The New Meaning of Hospitality
with mary catherine moore, shinola hotel
On the new meaning of hospitality, and giving clients a world to escape to
With Mary Catherine Moore, Shinola Hotel’s Director of Events and Catering
Shinola Hotel is, without a doubt, one of the coolest event spaces in Detroit.
The sophisticated watch brand, known for their clean yet fashion-forward designs, made a splash when it landed in the Motor City in a brand new outfit – a hotel and event space. The property ‘embodies the pride and ingenuity of Detroit with unparalleled design’ and the energy it has brought to the scene is palpable. I have been fortunate enough to design and produce a few stellar celebrations at Shinola and in this episode of Friend of a Friend, the Director of Events & Catering, Mary Catherine Moore, takes some time to share her story. Naturally, our conversation went to the evolving nature of hospitality in respect to a brand’s values and the opportunity to connect with guests in a new way.
Mary Catherine relocated to Detroit to launch The Shinola Hotel after nearly eight years living in New York City.
“I came out for 36 hours to look at the Hotel, and spend some time in Detroit, and decided to make the move… on the flight home. I think I felt that potential, and then I definitely was sold on working with the Shinola brand and being able to open a new program. So it was kind of just a lot all at once, and I went with my gut. It has paid off.” Mary Catherine said.
It sure has paid off. Even while living on the west coast for nearly 10 years, my hometown Detroit pride has always run deep, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that Detroit had left an impression on her. There’s a grit and work-ethic that exists here in the Midwest that is unlike any other region, and also a deep warmth and sense of inclusivity that both Mary Catherine and I agreed is such a rare mixture of qualities in a place.
Naturally, this brings us to the people behind the Shinola brand, and we couldn’t help but touch on how the hospitality industry will look different post pandemic.
“Luxury or high touch service is going to become, and I think has [already] become synonymous with safety. And how we take care of the guests. Not just how we take care of you in terms of making you comfortable. But how do we physically take care of your wellness?” said Mary Catherine. And it goes beyond just the physical body to the mental experience – or escape, rather, that hotels and restaurants can offer. “So your server is wearing masks and gloves and we’re sanitizing tables but if even in those two hours, [you] kind of forget where you are and just enjoy some amazing homemade pasta and a really good glass of Barolo then we’ve done a new service. It’s a new level of hospitality.”
And last but certainly not least, be sure to tune in to hear how this incredible New York Times ad came to be (here’s a hint: Don’t mess with Detroit).