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2014 - 02 February

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Guest Service Gold® Brings Positive Changes for Panamanian Property

Guest Service Gold® Brings Positive Changes for Panamanian Property How does a property teach its naturally-shy employees to step out of their shells to deliver service that makes guests smile and ratings soar? For the Holiday Inn City of Knowledge in Panama City, Panama, training the entire hotel with AHLEI's Guest Service Gold® and certifying the staff as Certified Guest Service Professionals (CGSP®) was the key to success. 

The property is affiliated with the Panama International Hotel School, one of AHLEI's Global Academic Partner schools, under the direction of Thierry Eck, CHA, CHE, and Julian Wood.  The school undertook the Spanish translation of AHLEI's Guest Service Gold® training materials, and used the program to teach guest service principles to the hotel staff. 

"It was a strategic decision to promote a culture of quality throughout the hotel," said Eck.  "Tourism is a new industry in Panama, so we were starting from scratch.  In Panama, people are more shy-it's not natural for them to make small talk and converse with guests, so it may seem as if they are not delivering good guest service.  Any program that helps employees to move away from being shy is a positive thing."  View testimonial here.

Eck explained that more than 80 hotel employees went through the Guest Service Gold® training during a three-day period.  In addition, employees were also taught about parent company IHG's quality control system and international standards, so that they could understand how all of the concepts worked together. 

"By doing the whole hotel, the training brought everyone together," said Wood. "This was a very big deal for the employees, especially the back of the house people-it was their first time to receive service training.  It was major for them to feel that they, too, have an important role in providing service." 

The highlight of the training was having the employees receive their Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) pins after passing the certification exam at the end of the training. 

"The employees feel great about getting their pins, and about the people part of this project-they are all engaged in making the hotel a success," stated Eck.  "They definitely make sure they have their pin on, and you can see them being more attentive to guest needs and engaging with guests on a personal level." 

Wood added that for some employees, who may have little formal education, earning the CGSP® designation is like "getting a high school diploma.  It has strong value for them." 

The value to the property has been evident, too.  Eck reported that the hotel's TripAdvisor® rose from #42 to #6, while its IHG rating has also been steadily improving.   For Wood, the proof is in guest comments.  On a trip from Panama to Orlando (to visit AHLEI), Wood discovered that his seatmate on the flight had recently stayed at the Holiday Inn City of Knowledge, so he inquired about the man's stay. 

"He was pleased.  He mentioned the personal service and said he had a very positive experience," said Wood. "That told me everything I needed to know." 

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.

Cintas Managers Pursue CMHS to Develop Stronger Bond with Hospitality Industry

Cintas Managers Pursue CMHS to Develop Stronger Bond with Hospitality Industry As hospitality supplier Cintas has grown from a provider of uniforms to a source for a wide range of hospitality solutions including apparel, sanitation, and safety compliance, the company realized the need to do something that would show their hospitality customers how committed they are to serving them.  To do that, Cintas chose to put members of their national field sales team through the Certified Master Hospitality Supplier (CMHS) program offered by the Educational Institute. 

"We need to make sure our sales people are attuned to the hospitality industry, so we can help our customers enhance their guest experience and employee engagement," explained Bob Leon, CMHS, Senior Development Specialist, Cintas.  "If we don't understand how a hotel runs, how can we help them?" 

Last fall, Cintas had 28 hospitality image consultants, major account managers and global accounts managers prepare for and take the CMHS certification exam.  A second group of eight national field sales team members completed the CMHS in December. Based on their success, the company plans to continue offering the program to global account managers who qualify.  Leon explained that being selected to pursue the CMHS designation is a privilege for the company's high-performing employees who are working hard and making sales goals. 

Leon, who earned the CMHS with the first group of Cintas managers, said that the study materials for the certification provided a lot of "ah-ha" moments for him and others.  "It opened our eyes to how we need to be approaching our relationship with the hospitality industry," he said.  "We have a greater understanding of the relationships between the departments in a hotel, and we better understand how we can be a strategic partner with our customers to help them with their needs." 

Leon said that Cintas managers have received a lot of positive feedback from hospitality clients who know what the CMHS is and what it takes to earn it.  "General managers, housekeeping directors, and purchasing managers have told us that the CMHS shows them that we-Cintas-are committed to the industry and they feel a stronger rapport with us," Leon states.  "It's a two-way street-we're learning more and the clients recognize that.  We are taking steps to make their life easier.  Having the CMHS designation shows our customers that we want to be an asset, a partner, and not just another supplier." 

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.

Free Train the Trainer Sessions for CHIA Certification

The STR SHARE Center will be conducting free Train the Trainer sessions for the "Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics." Here are several upcoming events in Europe, Asia, and the US:

• February 17 and 18, at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK (just outside of London, hosted by Maureen Brookes) There are a limited number of seats remaining.
• March 7 and 8, at the STR office in Hendersonville, Tennessee (Nashville suburb)
• April 24 and 25, at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada (hosted by Joe Barth and Justin Taillon)
• May 21, at Taylor's University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (prior to the Asia-Pacific CHRIE Conference).
• July 28 and 29, at San Diego State University, San Diego, California (prior to the CHRIE Conference).
• October 3 and 4, Friday and Saturday, at Emirates Academy (prior to the EuroCHRIE Conference).

