2016 - 04 April


International Spotlight

Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa signs MoU with American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute

Ecole Hotelier Lavasa Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa (LEH) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) to offer AHLEI's professional certifications for hospitality professionals. This marks the first time in India that a third-party provider will administer these hospitality industry certifications in the country.  Prior to this, hospitality executives seeking these professional certifications accreditation had to work individually through AHLEI. 

Some of the programs that will be offered are the Certified Hospitality Administrator (CHA®) , the most prestigious certification for hotel general managers the world over; the Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE®) , for those who teach hospitality at the post-secondary level; and Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®)

Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa (LEH), an affiliate of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, was established nine years ago. Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa offers students many real-world learning opportunities, including multiple-star hotels, restaurants, Convention Center, Club and outdoor catering, all within immediate access to the campus. The LEH campus, located in Lavasa, about 190 kilometers from Mumbai, is state-of-the-art, with WiFi-enabled classrooms, modern demo kitchens, a wine tasting lab and three restaurants. The core hospitality program includes two internships, with leading hotels in India and abroad. The four-year long program culminates in certification by the reputed Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Expressing his belief in the vast potential regarding the collaboration, Mr. Nathan Andrews, Director of Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa, said, "We welcome this MoU with AHLEI for the mutual development of the hospitality industry. These programs will provide for the first time an opportunity for Indian hospitality professionals to benchmark themselves to a global standard and also acquire global professional certification in a cost and time effective manner, working through a respected university." 

Ms. Joori Jeon, CPA, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, shared a similar viewpoint, saying, "AHLEI is delighted to partner with Ecole Hoteliere Lavasa to extend the reach of our internationally-respected hospitality certifications to India's hotel executives and educators.  This is a true reflection of the commitment of both AHLEI and LEH to providing the hospitality leaders of today and tomorrow with the tools they need for success."

New Global Partners Expand AHLEI’s International Presence

AHLEI has welcomed several new global partners this year, who will use AHLEI's hospitality training, education, and professional certification resources to develop current and future hospitality professionals in their areas of the world.  These new partners include: 

Key Management Solutions, LLC, Georgia . Executive director Maia Tsereteli is partnering with AHLEI to help develop a highly-skilled hospitality workforce in Georgia.  AHLEI's workforce development expertise will help KMS Georgia to address the long-term goals of the country's National Tourism Strategy for 2015-2025, which include "to develop and enhance secondary, VET, and higher education tourism and hospitality programs" and "to leverage visitor experience by providing world class visitor services." 

International Hospitality Solutions, Japan.   Under the leadership long-time hotel and restaurant professional, educator and trainer Denis Catroun, International Hospitality Solutions will offer AHLEI resources, including Guest Service Gold®, to help prepare Japan's hospitality industry to serve the many visitors who will be attending the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Arden Institute, Sri Lanka . Arden Institute is the leading school of personal and professional development in Sri Lanka, under the direction of founder and executive director Nedra Wickremesinghe. She will be incorporating AHLEI's training resources, including Guest Service Gold®, to enhance the customer service skills of hospitality professionals.

Guest Service Gold

Professional Development Leads to Gold Achievement for Good Nite Inn Properties

Good Nite Inn California is called the Golden State and the Good Nite Inn brand is doing its part to live up to that name, training employees at all 12 of its California-based properties with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute's Guest Service Gold® program.  All of the brand's associates have earned the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation, earning each hotel the designation of Certified Guest Service Property. 

"Being able to say 'I'm certified!' gives our associates confidence and empowers them to make decisions that satisfy our guests," said Sam Sahrai, CHA, CHT, CHRM, CHSP, vice president of training, sales and marketing for GNI Management, Good Nite Inn's parent  company.  As evidenced by the initials after his name, Sahrai is a huge proponent of professional development using AHLEI's professional certifications

"I've been a fan of AHLEI since the 1980s.  I was one of the first Certified Hotel Administrators, and used the old black-and-gold textbooks to earn my Rooms Division certificate of specialization, which I treasure," he said.  As he continued in his career, he earned the certifications related to the areas for which he was responsible professionally-including revenue management, sales, and training. 

