Tina Kalberg Front Desk Manager at Channel Island Shores
Tina Kalberg is so much more than a front desk manager—she sets the tone for Channel Island Shores in Oxnard, California, through her hospitality, work ethic, and desire to create extraordinary memories for every owner and guest. Owners often ask for Tina by name when they call, and some will even opt to call back later if she’s not available. The front desk manager is often called the “manager of first impressions,” and this is certainly true of Tina, who won ARDA’s Resort Department Manager Award in 2015.
Tina was promoted to front desk manager in 2013 after five years as a front desk associate at Channel Island Shores. Under her leadership, the front desk team has consistently scored 4.9 or even five out of five on internal guest satisfaction surveys.
Tina inspires the rest of the team to strive for excellence and consistency in everything they do through her verbal encouragement. Owners love her because she always greets them with a genuine smile and in spite of her busy schedule is always eager to sit with them and chat. This welcoming associate knows each owner by name, and she remembers the personal details they share, enabling her to pick the conversation right up the next time they visit.
According to Jennifer Brown, general manager at Channel Island Shores, “Tina thinks out of the box, constantly finding new solutions to things. A lot of our innovative ideas were generated from her.” Previously, owners received a pre-packaged cookie with a card describing the resort’s commitment to service. The resort received very few comments on the cookie, which cost 50 cents per guest. Tina realized that the resort could package its own treats with less cost and more success. Each guest now receives a small bag of Goldfish crackers upon check-in with a note stating “You’re O’fishially a VIP” and the description of the resort’s commitment to service. Guests regularly comment on how much they love the thoughtful gesture, and the resort has at the same time reduced costs to 10 cents per guest.
Tina regularly goes out of her way to help guests, owners, and coworkers. For example, when a family stayed at the resort while recovering from a major loss, Tina outfitted their unit with a handwritten card and an amenity basket offering the resort’s condolences. Another time she purchased a number of personal items for a hospitalized guest and brought them to her in the hospital.
The resort has increased its rental revenue year over year since 2013, and much of that success is due to Tina’s diligent inventory management. As front desk manager, she makes sure all unused units are added to the resort’s booking engine. She also communicates with the Grand Pacific Resorts home office so the units can be added to various rental programs.
Due to a very limited budget, Channel Island Shores is always looking for ways to cut costs while enhancing the owner experience. Tina saved the resort several thousand dollars by personally designing a new garden lounge area. She also planted a lemon tree nearby to supply lemons for the resort’s water dispenser. Her creativity freed up much-needed funds, which we are reinvesting in other areas of the resort.
The Beach House Golf & Racquet Club in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and management company Defender Resorts, Inc. have been lucky to have Betty Osborne as part of the management team for more than 24 years.
Osborne started with Defender Resorts as an assistant General Manager in 1992, spent a few years helping out with management between multiple resorts and then made a home as the General Manager of Beach House in 1998 and has been gracing the property with her presence ever since.
“Betty has been a huge asset to our company since she began,” said Mark Westbrook, President and COO of Defender Resorts. “She is consistently reliable, hardworking and friendly. Not only is she someone who has always stepped up to be a team player, but she’s also been instrumental in making sure properties exceed the standards that owners deserve. She’s always been one of the highest scorers from owners, renters and exchangers satisfaction surveys.”
To Osborne the best part of being a general manager at the Beach House Golf & Racquet Club is the people. She enjoys working with her board and her staff and really finds joy from the guests.
“Every week we get a new set of people to build a rapport with, but then we also get to see those people return year after year,” said Osborne. “We began doing vacation memories where every year we take photos and then when owners return the following year we revisit those memories with them. It’s been one of my favorite things to see bring smiles to guests faces week after week.”
The Beach House began as a motel which was converted into a timeshare property in the 1960s which Westbrook gives Osborne high accolades for maintaining the property and spearheading improvements that continue to garner it high scores and positive reviews. Betty Osborne has been present for multiple renovations, refurbishments and life experiences of the owners.