The "CHIA" certification for students and professors is being jointly offered by EI, ICHRIE, and the STR. More than 600 students have received the certification since its launch last year. There are 125 schools and 220 professors involved aroundthe world. If you would like more information about the CHIA certification, or would like to reserve a seat, please contact Steve Hood (steve@str.com) or Duane Vinson (duane@str.com). 

Albanian Tourism Project Promotes Value of AHLEI Courses and Certifications

Albanian Tourism Project Promotes Value of AHLEI Courses and Certifications USAID's Rritje Albania/Competitive Enterprise Development Project presented a program at AHLEI's Global Academic Partner (GAP) school, University Marin Barleti, in December that showcased the academic and industry training and certifications offered through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) to enhance tourism development in Albania. 

According to Nevila Popa, Tourism Expert, USAID's Rritje Albania, guest speakers included the Minister of Urban Development and Tourism and the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, and the USAID Mission Director. Rritje Albania's Victor Luboyeski gave an informative presentation on the AHLEI programs, focusing in the global leading position of the Educational Institute for hospitality programs.  The project in Albania uses the "cascade training method" that trains and certifies hospitality professionals as Certified Hospitality Trainers (CHT®), Certified Hospitality Department Trainers (CHDT®), Certified Hospitality Supervisors (CHS®), and certified line-level workers in the areas of housekeeping, front desk, and restaurant server. 

The goals of the USAID project include promoting Albania as a desirable tourist destination to increase the number of visitors to the country, and improving the quality of Albania's tourism products and services.  To help achieve those goals, and Albanian Tourism Association and USAID Rritje Albania have developed seven "Authentic Albania Quality Mark" hotel assessment dimensions, two of which-customer service and staff training/workforce development-are linked to AHLEI course topics. Trainers from across Albania managed by AHLEI's training partner in Albania, the Destination Management Organization in Korçë (DMO), will begin conducting AHLEI training and certification programs for hotels applying for the Authentic Albania Quality Mark as an initial roll-out of the cascade model. 

AHLEI's Global Academic Partner, the University Marin Barleti, which hosted the event, recently completed a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE®) workshop and exam session for 14 instructors and plans to launch its first hospitality and tourism academic programs for students in spring 2014.

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.

AHLEI Salutes Maine as PSA Sales Leader in 2013

AHLEI Salutes Maine as PSA Sales Leader in 2013 The Maine Innkeepers Association, under the leadership of Greg Dugal, has been recognized by the Educational Institute for achieving the highest percentage increase in their year-over-year sales of AHLEI products among all American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Partner State Associations (PSA) in 2013. PSAs are state-level hospitality associations that are affiliated with AH&LA and promote the sales of AHLEI products to their members. 

Maine was the first of many states who made progress in their sales goals last year. According to Shelly Weir, AHLEI's vice president, domestic sales, a record-breaking 25 states increased their year-over-year sales.  She noted that, as a whole, the state associations increased their sales by 113 percent.  AHLEI looks forward to another terrific year working with the PSAs to provide AHLEI's training, education, and certification resources to members. 

The following states exceeded their goals:

Alabama
Alaska
Colorado
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland                                   

Massachusetts
New Hampshire
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin
Wyoming 

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.

New Online Program Tackles Serious Topic of Child Trafficking at Hotels

The Educational Institute and ECPAT-USA have developed a new online training program for hotel employees, "The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reacting to Child Trafficking." The 30-minute course, which was made possible through funding by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) provides hotel staff and managers with the information they need to identify and respond to crimes of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

The course explains the risks trafficking can pose to properties, provides a list of signs and behaviors that may indicate child trafficking, and offers steps to respond to the situation in ways that minimize risk. The training incorporates audio and video clips, interactive knowledge checks and a 10-question quiz, leading to a certificate of completion. 

"Child trafficking is an ugly reality, but one which hospitality and tourism professionals must recognize and respond to," said Robert L. Steele III, CHA, president and COO of the Educational Institute. "This online course presents the facts about child trafficking in a format that makes it easy for every employee to learn what to look for and how to react appropriately. This knowledge is essential for all who work in our industry today."

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.

Online Course Shows Employees Their Role in Reputation Management of Their Property

Tens of millions of travelers share reviews of their hotel stays on TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel ratings website, and millions of others read those reviews when planning trips for business and pleasure. Managing a property's online reputation is essential, as guest reviews contribute-positively or negatively-to a property's bottom line. "TripAdvisor® Reputation Management for Front-Line Staff," an online program developed by the Educational Institute and TripAdvisor®, provides clear information on how staff can encourage positive reviews by providing exceptional guest service. 

This reputation management course provides an overview of the site, including an explanation of TripAdvisor's popularity rankings. Employees learn where negative reviews come from and how employee involvement can impact guest satisfaction. They gain an awareness of management responsibilities and their own roles in the review process. The course provides tips on acceptable ways to ask guests for reviews, as well as information on TripAdvisor's policies on fraud, threats, and blackmail. Learning is assessed using "What Do You Think?" questions throughout the course and an end-of-course quiz. Those who pass the quiz with a score of 80% or higher can print out a certification of completion. 

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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