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Centre Island Hotels

Centre Island is an independent Liverpool based hotel group comprising nine hotels, mainly in North West England. The group franchise their brands from Intercontinental Hotels and their portfolio includes 3 Crowne Plazas, 3 Holiday Inns, 2 Express by Holiday Inns and a luxury boutique hotel – 62 Castle St.

Dee Keeley, Group HR Manager, says ‘We see customer service training as absolutely crucial to helping us achieve and keep the edge we want in the marketplace.’

Dee looked at a number of alternative options before deciding on Welcome to Excellence as the training partner for Centre Island’. She says ‘We opted for Welcome to Excellence because it is an established programme but it is also constantly being refreshed and developed. It is a well known brand, with ‘currency’ across the industry and the UK. Welcome to Excellence was also cost, and time effective, compared to the other options we considered. The programme is able to be delivered in-house by our own team – something which we think is very important to keep the momentum going and make sure that commitment to customer service really becomes part of the culture of the organisation.’

For Centre Island, being able to train and support their own in-house trainers to carry out the courses was an essential part of the appeal of Welcome to Excellence.

‘It gives us complete flexibility’ says Dee ‘It means that the trainers can tailor the training to make it completely relevant to our business and also makes it simple to run the courses frequently. We run a training session every two months in each of the hotels.’

Centre Island chose to focus on the ‘Welcome Host Plus’ training course and re-named it ‘Achieving World Class Service’ to tie in with their own corporate style and objectives.

Dee says ‘The training material is excellent. It’s flexible enough to allow the trainer to focus on any areas of particular concern for the business or the staff without losing any of the overall value of the day.

‘The training has added credibility to our training plans and what we offer our employees. Now, we are able to tell prospective employees that we are a company that provides internal and job specific training but also invests in a nationally recognised and industry recognised course – something which helps towards their professional status.

For us, delivering the training in-house is working out very well. Implementing the programme has created a new ‘virtual team’ of trainers – who are senior job experts, General Managers and Operations Managers. Having these people deliver has raised the profile of both training as a whole and our service excellence programme.

Participants definitely leave the workshop rejuvenated with a sharper focus on what their job is about and that has a knock on effect to their colleagues. Staff feel valued because a senior manager has delivered the programme in a ‘paying guest’ environment and they get a certificate to recognise their participation. They see that we are investing in them and that enhances their motivation and performance.

‘I would wholeheartedly recommend Welcome to Excellence training to other businesses and organisations. It is helping Centre Island embed service excellence in the hearts and minds of our people and our guests’ experience’.

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