Michael Croake, GM Mountain Run at Boyne Bluegreen Resorts
Whether in his position as a resort General Manager or serving his community, Michael Croake is the consummate hospitality professional. During his tenure at Bluegreen’s Mountain Run at Boyne™ in Boyne Falls, Michigan, Michael has transformed the service culture to a level admired by leaders and replicated by other Bluegreen properties.
Boyne Mountain is the Midwest’s largest ski area and Mountain Run at Boyne is a skier’s paradise with 14 ski lifts and more than 50 trails for all skill levels. Some of the 204 villas at the resort allow guests to ski in and ski out at the base of the Super Bowl, one of the mountain’s top black diamond runs.
When Michael arrived to the property four years ago, the reserve account was seriously underfunded and staffing challenges were immense due to the resort’s location in a town with only 400 residents. Since then, he has successfully produced a positive cash flow and has created and implemented a solid five-year reserve plan to improve the financial health of the resort. Through community partnership programs, he has become the area employer of choice, building a strong leadership team by attracting quality talent and providing opportunities for professional growth.
A “Navy Junior” who lived a somewhat nomadic childhood, Michael earned a degree in hospitality administration from University Nevada Las Vegas. Prior to his current position, he worked in San Francisco for four years as the GM for a luxury high-rise mixed-use property and with AvalonBay Communities. During his 21 years in the hospitality field, about seven years were spent with Hyatt Hotels in operations management. Married for seven years to Denise, they have two children and most enjoy experiencing the year-round activities offered in his region.
Michael was recently named a finalist in ARDA’s annual awards program. He has also has been recognized with internal Bluegreen awards, including the Rock Star and Outstanding Achievement in Hospitality property awards. His improved communication to RCI guests with pre-arrival emails and calls has resulted in the resort’s 11th year as a Gold Crown Property.
Some of the unique programs he has implemented include the creation of an Activity Guide (with assistance from marketing) and a weekly restaurant and activity selection for guests’ benefit. He has also inaugurated kid-friendly Gummy Bears on checkout, carnations on Mother’s Day and Special Kid-of-the-day awards for guests.
A great deal of Michael’s success can be attributed to the molding and mentoring of his staff of 23, letting them know their work matters and is critical to the resort’s success.
“After four years of working together, we have learned the preferences of our returning guests and witnessed their desire to spend more togetherness time participating in family-centric activities. Working with the team and helping create positive vacation memories for generations to come is the best part of my job,” says Michael.
Added Mitchell Laskowitz, Bluegreen Regional VP, “Michael is a wonderful mentor to his associates and has the entire team aligned with our company culture. He is driven, disciplined and accomplished. He has an uncanny ability to move metrics in a positive direction, build strong and resilient relationships with his business partners, and foster a welcoming and valuing dynamic among his team.”
Mabel Colon Housekeeping Team Member Exploria Resorts
Mabel Colon has been a loyal member of the Exploria Resort’s housekeeping team at Summer Bay Orlando for over 19 years. In her supervisory position, she leads a team of 120 room attendants to prepare nearly 800 units for occupancy, frequently during a very short window of time. On checkout days, this may average 350 units.
In addition to her regular housekeeping duties, Mabel has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing guest rooms for board members, VIPs and the developer. Her outstanding quality of work has made her highly respected by board members, management and co-workers.
Commented Miguel Di Angelo, Director of Housekeeping, “Mabel is a true asset to our company. She has amazing organizational skills, a keen attention to detail and is always dedicated to ‘doing the right thing’ while helping her team members. Her commitment to ensuring that resort guests enjoy the best possible vacation experience has been demonstrated year after year by how thoroughly she strives to improve her performance, even after being with us for so long. All of her co-workers admire this kind and caring lady with genuine affection.”
Summer Bay Orlando features several different unit types. These include 719 one- to four-bedroom luxury villas, condominiums, suites and houses as well as a four-story, 46-unit luxury condominium building known as 601 The Reserve, which features one- to four-bedroom floor plans and space for a European-style full service spa, coming in early 2017. Featured in 601 The Reserve are Presidential Units, which are the resort’s highest level of service product and part of the highly respected Registry Collection, requiring the optimum in cleanliness standards, which Mabel consistently provides.
Mabel is always vigilant about reading guest comment cards and seeking additional opportunities to exceed expectations. Her dedication has influenced many of her team members to strive to achieve a similar quality of work, positively impacting overall guest experience scores. She leads primarily by example, setting a high standard for quality. Her leadership has helped maintain high staff retention levels, with some housekeeping professionals remaining with the company as long as 15 years.
With such a large number of units on the property, renovation programs are ongoing. During one program, Mabel and her team of twelve worked tirelessly to prepare 350 units before and after the renovation, systematically removing inventory and furniture, fixtures and equipment. Her organizational skills ensured that every item was accounted for and safely stored. Once the renovations were completed, she guided the process of replacing everything through an inspection of the units to ensure that the work was correctly completed before turning the units over for occupancy.
In addition to regular owners, many guests are exchangers from both Interval International and RCI, all with high expectations for the resort. Mabel’s work philosophy is to consistently strive for perfection even when there is a high-volume of incoming guests. She always has a positive, upbeat attitude and leads her co-workers with her attention to detail and enthusiasm. As a result, the units and common areas around the resort consistently receive high scores for guest satisfaction.
As the mother of two grown children, Mabel loves working at the family-oriented Summer Bay Orlando resort, where the majority of the owners have children. She encourages her team to complete each unit with care and a sense of pride so the guests will enjoy a true feeling of “home” during their visit.