The Scottsdale Camelback Resort – A Benchmark for Legacy Properties

Scottsdale Camelback Resort

“Because we are a rare single-site timeshare resort and not affiliated with a national brand, we have the freedom to focus on satisfying our owners instead of a shareholder,” says Lori Entwistle, General Manager. “Plus, we have a fantastic Board that shares our vision and enables us to execute and move quickly when a decision is required.”

Although there are only a handful of free-standing, unbranded timeshare resorts around today, Lori and her management team have managed to make their 30-year old resort excel in both customer and staff satisfaction, retaining many of their 70 associates for as long as 25 years.

To accomplish this, the Scottsdale Camelback Resort and its team of associates focus daily on these 10 characteristics, calling them the SCR Way: Teamwork, Integrity, Commitment, Loyalty to Company, Accountability, Pride, Enthusiasm, Professionalism, Participation, and Personal Responsibility.

“Those words really mean something on this property,” Lori adds. “It’s how we deal with associates, vendors, and owners. With one property, 111 villas and a staff of 70, we strive to have everyone work at their maximum capacity. This means each job becomes far greater than its job description. When everyone interacts in a kind and courteous manner with owners, vendors, and associates on a daily basis, their job becomes more meaningful. They understand that they are part of something larger in scope and their actions can have a positive impact on the experiences of those they serve.”

This translates to a great deal of effort from the executive level to hire, train and recognize associates. Adds Eric Downey, SCR Director of Operations, with the resort for 25 years, “We are surrounded by about 20 luxury resorts within two miles, all clamoring for the best associates, making competition for exceptional candidates truly challenging. This means we don’t always have the first choice and may take someone without experience. But after we explain the SCR Way and the candidates connect with our commitment, they eagerly become part of our great team. They understand that there are new challenges every day, but when we work as a team and have fun in the process, the final result becomes exceptional guest service.”

Scottsdale Camelback Resort Overhead Drone Shot
Scottsdale Camelback Resort Overhead Drone Shot

Employee Recognition/Bonus Programs

Everyone enjoys praise and recognition for a task well done. To remain frequently engaged with their associates and reward them with financial benefits, SCR recognizes their associates on daily, monthly and quarterly programs, sharing their achievement company-wide at the time the award is presented.

The quarterly bonus gift card program of varying values recognizes associates who have excelled to a certain standard within their position. This can include helping maintain exchange company scores, departmental budgets and acts of kindness to associates and/or guests. These gestures indicate a strong commitment to the resort and its owners.
When a manager recognizes an associate demonstrating the SCR Way, the manager will hand them a piece of a puzzle. Monthly, all associates who have received a puzzle piece are recognized at the General Associate Meeting. Puzzle pieces are placed into a hopper, with winners receiving a free lunch and $75 gift cards. The subliminal message shows that when combined, all of the puzzle pieces can achieve amazing results. On a daily basis, all managers can hand out puzzle pieces “on the fly” as a deed is observed, these pieces are also eligible to win a gift card.

Annual employee performance Success Evaluations are conducted semi-annually instead of annually with salary increases given when appropriate, meaning that increases will come more often. This is aimed at retaining staff with more frequent financial rewards. The program allows managers to be more frequently engaged and provide positive feedback with financial benefits.

“Although decisions are always based on what is best for the resort and its owners,” says Robin Freese – Director of Guest Services and with the resort for 25 years – “Lori has found the balance of taking good care of our owners, maintaining the resort at the highest standards and keeping our associates happy. This is not easy to achieve but her high energy, keen leadership, and upbeat positive spirit have helped make this happen. She consistently takes care of everyone within our resort family, knowing if they succeed, we all will. This makes for a very tight-knit family atmosphere.”

Philanthropic endeavors include donating linens to veterans, women’s shelters, and recycling centers. Past annual manager outings were at a game arcade and bowling alley to bring managers together and create bonds with fellow associates. Lori is very big on creating teamwork and constant staff training. The spa director is attending a wellness conference, maintenance managers have been to seminars on pool maintenance and the F&B director has attended food shows and culinary seminars, enabling them to become more knowledgeable about their jobs and want to learn and do even more.

Happily married for 25 years, Lori believes in a work-life balance for herself and her team and has recently discovered the fun and challenge of golf. She loves interacting with associates and welcoming returning owners that she has come to know over her many years at the resort, including several third- and fourth-generation families. There is a constant flow in and out of her office and she most enjoys being involved with her staff and assisting each department as they work toward a common Resort Goal, recognizing that they are all pieces of the puzzle.

Added Erin Press, Director of Marketing and Revenue, “I love working at SCR for so many reasons…but the one that had the largest impact on my decision to join the team was that the bulk of our leadership team has been on the property for more than 20 years. It is this commitment and longevity that allows us to drive our vision forward with a focus on our owners. As a property, we are able to truly provide a home-away-from-home experience for our owners, exchange guests and rental guests.”

Who’s Running the Show

Lori Entwistle received a BS in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and was recruited by Hyatt Hotels for their management trainee program. She began her hospitality career as Food and Beverage Controller at the Hyatt Regency Hilton Head, later transferring to Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, as Assistant Purchasing Director. In 1994, she became Purchasing Director at the Scottsdale Camelback Resort. She was promoted to General Manager in 2000, helping create the resort’s foundation, which has been recognized as an industry benchmark for legacy properties. Her leadership at SCR is a testament to her ability to successfully manage an aging property while maintaining high exchange company designations. Lori is a frequent guest speaker for ARDA at national and regional meetings and is a Certified Hotel Administrator and Registered Resort, Professional. She holds an Arizona Real Estate Brokers license and is the Designated Broker for the rental program at Scottsdale Camelback Resort. Lori’s senior management team includes: Eric Downey, Director of Operations; Robin Freese, Director of Guest Services; Erin Press, Director of Marketing and Revenue and Jennifer Bohnsack, Director of Human Resources.

Scottsdale Camelback Resort Supervisor Outing
Scottsdale Camelback Resort Supervisor Outing

Fun Facts:

Scottsdale Camelback Resort (SCR) is idyllically located at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Resort features 111 purpose-built studios, and two- and three-bedroom villas. Amenities include pools, fitness center, lighted tennis courts, meditation labyrinth, walking trail, movie theater, poolside grille and water spa. The 10-hole miniature golf and 9-hole putting green was designed for multigenerational activities and are ADA acceptable. Scottsdale Camelback is affiliated with RCI, II and Vacations and Travel, designated as Gold Crown and Select. The property has been named a Greenleader by Trip Advisor and a Certified Green Hotel by the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau for their efforts in environmental initiatives. The Resort welcomed its first owners in 1982 and was sold out in 1990. For the past seven years, SCR has been managed by Synergy Management, led by Lori Entwistle who is Synergy president and resort General Manager. Synergy also offers consulting services for self-managed or board run properties seeking professional advice, employee training or an independent evaluation of their operations.

 


Marge Lennon has been a publicist for the timeshare industry since 1978. She can be reached at 239-841-0553 or via marge@lennoncommunications.com