Hilton Lac-Leamy Takes Leadership Role in Hospitality Industry

In January 2011, the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) held an Industry Validation Committee (IVC) meeting in Ottawa to update the emerit professional certification program for Banquet Server. The IVC meeting brought banquet servers together from across Canada to review and validate the testing materials for the professional certification program, which have been updated to accurately reflect the current National Occupational Standards for Banquet Server.

The Hilton Lac-Leamy is a five star hotel located at the Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Québec. The Hilton has 349 guest rooms, 31,000 square feet of banquet facilities, and provides work for a total of 350 employees. The Hilton Lac-Leamy generously sent Danny Plamondon to represent its 80 banquet service employees at the IVC meeting.

Mr. Plamondon has worked as a banquet server for eight years, first with a private catering company in Québec City, and for the past five years at the Hilton Lac-Leamy. He has proven to be an enthusiastic and quick learner in his time at the Hilton, undergoing training in safety procedures, customer service, responsible alcohol service, and the company’s “Service de rêve” program. In addition to working in banquet services, he has learned the ins and outs of other departments such as reservations, room service, and the Hilton’s restaurant. His pursuit of learning and his interest in the full range of operations at the hotel has not gone unnoticed, and for the past two years Mr. Plamondon has been an in-house trainer for employees joining the banquet department.

When he was approached to take part in the IVC meeting for the professional certification program for Banquet Server, Mr. Plamondon didn’t hesitate. “Being part of this project has helped me to grow personally and professionally, and the scope of the testing material went well beyond my specific job experience,” he explains. “Having the opportunity to share such a range of ideas and experiences with banquet servers from across Canada really helped me to understand the importance of national standards for the occupation, and to recognize the benefits of emerit certification as a valuable industry credential and professional development option.”

Patrice Pronovost, Human Resources Counsellor at Hilton Lac-Leamy, agrees that emerit tourism training products are an excellent resource for the industry. “Although much of our corporate training is developed by Hilton, we do use emerit National Occupational Standards as a reference when developing task-oriented training in-house. In fact, Hilton Lac-Leamy employees also participated in the update of the National Occupational Standards for Front Desk Agent in 2009.”

As for taking part in projects like the update of the certification program for Banquet Server, Hilton Lac-Leamy feels a sense of corporate responsibility to support any effort that will raise the professionalism and sustainability of the tourism sector as a whole. Mr. Pronovost explains, “We feel that as a large, multi-use facility, Hilton Lac-Leamy has a wide range of experience to bring to the table, and in such a competitive marketplace, it makes sense to work to improve the industry. By sharing our experiences and best practices, we hope that other businesses can learn and improve their operations. It is an important way to contribute to the industry, and we believe that everyone benefits when tourism businesses are able to deliver an exceptional experience to their guests.”

As the Canadian economy recovers and labour shortages return, important industry stakeholders like Hilton Lac-Leamy realize the importance of working together to improve the nation’s tourism industry. By participating in the development of emerit tourism training products, Hilton has embraced an opportunity to share best practices, put forward unique human resource challenges their company faces, collaborate with fellow tourism professionals from across the country, and take on a leadership role in the industry. Hilton’s continued support and progressive human resource practices are a demonstration of the type of industry leadership and participation that the CTHRC relies on to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian tourism sector as a whole.