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2013 - 06 June

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Supplier Stands Out with More than 100 Certified Associates

Bree Lewis HD supply The Educational Institute interviews Bree Lewis, CMHS, Senior Manager of Industry Development for HD Supply. She is responsible for association engagement, overseeing the management of value proposition initiatives, industry research, and strategic plan development. She is a member of the AH&LA Women in Lodging Council and Latino Hotel & Restaurant Association Board of Directors.

Q: What products and services do you provide to the hospitality industry?
A:
HD Supply Facilities Maintenance is one of nation's largest providers of operating supplies, maintenance products and FF&E. We are a single source with products to operate any hotel from plumbing to linens to HVAC to guest room amenities. We have property improvement project experts that help our customers with design services, project management and renovations product procurement and brand specialists that are brand experts to support those going through a brand conversion.

Q: What are some of the trends impacting your work with hospitality now? Is sustainability a major factor?
A:
With the economic recovery, we see more renovations and re-positioning. As the new construction pipeline comes to fruition, the existing properties are looking for ways to remain competitive. Sustainability is a factor; anything that can save money is a focus. We are definitely seeing the adoption of sustainable lighting technology, such as LED, especially where the local utility is offering a rebate. The rebates decrease the time to see your return on investment. Everyone likes that. In addition, we see more guest rooms being updated that include Top of Bed initiatives.

Q: How did HD Supply learn about the Certified Master Hotel Supplier certification?
A:
We have been members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association for quite some time and have been actively engaged in committees and events. As such we were well aware of the Educational Institute and the certifications offered. A number of us went through the program when it was simply the Master Hotel Supplier. Geoff Feingold, Director of National Accounts and current chair of the Allied Executive Council worked with other allied members and EI to update the program, including the ability to test online. Since then we have been putting through our associates at a faster pace. I took my exam in 2009 in the Orlando EI office; I live in San Diego. It's so much more convenient for our associates across the country to take the exam online.

Q: What did you see as the main benefits to having employees pursue this certification?
A:
The certification provides tangible evidence of our associate's expertise. Many of our associates come from the industry either as hotel operators or brand/corporate management. They have been in the shoes of our customers. For those who have not worked the industry, completing the curriculum required for certification provides an in depth understanding of the industry. In addition, it gives the associate more confidence and credibility when talking with a Director of Engineering, Executive Housekeeper or even a General Manager. This knowledge helps us to provide solutions to our customers. Of our 160 hospitality sales associates that deal directly with the lodging properties, 110 have earned their CMHS. Our goal is for each of our associates that interact with our hospitality customers to achieve certification.

Q: How has earning the CMHS made a difference in your associates' interactions with hospitality clients?
A:
We have received positive feedback from the associates who have earned the CMHS. Each associate is proud to wear their pin and include the designation on their business cards and e-mail signature. The hospitality sales team has stated that because of the certification process they now have a better understanding of the purchasing process within a hotel and all of the various departments. They definitely have a higher confidence level and are better prepared to respond to our customers' needs. As our business continues to grow and the associates are growing their sales portfolios, the sense of pride continues to grow bigger.

Q: Have you had any comments from your hospitality customers regarding having a CMHS-certified HD Supply representative?
A:
Those customers that understand or are aware of certification, definitely ask about the pin and it becomes an easy icebreaker and for those that are not aware we are educating them and that adds to the prestige of the certification. As an example, Upper Management from a Major hotel company was impressed and responded positively when we reinforced the fact that more than 100 of our Hospitality Specialists were CMHS certified. This helped the customer understand that HD Supply is serious about being experts in the Hospitality Industry so we can better serve our clients.

Published June, 2013.

About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

Common Guest Service Philosophy Unites AHLEI and New Partner Welkom-Expertise

Welcome Enterprises 2013 newsletter While attending the AMFORHT forum in Paris last fall, AHLEI's international vice president of sales Ed Kastli met Michel Thomas, director general, France and Monaco, of Welkom-expertise International, a hospitality training organization. They soon discovered that they both shared the same vision of the importance represented by high quality service. They spent a lot of time discussing guest service philosophy and how hotel staff can be more effective in the role of "ambassador of their company." Ed later visited with them in March of this year at their office located in Nice as seen here in the photo.

