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2016 - 08 August

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Guest Service Gold Spotlight

Travel Oregon Becomes First State Tourism Agency to Earn Certified Guest Service Partner

Travel Oregon with CGSP Certificates Travel Oregon has become the first state tourism agency to earn the title of Certified Guest Service Partner from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). To achieve this distinction, all staff members completed AHLEI's Guest Service Gold® training and earned the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation. 

"Having the entire team at Travel Oregon certified speaks to the value we see standout customer service making in a guest's impression of a destination," said Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson.  "As we work to share the wonders of Oregon with travelers, we remind ourselves that individuals are as unique as our state, and finding special ways to connect and personalize their trip-planning process and stay is sure to incite positive memories." 

Last fall, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation (ORLAEF) signed an agreement with Travel Oregon to be the customer service training provider for the state's travel and tourism industry, using Guest Service Gold® and CGSP®.  As part of that agreement, the staffs of both organizations completed the process themselves. 

"Our staff had fun with the training and certification," said Carole Astley, director, Industry and Visitor Services for Travel Oregon. "We had a friendly contest to inspire staff to aim for the best possible exam score. Prizes were awarded and certificates were presented at one of our all-staff meetings." 

Travel Oregon staff members used the online version of the program, which gave them flexibility to fit the program into their schedules with less disruption to regular business operations.  AHLEI also offers a print version of the training, which some staff members used instead. 

"As major proponents of the Guest Service Gold® training and certification, it's very important that everyone in our organization has experienced the program first-hand," Astley explained. "This is not only for our own benefit, but to demonstrate our commitment behind what we're advocating for our industry partners. As an organization, we discuss the impact that great guest service has on a visitor. And with an extremely competitive travel market, we need to find successful ways to make Oregon stand out.  Committing to guest service training is a natural fit." 

Apparently, the training is having a positive effect in making Oregon stand out. Astley reported that the Gold-certified staff at their main Welcome Center receive "amazing, heart-felt compliments" daily, with comments like "You've made my trip!" "Wow, people in Oregon are so friendly," and "You are SO helpful and the Welcome Center is awesome."

Industry Spotlight

Magnuson Hotels to Offer Expanded Training Options through AHLEI

Magnuson Hotels Magnuson Hotels announced a new initiative to offer expanded training options to its hotel operators. The initiative is coming about through a partnership between Magnuson and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), which will provide Magnuson's 1,000 hotel owners access to a selection of training courses. 

AHLEI is the global leader in hospitality training and hotel management certifications, and offers online learning and courses with textbooks and digital material to enhance the hospitality learning experience. AHLEI's programs are all recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and conform to the best practices in the hotel and lodging industry. 

Magnuson Hotels' operators will be able to choose from selected courses: 

  • Hospitality Today: An Introduction
  • The Lodging and Food Service Industry
  • Convention Management and Service
  • Hospitality Sales and Marketing
  • Hotel and Restaurant Accounting
  • Revenue Management: Maximizing Revenue in Hospitality Operations
  • Managing Hospitality Human Resources
  • Supervision in the Hospitality Industry
  • Certified Front Desk Representative Online Program
  • Certified Guestroom Attendant Online Program
  • Certified Kitchen Cook Online Program
  • Certified Maintenance Employee Online Program
  • Certified Restaurant Server Online Program

"Magnuson Hotels is proud to partner with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute to help our owners increase their knowledge of operations and service, we look forward to a long partnership" said Thomas Magnuson, co-founder and CEO of Magnuson Hotels.

High School Spotlight

AHLEI and CHART Award Scholarship to Florida Hospitality Student

Ana May Ana May, a 2016 graduate of Forest Hill Community High School in West Palm Beach, Florida, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and the Council of Hotel of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART). 

May, who graduated in the top 3 percent of her high school class, plans to study hospitality management at the University of Central Florida this fall.  At Forest Hill Community High School, May participated in the Hospitality and Tourism Academy, which uses AHLEI's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) curriculum. She holds the Certified Hospitality and Tourism Management Professional designation, and completed a hospitality internship that led to a paying job at The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach. 

At school, May served as senior class vice president, where she used her hospitality skills to plan events including homecoming and prom. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity volleyball team, in which she earned her varsity letter. 

May has been highlighted as one of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association's 2016 Educational Foundation Stars.  Her goal is to advance to a position of management and leadership in hospitality.

Certification Spotlight

High School Students Earn CHIA in Cornell’s Summer College Program

Cornell Summer Students who participated in the Hotel Operations Management program offered through Cornell University's Summer College for high school students were able to earn the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) as part of their course of study. 

The three-week summer program, taught by Reneta and Mark McCarty, both senior lecturers in Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, gave 80 high school students from around the world an introduction to hospitality management, which included learning how to do the math used by hotel operators in their daily operations. 

