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2014 - 10 October

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Guest Service Gold

Lee County VCB Continues to Reap Gold through Training

Lee County VCB Continues to Reap Gold through Training The Lee County (Florida) Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB): The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel has reached the milestone of certifying its 100th Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) as part of its goal to become the nation's first Certified Guest Service Destination. The VCB began the process in October 2012, when it partnered with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) to include Guest Service Gold® and the CGSP® as part of its multifaceted Guests First Customer Service Training Program. That program consists of six or seven (for supervisors and managers) 2.5 hour modules covering all areas of tourism-focused service.

Christine Davlin, CHT, CGSP, tourism education & training manager for the Lee County VCB, noted that the training sessions are all face-to-face training offered at different locations throughout the destination. Participants begin with the "basics" class and then work through the remainder of the modules. The process takes extended time, because classes are not offered during the peak months of the tourist season.  

In October 2013, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites-The Forum in Fort Myers became the first hotel property in Lee County to earn the Certified Guest Service Property designation, signifying that all of its front-line staff had earned the CGSP® certification.  At that time, the Lee County VCB certified 40 employees from area hotels, rental properties, attractions, wildlife refuge, transportation, parks & recreation, Sanibel City, and the VCB itself. Since then, two more properties-Windward Passage Resort and Beach Club I-have earned the Certified Guest Service Property designation, and more individuals are signing up for the training modules that culminate with the CGSP® exam. 

"The momentum is building," said Davlin.  "Our classes are capped at 25 participants, and we have waiting lists for upcoming sessions. People are excited to take part and interact with their travel and tourism peers from the area. We are steadily moving forward to our goal of becoming the friendliest destination in the United States." 

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.

 

Partner Spotlight

Palestinian Partner Cascades Hospitality Training with Successful Program

Palestinian Partner Diyafa Hospitality Management & Consultants Group is AHLEI's partner in Palestine.  For the past two years, Diyafa-HMC, on behalf of the Compete Project funded by USAID, and in cooperation with the Arab Hotel Association, has organized, implemented, and supervised an extensive hospitality training program using AHLEI programs and certifications.

Diyafa-HMC was established in 2009, offering professional consulting and operational services to the hospitality industry in Palestine. As one of AHLEI's global partners, they are committed to raise services and standards to international guest expectations through education and training. 

Using the Cascade Training Model developed in Egypt, DIYAFA-HMC selected 14 trainers to go through a program delivered by AHLEI trainer Jennifer Calhoun, CHE, CHT, after which they sat for the Certified Hospitality Trainer (CHT®) exam.  These individuals (pictured) then acted as mobile trainers who delivered the Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) program to more than 100 hand-selected candidates within four regions of Palestine: East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jericho. 

Next, these supervisors conducted training for line-level staff in the housekeeping, restaurant service, and front desk areas of hotels. More than 600 participants from 51 hotels, five colleges, and eight restaurants went through the training and certification process. 

Beyond this cascade training, Diyafa-HMC also conducted certification preparation and exams for the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE®), facilitated and proctored by AHLEI trainer George Ubbelohde, CHA, CHE, CHT, and Awni Inshewat, CHA, managing partner, Diyafa-HMC. Department head certifications for housekeeping executives, food and beverage executives, and rooms division executives were also presented. 

Finally, Diyafa-HMC introduced the Guest Service Gold® training program with the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation.  Over the course of two months, 11 properties, with 300 participants, completed the program and earned the Certified Guest Service Property designation. 

Compete Project USAID held a ceremony at the Intercontinental Jericho to honor all who participated in this landmark hospitality training program.  Representatives from the hospitality sector and the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism were present to acknowledge the astounding success of this partnership.  The numbers speak for themselves-with a hospitality labor force of only 3,000, the Diyafa-HMC program trained and certified more than 1,000 employees. 

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.

Guest Column

Bring Your Good Time with You: Fun...It's More Business than You Think

Bring Your Good Time with You By Renie Cavallari

Smart leaders know that positive environments are more productive. Everyone is more productive when they feel happy. Because profitability reflects productivity, finding ways to have fun matters. The trick is to balance fun with respect for your business's culture and the need to get things done. You want the fun you have to bring the mission of your organization to life and create an emotional connection with the people who experience it. 

It's not just the boss who is responsible for creating a positive environment. Fun is everyone's job! In the same way that leadership is a behavior (not a position), fun is a mindset-not a committee. It is a perspective you choose. My father always used to say, "In life, you have to bring your good time with you." I built Aspire on this principle, and 20 years later we're still having fun…hard to believe it's been that long!

When it comes to business (or life, for that matter), there are two clear perspectives around achieving anything; there are those who focus on why things "can't be done" and those who focus on how to "get things done." Making work fun allows you to leverage positivity and connection within your team.  Connection is at the heart of synergizing your team, and it ignites creativity, alignment, and improves communication.

There is no doubt about it. When you enjoy your work, you do a better job. While the impact of engagement isn't anything new, it can still be tricky imagining ways to break the routine, especially when trying to connect the fun you have with what's special and unique about your brand or property. Actually, it isn't that hard if you think about what makes anything fun: clarity (knowing how to play) and participation (the more people play, the more fun you have). 