“Everyone is like one big family,” said Westbrook. “Betty is part of the Defender Resorts family and her excellent communications with owners and guests make them part of the family as well.”
Leslie Levesque, General Manager, Holiday Inn Club Vacations Ascutney Mountain Resort
Leslie Levesque developed her deep passion for nature growing up in Nashua, New Hampshire. However, even she couldn’t predict how this love for the outdoors would lead her back to New England and the resort she now calls home.
It began with a fresh bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Las Vegas in 2001. She spent the next decade in various management and director roles with Palms Resort in Las Vegas and Hilton Grand Vacations.
In 2011, Leslie joined the Holiday Inn Club Vacations® family. Starting as the Food and Beverage Manager at its Desert Club Resort in Las Vegas, three years later she was General Manager at its Ascutney Mountain Resort.
She describes her leadership style as very hands-on. From Housekeeping to the Front Desk, Leslie has managed a variety of departments. “I like to do whatever my team members are expected to do,” she says. “You can’t manage someone if you can’t do their job.”
Leading by example, Leslie has created a culture where everyone works together to help. She doesn’t mind rolling up her sleeves and doing whatever needs to be done. In fact, when the resort’s new restaurant The Maple Kitchen opened without a cook, Leslie became the Assistant Cook to the Consultant Chef for a month until a permanent chef was hired.
Focusing 100% on the restaurant also enabled Leslie to learn the various roles of her new team members. “I learned from some really skilled people,” she explains. “The experience created a lot of credibility between me and my team. It was fantastic to see everyone pitch in and take ownership of the dining experience.”
She credits her attention to detail to one of her mentors, Adalberto Lugo, Holiday Inn Club Vacation’s Regional Director of Resort Operations for the West and General Manager of Desert Club Resort, Las Vegas, NV. “I have very high expectations of people,” she says. “I expect people to do things to completion. Lugo instilled that work ethic in my mind.”
But it was her determined, strong and independent mother Sandra that implanted in her a simple leadership philosophy: If you take on something, do it to the best of your ability. “If it lands in your lap it’s yours,” explains Leslie. “Once you take something on, you own it. So make sure you have all your facts.”
Leslie readily admits leadership is rewarding, but not always easy. One of her biggest challenges is recruiting and retaining new talent in the remote Vermont location. “I’m lucky to get two or three qualified applicants,” she says.
While having a remote Human Resources team in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is challenging, it also has unique benefits. “Because we don’t have that specific role on property, my team is comfortable coming to me,” she says. “There’s a trust factor that has evolved.”
Having a cheerful team is first and foremost to Leslie and she credits Kelly Kahler, her Regional Director of Resort Operations for the East and General Manager of Holiday Inn Club Vacations South Beach Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC., for demonstrating this value in her leadership. “You can’t have a successful business without having a successful team. When you have healthy and happy team members who love their jobs and want to come to work every day, they make the guests’ experiences memorable and fun.”
She notes it’s very rewarding knowing everything is in sync and running smoothly because of her team. “When I leave and everything is working perfectly, I know I did my job well!” Leslie has also discovered a unique advantage to working in a smaller environment. In fact, helping develop future leaders is among her proudest accomplishments. “I’m all about helping and promoting from within,” she says. “I have an extraordinary opportunity to groom people for success.”
Whenever prospective leaders ask for advice, Leslie shares “It’s not all glamorous or about barking orders. You have to earn the respect of your team. If they’re going to work hard for you, you have to be someone they look up to and want to support.”
Hilton Grand Vacations Club’s Jerilea Caldwell, 2015 ARDA Award Winner, Resort Operations Team Member
Jerilea Caldwell plays an integral role in the critical day-to-day operations of two Hilton Grand Vacations Club resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada. As executive assistant for Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo and Hilton Grand Vacations Club on Paradise, she has provided more than 15 years of dedicated service to HGV, taking on a range of responsibilities during her tenure.
With a depth of experience gained in one of the top destinations in the world, Jerilea has become fluent in the vacation ownership industry and established herself as an authority in owner relations and guest services. She has developed strong working partnerships, curated a reputation as a reliable and responsive colleague, and endeared herself to Team Members and guests alike.
