Brett Archer, general manager of Delaware North’s Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park in California, was the guest participant in a recent Let’s Talk About CEX! customer and employee experience podcast.
Archer, who has been with Delaware North since 1993, shared some of his hospitality “philosophies” with podcast host, Maxine Shapiro.
The podcast focused on how positive customer experience begins with a great employee experience.
Maxine Shapiro (host): How do you support, empower and engage with your employees?
Brett Archer: It really goes back to the Golden Rule. I want to be treated with respect, and so I treat everybody else with respect. I think being able to come in and know your associates’ names and getting to know them is really important. Make time. Time is very expensive; we all know that. But we need to look at it as an investment. By taking the time and walking around, saying hello, make it a priority, be visible and let them know they’re doing a great job in the face of adversity right now.
I firmly believe that the employees are the base. Aces in their places. It’s so important to get the people who want to be in this business in the right positions to take care of those people.
Shapiro: Let’s say you’re onboarding a new employee. What do you say to them?
Archer: I do make an appearance at every new hire orientation. I share some philosophies, which simply are to make a positive difference. In hospitality, it certainly isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, but not everybody can do it. I always tell them, “You have my blessing to be empowered to be able to make any situation with a guest right.”
Shapiro: What are the things that are the most important for you when it comes to that “audacious, outrageous, legendary” guest experience?
Archer: Sometimes when we’re busy and going from point A to point B, you’re going to public areas and you need to be alert and observant. If anybody is out of sorts, you have to reroute yourself to go see what you might be able to provide them if they’re not happy. Always asking, “are you finding things to your liking?” and being ready for the answer when it’s something other than what you want to hear.
Hospitality is an interaction; it is not a transaction. It is about the connection that you make, not just about taking the money or providing the service. Our job is to make sure [the guests] leave as happy as they can be. Sometimes it’s not always about giving them something, it’s listening to them.
Here at Tenaya, our nametags have our names, but also our passion—which is a conversation starter. My passion is taking care of you. So, whether I’m standing in front of a guest or an associate, my passion is really about you. Whoever I’m with at that moment is my passion.