“One of the key issues for business executives like myself and other people who travel quite extensively is how we’re treated and how we’re taken care of at a resort or hotel property,” stated Ray Halbritter, Nation Representative and chief executive officer of the popular and expanding Turning Stone Resort and Casino, located 30 miles east of Syracuse.
Using the newly-opened 98-all suite Lodge at his own Turning Stone Resort and Casino as an example, Halbritter said “We’re in one of the most beautiful physical locations in the State of New York so the lodging has to reflect that fact, and then the service has to match the quality of the product you’ve built.” He added, “We’ve built a place that is unique in the way it services the guest and pays attention to all the details. We want to provide the guest with a memory that will linger with them for a long time to come.”
Speaking from the student-run travel agency based at the Morrisville State College in Morrisville (NY), Professor Joan Johnson said that what travelers are looking for is “highly personalized, intuitive service that delivers exactly what they want, when they want it, and on a consistent basis.”
According to Dr. Johnson guests experiencing intuitive service for the first time are taken by surprise. “What happens is that the experiences are memorable and because you’ve created customer unique value you’ve done exactly what they want, seamlessly, without having to ask because you really know them and care about making them very, very comfortable and very happy. This in turn builds customer relationships that are lifelong.”
Dr. Johnson noted that hotels and resorts can best accomplish this personalized, intuitive service “by paying special attention to their customers and developing a customer relationship management system that actually tells them what the customer wants before they even ask for it.”
When it comes to business travelers, Johnson says they are finding their “workplace is the globe and they’re exposed to different countries, cultures and currency, and bombarded with information throughout their workday.” She indicated when they get to where they are staying; it is the resort or hotel’s job to provide them with not just the best in accommodations but options for entertainment, dining and relaxation.
Christine Raulli, assistant manager at The Lodge at Turning Stone, sees The Lodge as an excellent example of a resort property offering high end, intuitive service. She said the guests at this new boutique hotel are given high end, personalized service from the time they arrive at the Lodge by car or taxi to the moment they step in to the comfort of their suite. She went on to say that guests are given a specially prepared fruit drink and a treat upon arrival, as well as the “undivided attention of the receptionist who is taking care of them.” Raulli added, “We want the guest to feel as though they’re a not a guest of the hotel but a guest of our own home.”
Andrew Lee, vice president of food & beverage for Turning Stone Resort and Casino, said another aspect of providing guests with the best in service takes place in the property’s restaurant, The Dining Room at Lodge at Turning Stone. “What we are trying to do is emphasize detailed service and tableside service.” Lee indicated that like much of the West Coast, the resort is trying to use the highest quality, freshest food product with a focus on seasonality.
The Lodge at Turning Stone, which opened in April 2004, is located adjacent to two of the resort’s three championship golf courses; the Shenendoah Golf Club and the Kaluhyat Golf Club. The Lodge has many features, including the Great Room reminiscent of an Adirondack Great Camp, a luxurious 2,900 square foot presidential suite, sweeping golf and resort vistas, a tranquil brook setting in the front and the Great Lawn in the back, and comfortable, casually elegant suites.
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