White Glove Treatment
Orlando’s new developments offer visitors service beyond expectation.
Today’s travelers are looking for service above and beyond the standard. In many ways, the experience of great service has become just as essential as the destination, and these expectations have encouraged the hospitality industry to step up levels of service provided. At the forefront of this trend is Orlando. Not just for kids anymore, the area has seen an increased visitor volume of nearly eight million people over five years, according to the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau. To keep up with demand, the Orlando area has seen a boom in development, with 19 hotels and resorts springing up over the past five years. With all the new options available to visitors, the level of service being offered by establishments might be the deciding factor that dictates which get the highest attendance.
Pillars of Strength
Rosen Hotels & Resorts, with seven properties in the Orlando area, prides itself on the level of customer service provided to its guests. “Our founder, Mr. [Harris] Rosen, has a passionate and grounded approach to business,” says Dan Giordano, general manager of the Shingle Creek property in Orlando. “There’s a sincere desire to serve among all of our staff and that starts with Mr. Rosen.” Management at Rosen Hotels & Resorts has instilled a Service of Excellence program, implementing “Pillars of Strength.” The 10 pillars are designed to be a guide for providing excellent service to each guest. The Pillars of Strength include appearance, smile, courtesy, phone impression, job knowledge, communication, problem solving, pride in property, teamwork and the golden rule. “If our staff is respected and treated well, that same treatment will be provided to our guests,” says Giordano. “It’s not just about treating our guests with respect, but treating each other with respect, too.” That level of respect can be found throughout the company. Those employed by Rosen Hotels enjoy little bureaucracy and the autonomy to provide the level of service expected, whether that be talking with a guest or running to the store for a guest who is sick. “People come to work and are happy to be here,” says Giordano. “And that speaks volumes for Rosen Hotels & Resorts.”
Making Magic Everyday
When most people think of Orlando and excellent customer service, Disney World (disneyworld.com ) springs to mind, and with good reason. “Walt Disney saw visitors as guests, and to this day, we treat everyone who comes through our gates as guests in our home,” says Rick Sylvain, manager of public relations. “Our level of service is rooted in Walt Disney’s vision.” In October 2006, Disney launched “Year of a Million Dreams,” which will run through 2007. Throughout the year, cast members (Disney employees) will be central to making guests’ Disney dreams come true. “We will provide an unprecedented number of experiences this year,” says Sylvain. “Whether we make a guest an honorary skipper on the Jungle Cruise, a member of a parade or extend the invitation to spend the night in Cinderella’s Castle, ‘Year of a Million Dreams’ is a celebration of the dreams of Disney guests.” Other dream-come-true opportunities may include an unexpected Fast Pass while waiting in line for a ride to unexpected invitations to special events to receiving limited-edition trading pins exclusive to Disney World.
Victoria & Albert’s (407-939-7707), located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, has held the AAA Five Diamond Award since 2001 for its exquisite culinary delights and unsurpassed service. With a seating capacity of 65 in the main room and 10 seats available at the Chef’s Table in the kitchen, dining at Victoria & Albert’s is an unforgettable and intimate experience. Upon calling to make reservations, guests go through a pre-screen for any food allergies, dislikes or preferences. Menus are then customized to please each individual guest; as many as 15 individualized menus may be prepared for any one seating. “By pre-screening our guests, we don’t need to discuss dietary restrictions at the table,” explains Scott Hunnel, chef de cuisine. “It’s all about providing a nice, smooth evening.” Five teams of two servers provide “butler-style” service, guiding guests through the dining experience. Personalized menus with guests’ names and date at the top are found at each place setting and serve as a memento of the evening. Victoria & Albert’s doting service lends an indulgent note to the evening, drawing tourists visiting Disney World, as well as Floridian locals celebrating special occasions. “The diverse demographic of our guests makes us unique,” says Hunnel. It is the white glove treatment—via Mickey, butler or attentive hotel staff—that makes for a distinguishable experience in one of the country’s most magical destinations. And it is the memory of that personalized service that is certain to bring back visitors over and over again. A STUDY IN EXCELLENCE Rosen Hotels & Resorts prides itself on memorable customer service.