Submitted by: Carol Benedetti
What do the Royal Pets Hotel and Spa, and the Stone Gate Inn have in common?
At a recent training workshop, these two businesses discovered it is more than you would first think.
As a result of the needs identified in the Orillia business retention and expansion report, the Community Development Corporation (CDC) has taken the lead in an employer/employee professional development series. Based on a survey of local businesses, training is being offered on a variety of topics, including customer service, which took place last week in Oro-Medonte Township. Workshop leader, Allen Rigby led staff from the Royal Pets Hotel and Spa and the Stone Gate Inn through a three hour program designed to demonstrate the importance of customer service and identify specific strategies to elevate the businesses to the next level.
"I have been doing this training for over 25 years and I really had to bring my A game today," said Rigby.
"This was a challenging and fun group to work with."
It quickly became apparent both businesses already recognized customer service was the most important product they had to offer. Just this year, the Royal Pets Hotel was awarded the Customer Service Award from the Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce.
The Stone Gate Inn is rated one of the top 25 hotels in Canada by Trip Advisor. And, while the Royal Pets Hotel caters to furry four-legged guests, both establishments are essentially high-end boutique accommodations serving a discerning clientele with high expectations.
Stone Gate director of Sales and Administration Christian Lauder and Royal Pets Hotel owner Jenn Dahinten discovered they shared more than just a passion for customer service. They also have the same commitment to investing in their staff.
"These training opportunities are so valuable," said Lauder. "I would like to have brought my whole staff, but someone had to stay at the hotel to serve the guests."
Both businesses have learned to unapologetically set their standards high and those standards apply to every aspect of the experience they provide for their guests.
A devoted pet owner himself, Lauder mentioned he would love to find a way to accommodate guests who would prefer to travel with their pets. How about the Royal Pets Hotel shuttle service?
There is always an unexpected value that comes from sharing ideas and challenges with fellow business owners. New ideas, partnership opportunities and a renewed enthusiasm are all outcomes of professional development.
The CDC has many more of these workshops planned including the following:
* Funding opportunities for local business, May 29, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Mariposa Best Western Inn on Memorial Avenue. Free to attend. Complimentary continental refreshments;
*Developing a marketing plan for a new business, June 6, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. CDC Boardroom, 22 Peter St. S., Orillia;
*Human Resource Management, June 12, 8:00 to 11: 00 a.m.;
*Standard First Aid with CPR health care provider level, June 13 and 14 8:30 to 6:00 p.m.;
*Fall Prevention, June 25, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.;
*Networking Skills, June 28, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.;
Most workshops require preregistration. Visit www.orilliacdc.com for an up-to-date listing of all training opportunities.
The CDC's mission is to support the development of sustainable communities through community economic development and small-business activities.
Loans of up to $150,000 are available to assist local businesses, who qualify, with start-up or expansion costs.
For more information about applying for a loan with the CDC or any of the programs or initiatives the CDC is involved with call 705-325-4903, ext 101, or visit www.orilliacdc.com.