The Hyatt's On-Site Lobbyist

Antonio Price, 23, started as a hotel security guard at the Hyatt Regency Washington in May.
Antonio Price, 23, started as a hotel security guard at the Hyatt Regency Washington in May. (By Tammy Hagin)
Monday, September 8, 2008

The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is known as a stopover for lobbyists looking to kill an annoying bill or save a favorite tax break.

So it's no stretch that the hotel has its own lobbyist, of sorts.

Antonio Price, 23, started as a chatty hotel security guard in May and was recently promoted to the newly created post of "lobbyist." His job: meet and greet hotel guests, offering a helping hand and a little direction on their way to and from their rooms.

"People were coming through with a lost look on their faces and trying to get to their meeting rooms, check in to the hotel or trying to find the elevator," said Price, who attended Anacostia High School in Southeast Washington. "So I practice the 'Five and 10 Rule.' When a guest comes within five or 10 feet, you look them in the eye and say good morning, good afternoon or whichever is appropriate."

Price is a youth minister at the Greater Fellowship Full Gospel Baptist Church in Southeast, where he teaches Bible studies and takes children and young adults to water parks and summer camp. The graduate of Washington Bible College in Lanham wants to start his own church someday and be a senior pastor.

Hyatt Regency senior director Shaheryar Adil said he saw something special in Price, so he asked him whether he was interested in trading in his security guard earpiece for a blue Calvin Klein suit.

"He was a walking poster for customer service," Adil said.

Price didn't get an hourly raise, but the hotel increased his daily hours from eight to 10, which means he makes more money. And he got the two Calvin Klein suits, shoes, white shirts -- and the hotel pays for the dry cleaning.

"I would have to say, I am overjoyed and pleasantly pleased," Price said.

-- Thomas Heath

© 2008 The Washington Post Company