With AHLEI and Welkom-expertise sharing the same ideas, Thomas, a 30-year hospitality industry veteran, decided to give the opportunity for the company to become a European partner of AHLEI. Originally set up to deal with business image to expand communication for companies and individuals, Welkom-expertise now specializes in hotel and tourism industry training. All of the company's trainers have hotel and tourism industry experience as well as experience in training adults.

As an AHLEI partner, Welkom-expertise promotes and utilizes the Guest Service Gold training program and the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) certification in France, and also offers supervisors the Supervisory Skill Builders training program and the Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) designation.

"For Welkom-expertise, there is no doubt that the way hotel staff act, the way they welcome their guests, determines the perception of the hotel by its customers, its competitors and the hospitality marketplace," said Thomas. "Along with AHLEI, Welkom-expertise hope to reinforce its presence on the French market teaching hospitality employees how to act in a professional manner, communicate well and interact positively with others, turn an 'ordinary ' job into an 'extraordinary' one, refine communication skills and polish professional image, get a better knowledge in etiquette and international protocol, and discover the keys to customer service excellence."

With their commitment to providing effective hospitality training and with their belief in the Guest Service Gold training program, Welkom-expertise undertook the translation of the workbook and the subtitling of the DVD in French.

Published June, 2013.


About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

Lee County VCB Recognizes First Class of Certified Guest Service Professionals

Lee County VCB 2013 newsletter In pursuit of its goal to become the first Certified Guest Service Destination, the Lee County (FL) Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) recently presented the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) certification to its first class of 12. The participants of this first class represented a hotel, vacation rentals, transportation, airport, VCB volunteers, and employees of a city-run recreation center.

"Being the first Certified Guest Service Destination partner is a real honor," said Tamara Pigott, VCB executive director. "The fact that everyone in the program passed is a testament to the training provided and the commitment by our partners. Knowing how to make every guest's visit enjoyable and memorable is the cornerstone to every successful hospitality entity."

To earn the certification, participants completed the VCB's seven-module Guests First Customer Service Training Program, than sat for the Certified Guest Service Professional exam. Typically, those pursuing the CGSP certification go through EI's Guest Service Gold training program; however, the Guests First program encompasses many of the same concepts. The Lee County VCB plans two more CGSP exam sessions this summer, and will continue to offer them periodically throughout the year.

Published June, 2013.


About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

Galt House Trains to Be the Best

Galt House 2013 Newsletter When your goal is to be the best, you seek out partners who can help you achieve that goal. That's why the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, turned to the Educational Institute to provide its associates with the best in guest service training and professional development resources.

"Our vision is to be the best meeting and convention hotel in the region, and our mission states that we are committed to being the best through innovation, continuous improvement, and flawless execution," explained Stefanie Jenkins, manager of learning and development for the Galt House Hotel. "For us, continuous improvement means professional development. And professional development includes professional certification."

Back in February, Galt House rolled out its program of "professional development through professional certification" for all staff-from the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) for guest service associates through department head and executive-level certification, including the Certified Hospitality Housekeeping Executive (CHHE®), Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE®), and the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®). Jenkins will sit for the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT®) exam in July.

"When managers ask 'how can I make myself and my team better,' the answer is through professional development," said Jenkins. "The more I work on me, the more I can help build my team. As a trainer, I want to bring them the skill set they need to become that innovative leader who can build their team."

The hotel requires 24 hours of training as an essential part of an associate's evaluation-earning a professional certification from EI meets that requirement and results in an "exceptional" rating.

"Partnering with people in our industry is essential, people who are the best at what they do, who have a proven track record," said Jenkins. "EI understands who we are as a business. They speak the same language we do-the language of hospitality."

With 600 to 800 employees at the 1290-room property, training and certification is a long-term project for Galt House and EI. Jenkins was excited about the stack of 32 Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) applications on her desk and even more excited about the interaction among those supervisors and managers in the training class.

"We had new and experienced supervisors together, reaching out to each other, sharing across departments," she said. "There was power in getting people out of their silos and sharing experiences. Everyone was learning and growing together." As a place that calls itself "the heart of Louisville," Galt House takes pride in making sure that its expression of heart, hospitality, and caring pervades every aspect of its business.

"We show we care by training and by supporting the professional development of every associate at every level," said Jenkins. "We want to give our associates the tools they need to do their jobs."

Published June, 2013.

About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute's mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

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