As the Director of Fun and Engagement for the 95-unit Carlsbad Seapoint Resort in Carlsbad, California, Dexter Carranza is his resort’s most well-known and truly loved staff member. He has been mentioned by name more than 50 times in TripAdvisor reviews during 2017 and is truly the face of the property, managed by Grand Pacific Resorts. He was recently named a finalist in ARDA’s awards program in the Activities Program or Team category.
Dexter runs his activity program singlehandedly throughout the year, hiring three additional helpers during the busy summer season. This high energy, super creative Director of Fun and Engagement strives to personally meet and interact with every resort guest.
When Dexter first arrived at the resort in December 2016, he jumped in feet first and created an entirely new activities program from the ground up. His goal was simple – to make the guest experience more fulfilling by bringing people together for fun, smiles, laughter and conversation. He’s certainly accomplished what he set out to do. The spirit he brings to each activity is infectious and guests can’t help but to want to join in. And for Dexter, it’s getting to know people, and the feeling that he is helping make wonderful memories for them, that motivates him.
“I truly enjoy learning about each guest and where they are from,” he said. “It gives me the chance to take a mini-trip to their hometowns through my imagination. And working with timeshare owners enables me to help make someone’s vacation memorable while sharing smiles, laughter and the beauty of face-to-face conversation – no technology needed.”
Dexter was born in Guam but was raised in Southern California since the second grade. He came from the senior living industry where he was activities director at two different communities – one an assisted living facility and another an independent senior living facility. He
attended CSU Northridge and holds Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology.
Today, Dexter leads over 20 programs at Carlsbad Seapointe Resort and believes his most important responsibility is to continually engage with the guests, to see to any special needs they may have and encourage them to participate in his long list of fun events. (He personally hosts 3-5 activities each day). His biggest challenge is to ensure that his activities are attractive to all age ranges.
One of his more popular programs is Towel Origami w/Olivia, which is a class that involves one of the housekeepers teaching guests how to make the creations they see when they get to their room. A dozen or more guests often attend each class, hoping to learn how to create works of art out of towels (like cute little elephants, sea lions or swans).
Another popular program is the Wine & Paint Class, where an instructor walks guests step-by-step through creating a beautiful canvas painting. Dexter is there encouraging everyone and serving red/white wine and lemonade, along with cheese and crackers.
Guests arriving at the resort are handed a daily activity guide with their room key and more guides are posted in the elevators. Guests can also sign up to receive texts via “Zingle” to be reminded when activities are happening. And a concierge is on site to let guests know what activities and events are happening off the property.
Every Monday, Dexter and his team host a complimentary welcome breakfast to talk about the activity program and highlight what’s planned throughout the week. Through his constant presence and visibility at the resort, Dexter is always “campaigning” – encouraging and inviting guests to attend his activities…from Mimosas to Margaritas to ping pong and water aerobics… all presented with a smile.
Dexter truly believes that something as simple as a guest having a sincere conversation with a staff member can result in a special, happy, and memorable vacation. When a guest feels noticed and appreciated, he knows they will have a wonderful experience and go home with great memories.