Trump Ocean Club Panama took being happy to a whole new level when they staged their own version of the hit song by Pharrell…and every department participated! Their smiles say it all, and if you need more convincing, their happiness is reflected in the way guests view them. 

I love this idea so much that Aspire is hosting a fun little video competition of our own, to see how other hospitality organizations are having fun out there. Join us in celebrating National Fun Week and win a one-day leadership team building session with me for up to 30 people-on us! To show you how easy it can be to have fun, Aspire made our own video to invite you to enter. Check it out!

It's time to turn up the fun and be the inspiration for fun and joy at your property or home office. HINT: Think of fun as daily doses of joy to keep your engagement meter high. Make time for fun that respects your culture and brings a smile to your team members' faces-and your guests'! I'm smiling already…

Here are a few ways to turn up your fun factor:

1. Turn on some toe-tapping music and get everyone dancing. 

The Fun Impact : Emotion comes from motion and when we are emotionally engaged in our work it creates pride, enthusiasm and positive energy.

2.  Start meetings by celebrating a recent team success or sharing a funny story. With Google, you can always find something to make people laugh out loud! Cartoons are also a great way to get people engaged and there are many free online.

The Fun Impact : Starting with a smile changes the entire meeting experience. 

3.  Create a team song (there are even apps to make it easy) or, like Trump Ocean Club, make your own fun video. It will engage everyone who participates and give them a great memory they can keep forever. Plus, everyone who sees it will want to join your fun!

The Fun Impact : People who choose to have fun in the face of hard work are the leaders who inspire us to be and do more. Be the inspiration…then show us your video for a chance to win a crazy-fun day of FREE leadership development for up to 30 people!

Fun is a mindset. Try it on. 

Renie Cavallari is an energetic coach, strategist, author, speaker, and an international marketing and leadership expert. She is the founder, CEO & Chief Instigator of Aspire, a training and strategic consulting organization that ignites change and drives results. Connect with Renie at renie@aspiremarketing.com. She loves hearing from you, plus…she's fun!

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.

Products and Services

care logo With the holiday season fast approaching and holiday dinners, parties, and other festivities on the horizon for many hospitality establishments, it's vitally important that all servers be trained in the responsible service of alcohol. That's why the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is offering 25% off its responsible alcohol service training program, Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively® (CARE) through December 31, 2014.

CARE for Servers is a one-day Seminar/Workshop, available in English or Spanish, that prepares servers with the proper knowledge of how to handle the challenges of responsible alcohol service. This training program was designed to help hospitality establishments lower their risks of liability. AHLEI completely revised the CARE for Servers program at the beginning of the year, and all customers will need to transition to the new edition by January 1, 2015. 

Employees with responsibilities for serving alcohol to guests will benefit from this important-and often mandated-service training. Servers working in hotels, restaurants, clubs, or casinos, will find that the CARE for Servers program will prepare them to balance guest service with the legal responsibilities of serving alcohol. 

• During the program servers learn to:
• Effectively monitor and control guests' alcohol consumption
• Tactfully intervene before problems arise
• Carry out their establishment's ID-checking policies and spot false identification

• Handle minors according to their operation's specific policies
• Understand the laws in their state specifically and how they affect their procedures

AHLEI scores the CARE final exam and issues Training Verification Cards to those who pass the exam with a score of 84% or higher. AHLEI also maintains training records, making it easy for properties to verify employee participation and certification and demonstrate their commitment to legally serving alcohol. 

CARE for Servers is available in print and online formats. Tiered pricing is available for volume purchases of participant materials.  AHLEI also offers a training program called CARE for Guest Contact Staff to teach employees such as front desk staff, housekeepers, and others not directly responsible for serving alcohol how to properly deal with guests who have been drinking. 

To order Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively ® and receive the 25% discount, call 1.800.344.4381 or +1.517.372.8800 and refer to offer code LEGAL .  This discount may not be combined with other pricing agreements. CARE is not available for purchase through AHLEI's online store.

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.

Workforce Development

Workforce, CTE Organizations Learn about Hotel Opportunities

Workforce organizations and educators are starting to take notice of the career opportunities that lodging offers for their clients and students, and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) is helping to spread the good news about the industry.

In August, Shelly Weir, AHLEI's vice president, domestic sales, was invited by Goodwill Industries International (GII) to present a webinar on the vast career opportunities in the hotel industry to its member centers on August 20, followed by a second webinar on October 2. Several Goodwill Industries sites currently use AHLEI workforce training resources, including the Skills, Tasks, And Results Training (START) curriculum and line-level skills training and certification programs. In addition, Weir will be hosting a training session at GIl's corporate office this month, along with human resources leaders from the industry. The purpose of the session will be to educate the corporate staff on the opportunities available in lodging and how best to integrate AHLEI curriculum and corresponding certifications into the 165 local Goodwill centers across the country,  

Goodwill Industries International recently announced a partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group's IHG Academy to offer skills development and employment opportunities to Goodwill clients. This opens up additional opportunities for AHLEI to provide training resources that will enable GII to prepare workers for hospitality careers. 

