EP #34 – Celebrate Service Week at IHG with Jon Wakeman

Celebrate Service with Jon WakemanCelebrate Service Week at IHG with Jon Wakeman

The week of May 22, 2017, marks the 8th year of Celebrate Service week at IHG.  It is a week dedicated to recognizing and celebrating hospitality providers across the globe.

As part of the week-long celebrations at IHG properties, staff will participate in various activities that are planned and coordinated by the hotel management or ownership.

Jon Wakeman joins me in this episode to discuss the origins of this very successful program and to share stories of what hotels have done over the past 8 years to bring Celebrate Service to life.   Jon is currently the Bands and Marketing Education Manager at IHG.  In 2012 Jon joined the project team for Celebrate service and in 2014 he served as the global project lead.

Originating in 2010, Celebrate Service was born out of the collaborative efforts of Lynne Zappone, the former SVP of America’s HR and Global Learning and Mark Carrier, who was the IHG Owners Association president at the time.  They recognized the need to lift morale and boost the spirits of hotel teams as the economic downturn that began in 2008 had taken its toll on hotel staff.  As hotels began operating on tighter budgets, more and more responsibilities were being added to their roles.

Every hotel, restaurant or any other business whose success is a direct result of the quality of service that the frontline team delivers should dedicate time to recognizing those individuals. We often don’t take enough time out to say thank you to the people who work tirelessly to deliver great experiences to the guests. This is a great way of appreciating team members on a week set aside that’s all about them.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • How Celebrate Service has grown over the years.
  • The number of hotels who participate in this global event.
  • The types of activities and recognition ideas that have been successful.
  • How to ensure every staff member is included.
  • The benefits to employee engagement.
  • And much more!

Jon is a passionate spokesperson on this topic as you will hear in the episode.  He feels strongly that this week is so special and that as a leader, there’s so much that you can do to help people understand that they really are appreciated. That expression of appreciation can be as grand as you’d like to make it.  But the real gauge is reflected in how true appreciation equals true hospitality.

In an industry where profitability is so closely tied to the guest experience, which is primarily provided by your line-level staff, it just makes good financial sense to recognize and reward your team.  To quote Dale Carnegie:”People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.”  That extra mile is the difference between an average hotel and a great hotel.

Important Links, Mentions, and Resources From This Episode


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