Would you like to know how Kelowna’s Manteo Resort is creating one of the finest resort experiences in the Okanagan, one that’s on par with top resort destinations in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest?
Manteo attributes much of its success to three undertakings: conducting “vibe chats” with staff; the recent development of a new position of Quality Service Manager (QSM); and the careful hiring of staff. These initiatives have all made a positive impact on Manteo’s bottom line, resulting in more guest repeat visits and referrals, higher daily average rates, and exceptionally low staff turnover.
INSIGHT FROM EMPLOYEES IMPROVES GUEST EXPERIENCE
“Vibe chats” are quarterly meetings where the employees’ voices are heard by upper management. Staff are asked to comment on what’s working and what’s not with regard to guests. This information is presented to the management team, which takes the information seriously and acts on the employee’s concerns immediately. Management’s quick response allows the team members to see the results and develop confidence in the system.
The human resources manager meets with the managers of each of the seven departments: food & beverage, kitchen, front office, housekeeping, maintenance, activities and retail, and sales. At this time, the results of the vibe chats are discussed, and if there are ongoing concerns, the HR manager develops an action plan for each department. If concerns are common to all departments, an action plan is developed to address all areas of the organization.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE QSM
The Quality Service Manager spends one day per week in each department to assist in achieving exceptional service standards. By spending only one day per week in each department, there is no fear that a manager will pass off responsibilities to the QSM. The QSM follows Manteo’s 10 key guest service standards, and continuously strives for excellence in all areas of the resort while maintaining a high level of customer service. The management team and its employees came up with these standards, which helped create the QSM position and goal. The QSM sees things from a guest’s perspective and works alongside the staff, ensuring that they have the right systems in place to do their jobs.
As a rule, each department is required to have a minimum of eight staff meetings per year. The QSM attends these meetings and develops observation reports, keeping in mind that the managers have their own goals and targets. The observation reports are provided to the managers by the QSM, and the General Manager follows up to ensure that everyone is accountable for their respective departments. The human resources manager then completes an audit as the first step in a ongoing training program for the managers.
Although the hiring of the QSM is a long-term investment, results already show in the the bottom line. “Repeat business on the rooms and lots of business referrals for groups and conferences are indicators that the position is paying off,” says Heather Schroeter, Manteo’s general manager.
Although Manteo’s executives are confident that they already offer a quality product, the company’s goals are to continue raising the bar with regard to the service that it offers. All of the managers are working together to achieve the resort’s goal of providing the best service in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.
START BY HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Manteo also puts a lot of effort into hiring their employees; indeed, it is seen as “the most important thing,” says human resources manager Kim Desrosier. She and her colleagues believe that when the right employee is chosen, that employee can easily be trained. Manteo has an 85 per cent retention rate, including both seasonal and full-time staff. There are also those who have gone away to other organizations and have returned because they realized that Manteo was the best place to work. In fact, Heather Schroeter says that Manteo offers many of the most sought-after job postings for hospitality professionals in the Okanagan.
THE KEY TO MANTEO’S SUCCESS
The success in service quality at the resort is measured by the positive remarks on the comment cards, repeat business, and positive financial results, such as higher-than-average checks and a high daily rate. Guests at the resort seem to be using more of the amenities, and as a result are paying more. All of these successes at Manteo result the extra effort put into ensuring that staff listen to guests, managers listen to staff, and the right people are hired and trained accordingly.