When he joined GNI Management in 2004, he proposed using AHLEI resources to invest in the company's employees, starting with the leadership level. All of the company's general managers, followed by assistant general managers and operations managers, completed AHLEI's Supervisory Skills Builders series and sat for the Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®) exam.  Some of the general managers have gone on to earn the CHA® as well. 

When Guest Service Gold®: Making Connections came out in 2011, Sahrai knew that the program would help him to address Good Nite Inns' short- and long-term goals for professional development.  He introduced the program at all properties. 

"It was a great hit with the associates," he recalled.  "It was very inspirational, and something they could connect with."  However, not many employees attempted the individual certification exam that accompanied the training program.  When AHLEI added Guest Service Gold®: Golden Opportunities to the training line-up, Sahrai decided to try something different. 

"I took responsibility for leading the training for Guest Service Gold and the CGSP myself," he said.  "Over the past several months, I have visited each property.  I dedicate a whole day to spend with the associates. We have a good breakfast, snacks, a nice lunch. We make it fun, while covering the material thoroughly and answering any questions they may have to be sure everyone is ready for the exam." 

Sahrai said that his attitude and the attitude of the property managers went a long way to raising the level of enthusiasm about the training and certification.  

"You've got to be turned on yourself, to show that same commitment," he said. "If you're excited about it, it will work." 

He noted that everyone felt more confident after the training, in addition to being inspired and "pumped up."  And it has paid off in measurable ways. 

"I got a call from one general manager whose property had been #13 in TripAdvisor rankings for their community. In two months, they had moved up to #2.  Other properties report having all four- and five-star reviews on TripAdvisor-no complaints," said Sahrai.  "And one manager told me that another GM in his area was trying to recruit away one of his top associates whose name kept appearing in positive reviews!" 

Sahrai said that each property has implemented a daily huddle to gear up employees for the day and to keep the guest service culture fresh and inspired.  Associates are recognized for being mentioned by name on guest feedback cards and online reviews, as well as being celebrated for work anniversaries and birthdays. 

"When employees feel valued and know that the company is investing in them, they tend to stay," he said.   "And when you give associated the tools to do their job well and support them and help them understand what business we're in-it has results.   Ultimately, it makes us stronger as an industry." 

And that's the pot of gold everyone is looking for.

Workforce Spotlight

Mutual Goals Bring Mutual Success for CareerSource Florida and Visit Florida

Career Source Florida A blog post from CareerSource Florida clearly describes the reciprocal relationship between tourism organizations and workforce development agencies in building a vibrant and welcoming environment for travelers. 

Calling Florida a "tourism and talent leader," Adriane Grant, vice president of external affairs for CareerSource Florida, blogged about the relationship between tourism and jobs. She writes:  

"The reason we at CareerSource Florida are particularly excited about the great work that Visit Florida, the state's chief tourism marketing organization, does to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world can be summed up in one simple word: jobs . Enabled through the growth of Florida's leisure and hospitality industry, Floridians have new economic opportunities to enter, remain and advance in our state's workforce from entry-level to professional positions."  

Noting that Florida Taxwatch estimated last year that 100 million visitors in Florida would create more than 121,000 new jobs, Grant pointed out that businesses will only be able to serve those visitors if they can find the skilled talent needed to fill their increased job openings.  

That's where CareerSource and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) come in. 

Local workforce development boards such as CareerSource Central Florida , CareerSource Pinellas , and CareerSource Palm Beach County make recruitment, training and job placement in regional leisure and hospitality industries a top priority. They work with AHLEI to select the best workforce training and certification resources to effectively and efficiently train people for entry-level jobs in hospitality.  These organization use Guest Service Gold ®, the START 180-hour workforce curriculum, and START for Individual Position Training in the areas of front desk representative, guestroom attendant, restaurant server, maintenance employee, and kitchen cook.   

The AHLEI programs include professional certification components that meet the requirements of stackable and portable certifications for Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant purposes.  These certifications also give trainees a competitive edge when applying for positions and provide them with the first step in a career with long-term opportunities for professional growth.