CTHRC Partners with New York’s Renowned The Plaza Hotel

plaza hrtimes feb09 The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council has forged a growing partnership with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and one of New York’s most famous properties, The Plaza Hotel. This historic landmark hotel overlooking Central Park has recently undergone a major transformation. In addition to bricks-and-mortar enhancements, The Plaza set out to establish an even higher employee performance standard, ensuring its guests would be the recipients of consistently exceptional service.

The Plaza’s team worked with the Council to create an innovative set of “5 Star World Class Standards” for 21 occupations that provide the majority of services at The Plaza. These positions affect every element of a guest’s stay, from a courteous booking with a Reservations Sales Agent to a smooth check in with a Front Desk Agent, through to an impeccable room courtesy of a Housekeeping Room Attendant, stellar service from a Bartender, and gracious assistance from a Concierge.

The standards drew extensively from the CTHRC’s emerit standards, established for the Canadian tourism sector, and incorporated Ritchie and Mobil standards used by The Plaza. Guiding principles informed all parts of the process, ensuring it was accessible, consistent, current, transparent, representative, and sustainable. The Plaza instituted a “Validation Process”, wherein 200 employees who studied the new standards were tested against them in their respective occupations. Carried out in collaboration with a team of emerit evaluators, a written exam assessed an employee’s knowledge of essential elements, while a performance evaluation looked at on-the-job skills. With a 95% success rate, The Plaza’s staff demonstrated that they are indeed world class and will be “turning moments into memories” for guests of this fabled hotel.

“A hotel does not become a great hotel without great people who offer great service,” said Jane Yrenaya, Director of Learning at The Plaza. “We were faced with some remarkable challenges and opportunities upon re-opening this historic property after its closing for extensive renovations.”

The partnership between the Council and Fairmont, a leading global hotel company, is expected to generate excitement around the use of industry-wide standards within a corporate environment. Employees will eventually benefit from corporate credentials that can be linked to Canadian emerit credentials and will be recognized across the industry. emerit professional certification is available for nearly 30 occupations, and there are more than 12,000 emerit-certified professionals currently contributing to Canada’s tourism sector.

“We are delight to be working with Fairmont and The Plaza,” said Philip Mondor, Senior Vice President of the CTHRC. “This process has been truly rewarding for all parties involved. The Council looks forward to strengthening this relationship and encourages other organizations to follow The Plaza’s lead.”