Our teams live and breathe hospitality. We're eager to get back to doing what we love." -Melissa Baker
As they set about to draw up a whole new plan for summer 2020, the teams started at the very beginning. They went through each and every step of the experience, broke it all down to the basics first.
"We covered the entire gambit from both the guest's perspective and the team member's," says McCullough. "We took the approach of walking in the guest's shoes."
That has meant considering every single touch point from the moment a guest arrives at a property. Taking a conservative approach, the flow through a hotel or lodge has changed now. Operationally, there have been some major changes in public spaces, in guest rooms and in the back of house, McCullough says.
Normally, our teams would be amping up for the season now and would be going through extensive orientation and training. That element has greatly expanded. There's now a multi-level training program for all team members that starts with a Pursuit-wide training and then one that's focused specifically on implementing Pursuit's Safety Promise at each property. After all, every experience is unique. Training has also involved finding new ways to elevate guest service and hospitality amidst all the other restrictions. And to ensure the team members feel safe at work.
"Having our team trained and feeling supported is key to coming back," says Kelly-Ann O'Toole, manager of the Elk + Avenue Hotel in Banff. "It'll ensure them to be confident in providing our guests with a safe experience, and giving them a safe place to work."
Melissa Baker, director of guest experience for Glacier Park Collection, says all team members will be wearing masks while on shift (except for outdoor work where social distancing isn't an issue). Housekeeping staff will change gloves between each cleaning and each room.
"First and foremost we want to make sure that upon arrival our guests have a sense of safety and confidence that we as a company take this serious for not only our guests but our staff as well," she says.
The fact that more staff will be wearing gloves and masks is a huge change in an industry like hospitality, McCullough says.
"We're all about connecting with our staff and guests," he says. "Wearing a mask and interacting with our guests is going to be different."
There will also be much more cleaning in every corner of the hotel or lodge. O'Toole calls it a "cleaning theater" with both front of house efforts and so many points in the "backstage" getting heightened cleaning as well. Hand sanitizer will also be available throughout all the properties.
In lobbies, expect more space as well. Whenever possible, guests will be able to do contactless transactions. O'Toole says there will be floor markers and signs to help guests move through common spaces in safe way.
Some things will also be reduced—like "high-touch" amenities in guest rooms. New housekeeping limits mean no one will enter your guest room once you check in, unless you ask for it. And that includes daily room cleaning.
"Right now, we understand that everything is fluid," Baker says. "Things can and likely will change."
That means rules, regulations and recommendations may evolve. And protocols will be adjusted to keep step with what's happening on our communities. What's working right now may not work as well in a few weeks time. The team is remaining flexible.
The heart of all of these experiences remains connection. Front desk staff are eager to help point you to a great hiking trail or recommend a place for morning coffee. Housekeepers want to help improve your visit. Breakfast servers love to chat about wildlife sighting. It's just who these people are.
O'Toole says she's always appreciated and valued seriously that guests chose to stay at the Elk + Avenue. She knows how much people value their experiences at hotels and lodges. She says the team is feeling excited. "Our teams live and breathe hospitality. We're eager to get back to doing what we love," she says. "We have to push even harder to meet their higher expectations now for both the experience and for safety."
Travelers have always been drawn to stunning and iconic places like Seward, Banff and Glacier Park to be inspired, to feel refreshed and to build meaningful connections with themselves and those they care about. That hasn't changed one bit.
"It's all about connecting with guests and staff, having them all experience this incredible place," McCullough says.
And that desire to help people connect and celebrate incredible places is perhaps more needed now than ever. To learn more about Pursuit's Safety Promise and how it's being implemented, visit here.