Developed by STR , AHLEI, and I-CHIRE, the CHIA is the only hotel-related certification for university students graduating from hospitality and tourism programs. This recognition provides evidence of a thorough knowledge of the foundational metrics and definitions that are used by the hotel industry. Recipients have proven that they can crunch the numbers and interpret the results. They have demonstrated an ability to analyze various types of hotel industry data and to make strategic inferences based upon that analysis. Certification also confirms a comprehensive understanding of benchmarking and performance reports. Designees have a grasp of the current landscape of the hotel industry, including relevant current events.  

"The students embraced learning the material," said Reneta McCarthy.  "They were a little intimidated at first, but I told them I am very good at teaching the material and all of them passed, with a mean score of 89."  McCarthy also uses the CHIA with the college students who take her Introduction to Hotel Operations courses, averaging 140 students per semester. 

Instructors who wish to offer the CHIA must participate in a train-the-trainer workshop presented by STR through its SHARE Center .  A list of upcoming workshops can be found below or on the AHLEI website

Academic Spotlight

Doctoral Research Shows Benefits of AHLEI Training Program

Latoya Gibbs lrg As a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University School of Hotel And Restaurant Administration , Latoya Gibbs focused her dissertation research on the effectiveness of competency-based skills training and certification, using the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute's START for Restaurant Servers program. 

Gibbs, who also taught a class in Service Management in Hospitality Operations at the university, had used other AHLEI training and certification programs, incorporating AHLEI's Guest Service Gold® and Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) into her class. 

In fact, in March 2015, Taylor's Dining Room, the student-staffed restaurant and experiential learning lab at Oklahoma State University's School of Hotel & Restaurant Administration, became the first college-based property to earn the Certified Guest Service Property designation under Gibbs' leadership. 

"Industry certification is key," she said at the time.  "I want my students to have both an academic degree and certification.  Especially in a service industry, it's important that they can demonstrate the education they have received." 

For her research, Gibbs added the START for Restaurant Server training to her service management class.  Before going through the training, students' current skills were measured using the workplace competency validation checklist included with the training program. Gibbs made minor changes to the form to accommodate her course material and expanded the grading scale from two levels to four to make the scale more statistically reliable. 

Students then went through the START for Restaurant Server training and Certified Restaurant Server exam, after which their skills were again observed and measured using the competency validation checklist.  The results were encouraging. 

"I was delighted to find that there were meaningful statistical changes in their scores from pre-training to post-training," said Gibbs.  "There was proof that the training improved their levels of competence against industry-benchmarked standards." 

Gibbs noted that is easy to implement industry training such as AHLEI's START for individual positions programs into the academic curriculum, and it is a winning strategy for everyone involved. 

"I think it benefits students, employers, and schools," she said. "Employers expect students to have basic technical competence. By offering this kind of training and certification, we are sending out our students with academic qualifications and professional certification.  They are well prepared to work based on the training they have received."

AHLEI Honors Educators, Students for Outstanding Achievement

Collage AHLEI presented awards to two outstanding educators during the I-CHRIE Summer Conference in Dallas in late July, and also recognized its top Distance Learning students for the year. 

Fred Mayo, Ph.D., CHE, CHT, is the 2016 recipient of the Anthony G. Marshall Award, which honor an individual who has made significant long-term contributions to the hospitality industry in educating future leaders. Mayo operates his own training, coaching, and consulting firm while teaching part-time at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sport Management, where he had been a full-time professor for 10 years. Mayo has served on and chaired several I-CHRIE committees, including the Professional Development Committee and the Future Fund Committee. As a consultant, his client list has included Aramark, AAHOA, Bard College, Johnson & Wales University, the American Culinary Federation, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, and AHLEI. For the past 20 years, Mayo has worked with AHLEI's Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE®) program as a Master CHE® Trainer, leading numerous workshops throughout the world. He also trains and mentors educators to become Master CHE® Trainers. 

Suzanne Markham Bagnera, CHA , received the 2016 Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding U.S. Educator . The Lamp of Knowledge is given to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to advancing the quality of professionalism and education in the hospitality industry. Bagnera is a lecturer at Boston University's School of Hospitality Administration. She has also taught at Johnson & Wales University, Endicott College, and Mount Ida College. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in hospitality management from Iowa State University. Before turning to education, Bagnera worked in the hospitality industry, as a front office manager, guest service manager, and general manager at several Boston-area hotels. Bagnera currently serves on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Lodging Association's Education Foundation and is chairperson of their Education Committee. She is active with I-CHRIE as secretary of the North East North American Federation and several committees and special interest groups. 

Christine Saldanha, executive housekeeper at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts, Dubai, UAE, is the winner of the 2016 Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding Distance Learning Student. The Lamp of Knowledge is given to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to advancing the quality of professionalism and education in the hospitality industry. The Outstanding Distance Learning Student is selected from among those who completed AHLEI's 12-course Hospitality Management Diploma in the previous year.  

Two other Distance Learning students, Yasser El Sayed Abdeldaim, hotel manager of the Ramada Sharjah in Dubai, UAE; and Nay Yi Aung, founder and principal of Start Resources Tourism and Hospitality Management Academy in Myanmar; have been recognized as Distance Learning Students of Excellence , as runners-up for the Lamp of Knowledge.

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