All last week Discover Lehigh Valley hosted the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance (MATPRA) Media Marketplace. I personally had a blast showing off Lehigh Valley to this group of travel writers and representatives from other Mid-Atlantic destination marketing organizations. There are so many stories to tell…here is just one.

The participants arrived on Tuesday the 18th which happened to be the worst weather day in a long time. Torrential downpours came in waves all day long. We were even under a tornado watch! One by one our guests checked in, all with harrowing tales of their journeys and happy to have arrived safely at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Some stayed in the beautiful Hyatt Place around the corner.

Our adventure packed week was set to kick off with a dinner at Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Just two hours before our scheduled departure we were told that the storms had knocked out the power at the park. No lights, no air conditioning, more importantly, no way to cook the feast planned. Totally out of our control…enter “plan B”.

“Plan B” was a quick consultation with the good folks at the “Hotel B”. Could they handle an unplanned dinner, in two hours, for 130 guests?  After a quick discussion among the various departments, we were told “certainly!"

I imagine the kitchen kicking in to high gear like an episode of “Chopped” on steroids. Day time staff and servers prepared for an unexpected second shift and others were called in last minute.  This is just the situation that separates a good hotel from an exceptional one, and the Historic Hotel Bethlehem rose to the occasion.

Our guests were duly impressed with the buffet offered as well as the service and were actually relieved they didn’t have to go back out in the rain. My favorite story came from when I ordered a glass of wine at the lobby bar. I asked the bartender if she was on a second shift for the day. She said no, she just got there. She then followed by saying “I used to work here and I live down the street. They called, I cancelled my planned dinner and came in.”

That’s hospitality…that’s Lehigh Valley.