desk agent at The Hotel at Auburn University. One morning, though, the guest at the other end had a more urgent tone about her request.

“A family had showed up to the hotel and checked in, and they went up on the elevator,” she recounts. “I got a call from the mom and I picked up and she said the elevator doors had closed before her son could get on and he’s still in the lobby.”

Whetter sprung to action. While the mother made her way back down, Whetter located Grayson, alone and sobbing in the lobby. She and other colleagues stayed with him until the mother came back for him.

“She mentioned that the elevator had been doing this sort of bouncing thing, and I assured her that we would have engineering look at it,” says Whetter, “then she thanked us and went back to her room.”

Later, after engineering had cleared the elevator, Whetter found that family was away from their room and left a note. Grayson’s experience struck a chord with her because her sister was scared of elevators. “I had an idea to address it to Grayson and let him know that it had been looked at and everything was ok.”

Whetter found an eagle stuffed animal and made a paper hat with “Engineering” written on it and placed it on the eagle. Then, she wrote to Grayson, letting him know that him and his team had looked at the elevator. “We left it in the room so that when Grayson would come back into the room he would know that the elevator was safe and nothing to be afraid of, but he would also would have a friend to come with him and hold on to in case he did get scared.”

Grayson’s mom shared the story on social media and ended the caption with “The Hotel at Auburn University and their employees have made Grayson’s night . . . he said it’s more magical than Disney World.”

“That made me really happy because I’ve been a lifelong Disney fan,” says Whetter, “so knowing we brought that sort of magic to Auburn was really fun to hear.”


Hannah Lewis
Auburn Guest and Greyson’s Mom

The Hotel at Auburn is a teaching hotel, exposing student staff to situations they will face at larger or more specialized hotels. How the staff react to the various situations can give clues as to their potential in the industry. Whetter’s actions were distinctive to those of individuals with a high aptitude for hospitality service.

Moreover, Whetter has shown she is hardwired to serve as her talents work together to create positive, memorable experiences for her guests. Her top five talents, as identified by Talent Plus assessments, are: Command, Service, Guest Centricity, Exactness and Caring.

In her interaction with Grayson and his family, she initiated action to fulfill the individual need of the child and his family, and in the process created rapport with the guests.

Talent Plus assessments are the bedrock of a great culture for our client partners. Not only does it allow recruiting teams to focus on those individuals with the potential to excel in their role, but tools like the Talent Card help map a development plan and validates employees by showcasing what makes them the right person for their job.

The science of human potentiality℠ discovered Carling’s Talents

Carling’s themes shine in her interaction with Greyson.
+ Initiating action
+ Fulfilling the needs of others
+ Creating rapport
+ Individualized attention

Paul Reggio, Managing Partner, Rooms Operations, has seen her in action and knows her talent is the right fit for the role. “Carling is a very competitive team member who brings genuine care to everything she does and to everyone she interacts with, whether team member or guests,” he says. “She greets everyone at the front desk with a bright smile and is always willing to assist.”

Find out more about Talent Plus’ impact in the hospitality industry here.