Jerilea has earned awards and accolades at the property, state, and national levels in recognition of her remarkable contributions to HGV, including Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, Gold Key, 2014 Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association (NHLA) Administrative Employee of the Year, and, most recently, 2015 American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Award for Resort Operations Team Member.
Jeffrey Chen, resort director at Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo, says, “Jerilea is an incredible asset to our team and to HGV as a whole. Quite simply, she is the glue that holds our operations together.”
As valuable as Jerilea is administratively, her true value to the organization can also be measured through her dedicated involvement in philanthropic and community outreach efforts – supporting charitable organizations in Las Vegas, such as Three Square, Habitat for Humanity, Shade Tree, Ruby Thomas ES, and more. She routinely helps to coordinate regional corporate responsibility initiatives among Hilton Grand Vacations’ Las Vegas resorts and sales teams.
Jerilea’s efforts infuse a vital, vibrant spirit of giving in those around her – whether it’s during the Hilton Worldwide Global Month of Service, special events, fundraisers and donation drives throughout the year, or through volunteer service an hour or two at a time.
Even in her mostly administrative role, which is typically considered to be “heart-of-house,” Jerilea has taken it upon herself to remain very active in service delivery. Owners regularly ask for her by name—and she knows so many of them by name, as well—to assist in making reservations, blocking rooms, and securing other arrangements for their stays.
Jerilea consistently strives to exceed expectations, often taking on tasks beyond the scope of her responsibilities and delivering on all of them to ensure exceptional guest experiences. She is the epitome of hospitality and sets an example for everyone in our business.
Holly Ansley, General Manager at Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel
Hospitality professionals often wear multiple hats, but Holly Ansley distinguishes herself—and won ARDA’s 2015 Resort General Manager award—by handling these great responsibilities with three key elements: her genuine heart for hospitality with a philosophy of “service way beyond the standard,” a leadership style that inspires trust and respect, and a commitment to safety.
Holly has served as the general manager of Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel in Carlsbad, California, for more than four years. The resort is one of the largest properties in the Grand Pacific Resorts family with 250 units and 124 employees, making Holly’s set of responsibilities expansive. She manages an immediate staff of eight to 10 department managers, handles the financials for the HOA and resort with a budget running up to $10 million, and ensures the overall guest satisfaction for up to 160 that check in daily during peak seasons.
Holly takes hospitality personally. As general manager, she acts as a gracious host to owners and guests by extending them personalized concierge service. Her hospitality promise is emulated by associates she leads. It’s no wonder Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel consistently scores 88 percent in guest satisfaction, has earned RCI Gold Crown status for more than 15 consecutive years, received the TripAdvisor “Service Excellence Award,” and earns an average quarterly RCI Hospitality Score of 4.8 out of 5.
It’s not always easy being in charge, but Holly makes it look like a breeze by preparing her teams for anything and everything, handling issues head-on with the utmost confidence and grace, mentoring her associates with an open mind and heart, and ensuring the company and resort’s reputation is upheld at every turn.
Holly hosts monthly employee luncheons to not only tell, but also show employees how much she appreciates them. Associates feel comfortable offering suggestions, as Holly has clearly demonstrated her openness and commitment to improving the resort. She also provides training opportunities for just about every skill level and interest, including hospitality management, safety and security trainings, and more. She motivates the team with multiple incentives that encouraged employees to stand out as superstars in their level of service and knowledge.
We weren’t kidding—Holly really does take hospitality personally. As general manager, she often asks owners and guests about their stay and how she could make it perfect. It is common to see her checking in guests, making pre-arrival calls, and even cleaning rooms when housekeeping is shorthanded.
One evening the resort had a large number of infants and toddlers in house. So many people request cribs that the resort ran out. It was Holly’s day off, but she jumped into her car to purchase extra cribs and brought them to the resort. Every child had a crib that evening to sleep in, and guests never even knew there was an issue.