Filipino hotel brand is first in Asia to receive US ‘gold service’ certification

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


SEDA, AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts’ wholly-Filipino hotel brand, has been named a Certified “Gold Service” Property (CGSP) by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

It is the first hotel brand in Asia to receive this honor. The institute is a globally respected name in the hospitality industry with 15,000 hotel members worldwide.

Ed Kastli, AHLEI vice president, disclosed that being named a CGSP is an affirmation that an establishment’s front-liners meet the highest international standard of service. “It recognizes an establishment’s commitment to quality, service and hospitality.”

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Seda is the first hotel brand in Asia which trained its staff in the customer “Gold Service” program. Hotel front-liners in the chain’s three properties – namely Seda BGC, Seda Abreeza in Davao city and Seda Centrio in Cagayan de Oro city – passed the individual certification.

Wilma Estaura, Seda’s group director for human resources and accredited trainor of the AHLEI’s Customer Gold Service program identified the goal: “We want our front-liners to anticipate the needs of guests and respond by offering service that is over and above their duty. This is what it takes to delight a guest.” She cites the case of front desk officers going out of their way to requisition for towels to offer guests who had been drenched by a typhoon, delighting those affected when they entered the hotel.

Seda’s group general manager Andrea Mastellone explained that the hotels monitor the comments of their guests online as well as in their daily interactions with Seda employees.

Management recognizes guest commendations as key indicators of delightful service. In December 2013, for instance, a guest traveling with family remarked: “The number one thing I like about this place is the service. You feel special because everyone remembers your name.” A guest from Riverside, California said in a post the same month: “Everyone was amazing. They made massage appointments, opened doors, did my laundry and room service – all with a smile.”

Kastli stated: “To create a lasting impression on guests, we encourage the staff to provide ‘wow experiences.’” Estaura relates that staff are trained to intuitively read a guest’s needs while remaining authentic and sincere and to respond promptly and selflessly. This special training ensures that each Seda destination will be offering the guest a distinctive and unique experience – “not a cookie-cutter approach,” said Estaura.

“To put it another way, we want guests to remember the staff who made their stay special… Mario, the hotel car driver, who gave his passenger a quick overview of the Philippines on the way from the airport to the hotel; Ivy, who serves during breakfast and remains pleasant even when the restaurant is packed; and so on. After all, it’s people who make all the difference.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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