Ultra-luxury Resort – Reopening after a Crisis
An ultra-luxury resort in the Caribbean sought to reopen successfully after an unforeseen closure following Hurricane Maria. As the property leaders juggled onboarding new and returning employees, driving revenues, and maintaining the resort’s reputation for impeccable service, Carpedia Hospitality was engaged to provide support in maximizing profitability as quickly as possible.
After months of strong financial results following an initial visit by Carpedia Hospitality in 2016, the client was dealt an unexpected blow as Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean and brought tourism in the area to a halt. When it came time to reopen and leadership focused on re-establishing the property as a premier destination for luxury service in the Caribbean, the Director of Finance kept in close contact with Carpedia Hospitality to work through strategies on reintroducing the successful labor management program that was in place prior to closure.
Carpedia Hospitality worked with the client for a full year leading up to and into re-opening to determine the best method to bring productivity in-line with pre-closure goals. Initially, a low-touch approach was taken of integrating the original productivity goals into the financial forecast and retraining on the use of labor management tools.
Several months into reopening, Carpedia Hospitality and the Director of Finance discussed the potential for a brief on-site revisit to spend direct time with departments that experienced greater challenges in achieving productivity goals. An analysis was conducted to determine which areas saw the biggest productivity variances and key stakeholders were designated to participate to minimize the amount of rework on the ground. However, the analysis revealed that most of the operation stood to benefit from participating in the revisit, so the client ultimately decided on a high-touch extended on-site program.
Carpedia Hospitality returned to property for 12 weeks to refine labor standards in areas with operational changes, establish new standards in previously out-of-scope areas, train new leaders on best practices, and update their systems to guide the team toward profitability.
Carpedia Hospitality worked with the client’s leadership team to identify areas where processes had changed due to conscious operational decisions or to an evolution in guest mix in the wake of the hurricane. From there, targeted observations and analyses were conducted to appreciate how best to adjust standards to ensure that strong productivity was maintained in the updated service model. Areas that were not part of the original project were also evaluated to establish standards and bring the entire operation into the program. A variety of method changes were introduced to expedite service delivery and enhance the guest experience, and observations uncovered areas where additional training was required for new hires and returning staff.
Carpedia Hospitality collaborated with the Finance Department to improve the efficacy of their scheduling software, create enhanced reporting, and re-establish regular labor management meetings to ensure that departmental leaders maintained a focus on optimal staffing.
The resort was able to maintain its 5-star designation and meet the service expectations of its luxury clientele while achieving more than 290% of planned labor savings in the first three months following Carpedia Hospitality’s revisit. Given the endless number of factors to consider in the wake of an unexpected crisis, added support from a trusted advisor proved to be significantly beneficial to expedite the realignment of the operating model and profitability goals.