Mike Anderson, GM at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf, the first-ever Canopy to open in North America, said ensuring guests and employees feel comfortable in their own shoes is a big part of Canopy’s mission.
WASHINGTON—The key to running the first Canopy by Hilton property in North America is encouraging guests and employees to be themselves, according to the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf’s GM, better known as its chief enthusiast, Mike Anderson.
The hotel opened in October as part of the grand opening celebration for phase one of The Wharf development, a new neighborhood filled with restaurants, hotels, apartments and more. Phase two of the development will start next year, Anderson said.
Being part of the unique Wharf neighborhood and the Canopy brand, and having an effect on job creation in the D.C. market, has been a humbling experience, he said.
The mission of Canopy is to encourage both guests and associates, better known as enthusiasts within the brand, to feel comfortable in their own shoes, Anderson said, which is exciting for him.
“That’s what Canopy is all about,” he said. “Being who you are and delivering an honest approach to service.”
Before running the first-ever Canopy in North America, Anderson landed his first GM role at a dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites in Rockville, Maryland, in 2011. He also served as the GM at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Columbia, Maryland, under Urgo Hotels and Resorts.
Anderson worked under Urgo for a while, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf, he said. Concord Hospitality reached out to him about the opportunity at the Canopy via LinkedIn about a year ago, he said.
“I looked into it and it was just such an amazing opportunity,” he said, “and to be a part of something so special and so unique, it was difficult to pass up, so I went through the process and finally ended up getting the job.”
Anderson studied hospitality at Penn State University, he said, but knew long before college that he wanted to be in the hotel business.
“Growing up as a kid, we would always do road trips and stuff like that, but I would always try to convince my parents to stay at a hotel,” he said. “I actually remember … those old AAA books where it lists all the hotels, I’d be in the back reading it in the station wagon, finding out if (the hotel) had a pool, no matter what hotel it was, I just wanted to experience it and stay (in a hotel). It was always fun to me.”
The Wharf’s close proximity to the waterfront and a variety of other amenities in D.C. will help attract leisure travelers to the area and the hotel, Anderson said.
“The accessibility to the metro, to Reagan airport, many major roadways (make it) easy to get in and out of D.C., Maryland or Virginia; we’re in a really good spot in the southwest part of D.C.,” he said. “…We’re also four blocks from the National Mall, and that’s a huge draw for that customer to be able to come and experience The Wharf, great restaurants, amazing activities … and then to be able to get to the Smithsonian museum and get to the monuments so easily. That’s really going to help us be a great destination for a lot of our travelers.”
Washington, D.C., is a business hub, Anderson said, which makes Canopy an attractive option for corporate guests.
“There’s a lot of government business in D.C., which is a great driver for us,” he said. “The convention center does an amazing job, and we work very closely with Destination D.C. … There’s a lot of new hotel rooms that just entered the market with this southwest development and The Wharf, so I think that’s also going to be a key driver for us.”
Editor’s note: Hilton paid for airfare expenses and comped two roomnights at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC The Wharf, where the interview for this article took place. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of the Hotel News Now editorial team; Hilton had no influence on the coverage provided.