This is more or less the pep talk I delivered to our new employees in May 2014 at the beginning of the season. What I can remember anyways.
Welcome to Gwin’s Lodge! We are so excited that you are here! I would like for everyone to introduce themselves by telling us your name, where you’re from, and something about you that not a lot of people know about.
Labor of Love
Keith and I bought Gwin’s Lodge at the end of 2011. We had never even been to Alaska before, but one look at the Lodge and the surrounding areas we fell in love. The Lodge was in disrepair so we immediately started renovations. The kitchen and restaurant were gutted and renovated. All of the cabins have been remodeled. Tired and worn mattresses, bedding, and furnishing have been replaced. Now with the store remodel nearly complete, all of the major work on this property is done. This was an expensive endeavor that was more than what we expected. Now we need your help to get in the black and make some money!
Our mission statement is – Gwin’s Lodge is dedicated to provide the highest level of hospitality, accommodations, products, and services at a convenient central Kenai Peninsula location. I would like for you to focus on the words “highest level of hospitality, accommodations, products, and services” this Summer.
A book I read recently taught me the concept of “anticipatory service.” What that means is that we try to be in our customers’ shoes and try to anticipate their needs and wants before they open their mouth to ask for them. The example given in the book has a customer walking toward a door with her hands full of packages. An employee nearby replacing light bulbs immediately stops what he’s doing and gets to the door ahead of the customer to open it for her. We want our customers to know that we care about them, and we want them to have a wonderful experience here at Gwin’s Lodge.
It’s the Customers, Stupid
Most of our customers come to Alaska to fulfill their lifelong dream and check off something on their bucket list. We want to do what we can to help them create unforgetable and wonderful memories here in Alaska. The customers are always right. That also means that we don’t complain and we always provide excellent service with a smile. If you are having problems with a customer, please don’t hesitate to get a manager involved right away.
Best of Many Applicants
We received many applications from people all over the country and all over the world this year. You represent the best of those applicants. We know you will have a fantastic Summer working at Gwin’s Lodge and we know that you will enjoy all the fun outdoor activities and beautiful scenery that we have to offer. We know you will make lasting friendships and create lasting memories. Please read through the Employee Handbook and observe the guidelines we provide in the handbook about living at the Lodge and serving our customers.
Represent Gwin’s Lodge
Keep in mind that you are the face of Gwin’s Lodge. You are what our customers see and interface with. You represent Gwin’s Lodge whether you are on the job or not. Therefore we expect you to be on your best behavior whether you are doing your job here or when you are hiking on a trail, or on a rafting trip we have arranged for you. That means you are respectful, courteous, and professional at all times.
Keith and I feel very fortunate to own this little piece of paradise in the middle of the Chugach National Forest on the Kenai Peninsula. We are surrounded by public lands and to the west we have the Kenai Wildlife Refuge and to the East we have the Kenai Fjords National Park. All of us have a responsibility to protect and keep this place pristine. That means I don’t want to see any cigarette butts on the ground on our property or any surrounding areas. That means no littering and observe all rules in the parks and wildlife refuge that you visit. That means pick up the mess even if you didn’t make the mess in the first place. Even though you will only be spending this Summer here in Alaska, we hope you will do what you can to help preserve this beautiful environment for many years to come.
Up Sell Cross Sell
One thing we would like for you to master is the art of up-selling and cross-selling to maximize profits. Without being pushy or obnoxious, we want to remind the customer about our award-winning smoked salmon chowder, delicious pies, or famous carrot cake. We want to help them pick out a coordinating cap or jacket that goes with that shirt. If they are in the store, we want to remind them that there are some good food right next door. If they are in the restaurant, we want to remind them to pick up some gifts in the store. Chat them up. Make a connect with our guests. See if there is anything they want to know about the surrounding area that you can tell them about. Don’t miss an opportunity to up sell and cross sell.
I am so excited for you as you are about to have one of the best adventures in your life. If you need anything or have questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to come to Keith, Rob, or me. Although I won’t be here most of the time, I will only be a call or an email away. Have fun!
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