In the Words of Chesapeake

Experience is Everything

Experience is Everything

October 06, 2017

“We consider excellent, not good or great,” says Trevor Hollis, Concierge, speaking to the mentality of The Georgian Terrace Hotel team in curating guest experience. Experience is an unbelievably broad concept, encompassing everything from how a guest is greeted, to how towels are folded, to how the hotel helps a guest best enjoy its city. With 83,000 room nights and millions of guest interactions a year at the Georgian Terrace, maintaining excellence is - needless to say – an extremely high bar.

 Getting it right goes beyond technical knowledge, and comes down to culture. A culture with a shared understanding of what excellence is, a shared passion and commitment to work to that highest bar – consistently.

 “Developing culture – that starts at management, the team quickly picks up on their mentality,” says Twanda Dawson, Director of Rooms at the Georgian Terrace. To Twanda, the management does more than just set the standards, they set a tone of shared respect. An environment where success is recognized, and feedback is geared to be positive, constructive and consistent.  “It’s an environment reinforced through regular training. Active engagement – not reactive – is critical,” she adds.

 “We always take pride. We used to be the head football stars, now we’re in one place where we’re all football stars,” says Trevor. “This is a culture where everyone is at the top of their game – from upper management all the way to the dishwasher – everyone is asking how can we be better, how can we continue to improve.”

 Of course, hotels do not exist in a vacuum. Guest experience is deeply tied to enjoyment of the surrounding city, the actual emersion in the culture an individual, family or corporate team has come to enjoy. That starts with staff – internalizing and sharing the unique culture of their environment.

 At the Georgian, that culture is clear: southern hospitality. To Twanda and Trevor, every day, front of mind is a list: friendly; always a southern host; authentic; local; our town/your town; genuine; mean what you say, say what you mean; take pride in our appearance.

 “This isn’t secondary, this does not come after the fundamentals of our day-to-day,” says Twanda.

 “Southern Hospitality is absolutely woven in to who we are every day as hospitality professionals when we walk in the front door of the Georgian.”

 As a guest’s experience extends outside of the hotel, many want to get off the beaten path, they want to see the restaurants locals eat at, stores where they shop, and bars where they have a cocktail. “Local places that we go, the local places that we shop,” says Trevor.

 What’s true for guests at the Georgian Terrace extends for virtually any property on Earth. “Know your town. Know what to recommend - it doesn’t happen accidentally,” says Twanda. “We train our team, we take them on tours so they know they area, so they can immediately recommend their favorite southern restaurant or place to go jog.”

 At the end of the day, Trevor and Twanda make one thing clear: experience is personal. Succeeding in creating the best guest experience does not happen all at once to the hundreds of thousands that will walk through your door, it comes from how you make each individual feel welcome. Remembering names, anniversaries, birthdays – dining, fitness or entertainment preferences.

 When it comes to creating an unforgettable guest experience, success comes one smile, one name remembered, and one step out of the ordinary at a time.