In addition to reaching out to the workforce market, Weir has also been invited to talk about career opportunities in lodging by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). In late November, Weir will represent the hotel industry at an invitation-only career fair (limited to eight industries) prior to the start of ACTE's CareerTech Vision Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Several hundred CTE directors, teachers, and guidance counselors will learn about what the hotel industry is, what career pathways are available to their students, how the industry is leading the country in job creation, and what educational resources are available to prepare students to enter the industry-specifically, AHLEI's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) high school curriculum. Following the conference, ACTE has asked AHLEI to work with them to develop additional marketing resources to help educate their 14,000 career and guidance counselors about the hotel industry, including success stories from HTMP students. 

"In conjunction with the new American Hotel & Lodging Association mission to elevate the awareness of the hotel industry, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute is proud to be partnering with Goodwill Industries International and the Association for Career and Technical Education on these important endeavors," said Weir. "It is critical that we educate students, guidance counselors, teachers and workforce leaders on the vast opportunities available within the hotel community, and showcase that industry-recognized certification programs from AHLEI help to bolster long-term career success in the lodging industry."

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.

International Sales

AHLEI Joins AMFORHT, Participates in World Forum

AHLEI Joins AMFORHT, Participates in World Forum The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has joined AMFORHT , the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training, a global hospitality network headquartered in Nice, France.  Founded in 1969, AMFORHT is an affiliate member of the UN World Tourism Organization, and has more than 250 members.

AMFORHT draws its membership from three groups:  national and international organizations and governmental agencies involved in tourism training; skilled professionals who represent hotel chains, brands, and management companies; and academic institutions that teach hospitality.  The purpose of the organization is to study and promote the development of tourism training and education to respond to new conditions in the workforce and to better prepare candidates for employment in hospitality and tourism, while also meeting the needs of current hospitality professionals. 

"AMFORHT and AHLEI share the same vision," said Ed Kastli, AHLEI's vice president, international sales.  "We want to improve the level of service and training in the global hospitality industry by reaching out to academic institutions and hospitality organizations." 

Kastli will represent AHLEI at the AMFORHT World Forum in Bologna, Italy in November. He will be joined by Steve Hood senior vice president of research for STR, who will lead a Train-the-Trainer workshop for the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) on Thursday, November 20, so that professors can offer the training and certification to their hospitality students. 

Registrations are still being accepted for the AMFORHT World Forum, November 20-22.   Click here for information on the program, registration, accommodations, and more.

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.

Success Story

Cooper's Hawk Founder is Hospitality Success Story

Cooper's Hawk Winery By Casie Shimansky, Social Media Manager

The International Drive area in Orlando, Florida, has been rapidly expanding with new attractions, hotels, and restaurants.  One of these, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants, opened in September.

Cooper's Hawk began in 2005 in Orland Park, near Chicago Illinois. It is a unique concept that blends the worlds of excellent food and distinctive wines that are all made entirely by Cooper's Hawk's private winery.  Each selected dish pairs with a Cooper's Hawk wine, and each location presents an upscale dining restaurant with a full service bar, private barrel aging room, Napa-style tasting room, and a retail gift store.

The heart of the Cooper's Hawk story is founder and CEO Tim McEnery, who is a true hospitality success story. Now 38, McEnery began his career in hospitality as an 11-year-old dishwasher. By the time he graduated from high school he was a restaurant manager, and continued his career after obtaining a bachelor's degree in restaurant and hotel management from Purdue University. He then became the general manager of Green Garden Country Club in Frankfort, Illinois. Still, McEnery had a dream for a concept unlike any other, and so the Cooper's Hawk brand was born.

McEnery knew, however, that he needed more wine knowledge and more experience in larger restaurant corporations, so as he made moves into these directions and worked diligently to expand his skills; he also spent early morning hours and late nights making plans for Cooper's Hawk. After being rejected by 12 banks, one finally committed to helping McEnery make his dream come true and at the age of 29 he opened the doors to his first Cooper's Hawk. In just nine years there are now 16 locations in seven states, with four more locations coming soon.

When asked, "Why Orlando?" McEnery responded that it only seemed to make sense for the restaurant to join the Orlando scene as the first Cooper's Hawk location in Florida was a neighbor in Tampa. They were excited to bring a location not only to the International Drive area, but also the Waterford Lakes area. While the International Drive location is, no doubt, in the heart of the Tourist District, the other location at Waterford Lakes is on the other end of town, where many locals tend to spend their time.  McEnery stated, "Cooper's Hawk creates community."  

That sentiment is certainly hard to dispute as one can look around and feel the warmth of each and every employee who is eager to please and add value to the guest's experience.  Cooper's Hawk attracts families relaxing after a day at the theme parks, couples out on a date night, and "Girls Night" festivities happening just across the way. Cooper's Hawk truly is a location of community and a welcome addition to the Orlando community.

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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