JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph is home to hundreds of active-duty members and their families in base housing and single Airmen in their dormitory, but it also has its own “hotel” to serve distinguished visitors, service members on temporary duty, 12th Flying Training Wing students and other guests.
The 802nd Force Support Squadron’s Randolph Inn, a past recipient of Air Education and Training Command’s Inns of Excellence Award, encompasses 24 buildings and 388 rooms clustered in two areas on the east side of JBSA-Randolph.
A team of 80 employees – management, housekeepers, laborers and front desk, maintenance and logistics personnel – keeps the operation running smoothly.
“We operate as a family environment,” said Marina Lucia, Randolph Inn lodging manager. “We take care of our employees so they can take care of our guests.”
The lodging team is responsible for meeting the needs of guests and for upkeep of the buildings, which include visiting quarters, distinguished visitors quarters and temporary living facilities.
Lodging for students – 12th FTW students training to become pilot instructors, fighter pilots, remotely piloted aircraft pilots and RPA sensor operators – comprises 264 rooms in buildings 111, 121 and 393.
“Our main clientele are our students,” Lucia said. “The rooms in the visiting quarters are similar to one-bedroom hotel rooms with a kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom. There are also a community kitchen and game room in building 393.”
Distinguished visitors quarters consist of 76 one-bedroom suites and two two-bedroom suites in buildings 110 and 120 as well as one general officer house near the Parr Club.
Temporary living facilities – primarily for active-duty members and families who are awaiting base housing or community housing following a permanent change of station to JBSA-Randolph – include 21 three-bedroom houses and 24 one-bedroom houses.
Some of the Randolph Inn’s amenities are a fitness room in building 121 and the Hitchin’ Post Sundries Store in building 112, where the front desk and administrative offices are located.
Ensuring that the “right groups get into the right rooms” requires constant communication, Lucia said.
“It’s a lot of communication between us and five protocol offices – AETC, Air Force Personnel Center, the 12th Flying Training Wing, the 59th Medical Wing and the 502nd Air Base Wing,” she said.
Preparation also involves setting up communications for visitors and implementing security measures.
Lodging employees are responsible for a lion’s share of the work.
“We have 50 employees in housekeeping, including housekeepers, laborers and janitors,” Lucia said. “Our seven maintenance workers handle everything that’s not a major electrical or plumbing issue and accomplish a lot of in-house projects. They’re a phenomenal team.”
The team also includes five members in the logistics department who run lodging’s warehouse and handle supplies and 15 employees at the front desk who welcome visitors, answer phones and attend to other duties.
The lodging manager, assistant lodging manager, an accountant and quality assurance specialist are the administrative arm of the team.
Richard Rayos, who joined Randolph Inn as assistant lodging manager this summer after working at Air Force Village, said he and Lucia work well together.
“We basically split the oversight of the day-to day operations, which include financial forecasts, management of personnel and labor cost, monthly budget planning and overseeing the organization of all distinguished visitor visits,” he said.
Rayos said that he and Lucia also ensure compliance with Air Force Instructions, health regulations and safety standards and often inspect rooms.
“It is not uncommon for us to help housekeeping clean rooms or supply move things around,” he said. “There is no cookie-cutter approach to any given day besides verifying the financial paperwork with our accountant.”
Longevity plays a key role in the lodging team’s efficiency, Lucia said.
“Our department managers have a wealth of experience,” she said. “They just know the ins and outs of the operation and can solve any problems that arise.”
One of those managers, Sarah Baker, provides leadership for the front desk as guest representative manager, a position she has held for more than 16 years.
“I really enjoy working here,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a challenge, but challenge is good.
“Our employees handle a lot – from distinguished visitors and leisure travelers to members on temporary duty and families being relocated,” Baker continued.
Lodging’s employees take a great deal of pride in what they do each day, Rayos said.
“They care about the guests, our image and our mission,” he said.
Perhaps the greatest tribute to the Randolph Inn’s ambiance and employees comes from the guests themselves.
“We definitely get positive feedback from our guests,” Lucia said. “They say JBSA-Randolph is one of the best lodging operations in the Air Force and they want to return. They like the charm of the historic buildings and the updated comforts.”