We aim for consistency, not in having the products we offer be the same every time but in having the experiences we offer matching the brand and high quality we and our guests expect.
To do this requires us to find the balance between processes and checklists on the one hand with the freedom to be creative on the other.
You’ll be trained, depending on your role, on how we use menus, recipes and itineraries to simplify decisions. This allows you to focus your attention on the guest experience and ensure that all the basics are done consistently across the team. As you gain experience you’ll find opportunities to personalize some of these experiences for the guests, within the established processes.
Along the way you’ll find that this framework is the basis that will allow you to adapt our menus, recipes and itineraries based on the curveballs that are thrown at us by the weather, our remote location and other factors outside of our control.
The Overview of Our Culture & Brands section covers the info you need to help with decision-making. The philosophies below help define how each of us works and how we do things as a company.
You’ll notice a lot of changes throughout the year. As the summer season ramps up in May and June we spend a lot of time training and getting ready for the busy days ahead. July and August are our busiest months with little time left for anything other than executing our plans.
Things start to slow down in September while October and November are much slower, providing us with the opportunity to take some time off and finish some of those summer projects as we transition to winter.
The winter season starts to ramp up in Late November with January and February being busy months for tours. Mid-March brings the start of the transition to summer with April offering a chance to take a few days off as we work on summer plans.
We do most of our planning on a quarterly basis. You’ll often see a flurry of activity at the end or start of each quarter as we wrap up projects and decide on priorities. The quarters are April to June, July to September, October to December and January to March.
Best Practices Can Only Get Us To Second Place
Our goal is to become the best and that’s something we can’t do by copying others. We can be inspired by them and we can learn from them but at the end of the day we have to come up with our own solutions.
Will Guidara sums this up nicely in Unreasonable Hospitality:
These chefs had the courage to make something no one had made before, and to introduce elements that changed the game for everyone. We hadn’t done that yet. We’d worked our butts off to earn a spot on that list, but what, really, had we done that was groundbreaking? The more we talked, the more it became clear: nothing. We had everything we needed: the work ethic, the experience, the talent, the team. But we’d been operating as glorified curators, picking the best features of the great restaurants that had come before us and making them our own.
Our restaurant was excellent and made a lot of people happy. But it hadn’t yet changed the conversation.
In other words, get inspiration and learn from what others are doing but remember that what we’re trying to achieve will require us to go beyond what others have already done.
Elevated Hospitality Can Overcome Most Infrastructure Challenges
There are a lot of things (e.g. lack of infrastructure, older buildings, etc) that are outside of our control. In many cases we can’t solve those problems directly, at least for now.
We can make up for these by elevating our hospitality a couple of steps above expectations. This means small touches like simple but delicious food, presenting snacks to the guests and anticipating the guests’ needs.
Some good examples of this are the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, LOGE Camps and business class service on airlines where each of them offers experiences that go far beyond the quality of the products they have.
What is hospitality? Hospitality means making intentional connections with the guests to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Service, on the other hand, is about fulfilling the needs of the guests while luxury is simply giving more.
Fill The Pits, Elevate the Peaks and Then Worry About The Potholes
This is about prioritizing what truly matters. Guests don’t average their experience, they remember the pits, the peaks and the end. We should approach how we improve our products in the same way.
This starts with empathy to see things from the guest’s or each other’s perspective. The first challenge is to identify problems that are worth addressing amongst all the feedback we receive. The first priority is always to solve issues that are so big that they become all the guests remember of their time with us. Next up are ways that we can make the peaks even higher, making them so good that nothing else matters. Finally, as resources and time allow, we tackle everything else.
This doesn’t mean that we ignore small problems until they become major issues but acknowledging that if we don’t prioritize our actions we will lose focus of what matters most.
Focus on What We Can Do
Yes, it’s amazing when others do such a great job that it makes our life easier. But we can’t expect them to do it. A lot of the time the true solutions to the problems we face rest with others, outside of our control. In those cases, ask yourself what we can do ourselves to get around the issue.
It also means making the most of what we have and being creative in how we use our resources instead of looking for the perfect solution.
Refine The Process But Focus On The Results
We obsess over the small details but we are evaluated based on the guest experience, not our execution. We aim for improvements, not perfection. We know we’re doing a great job when most of what we do is implied and forgettable, going unnoticed by the guests and freeing them to enjoy the moment.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work on improving our processes because we’re getting results but rather that we should work on our execution in the context of reaching our goals so that we have meaningful improvements.
Hurry Up And Wait
This is a reminder to act with a sense of urgency and to remember to breathe.
It allows us to embrace the unexpected by being prepared with the space needed to adapt. In practice, it means having our prep done well ahead of the busy hours, moving efficiently when getting ready for a tour and taking advantage of slower times to make sure that we’re ready for what’s to come.