Alberta Travis is as much of a fixture at The Holly Inn as the signature heart of pine floors and the Tiffany lamps that gives the hotel a warm glow.
Often the first person you see upon entering the 121-year-old establishment, she’s quick to offer an upbeat “Hello.” In fact, Alberta is so synonymous with The Holly, its nickname is “Bert’s Place.”
When Alberta was hired as a housekeeper back in 1996, her supervisor sensed she wouldn’t be behind the scenes for long. She is, after all, a self-proclaimed people person.
Her work at The Manor Inn led to a friendship with the front desk clerk who offered to share a few tricks of the trade. Alberta would sneak down for a quick lesson whenever she had a free moment. When the clerk was out sick for an extended period of time, it was Alberta who offered to fill in.
After a few weeks, it was clear she had found her niche. When The Holly reopened after renovations in 1999, Alberta was tasked with manning the front desk. A year later, she was promoted to front desk supervisor, a role she’s held ever since.
Alberta’s wide smile and cheerful personality are hard to forget. She’s constantly recognized by guests for her ability to make The Holly Inn feel like home.
“You kind of accumulate family members over time. You get to know people and you really care about them.” – Alberta Travis
“The Pinehurst experience is not complete without having the chance to interact and meet Alberta,” said Rooms Division Director Matt Chriscoe.
For Alberta, the joy of working the front desk is meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.
“It’s never felt like work,” she said. “My husband always tells people ‘My wife wakes up every morning with that smile on her face, so I know she enjoys her job.’”
After nearly 17 years at The Holly, Alberta has come to know and love quite a few repeat guests.
“You kind of accumulate family members over time,” she said. “You get to know people and you really care about them.”
As a training supervisor, Alberta helped initiate the Red Star Repeat Guest Program. Developed in 2014, the goal of the program is to recognize and retain first-time guests by creating a positive first impression.
The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association will recognize Alberta for her accomplishments later this month when she receives the award for Front Line Employee of the Year. Matt recently surprised her with the news during a senior staff meeting.
“She leaves an impression with her kind smile, genuine desire to assist and overall knowledge and skill,” Matt said.
Alberta and her husband, Andre, are avid bowlers, so when she isn’t at work you’ll find her perfecting her strike. She’s a member of two local leagues and often competes in regional tournaments.
She also enjoys whipping up Southern delicacies like collards, pintos and cornbread.
“I love to cook and watch everyone eat,” she said. “My fun comes from the enjoyment.”
Alberta and Andre have four adult children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“Almost everyone in my family has worked here at some point,” she said. “For us, Pinehurst is family.”