MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - More than 30 employees at The Lodge at Kaneohe Bay recently completed training in the new standardized procedures that will be applied to more than a dozen temporary lodging facilities Corpswide.
“It’s not a big change, but it’s a change for everyone,” said lodge manager Mia Ng. “We want the employees to embrace the changes because our clientele is changing and becoming more sophisticated travelers who expect more than just a clean room - they expect our employees to be friendly and have knowledge of the base and local community.”
The Inns of The Corps standards will apply to 14 TLFs in the nation and Japan. Marine Corps Base Hawaii was the last installation to receive the five-day Inns of the Corps Ambassador Brand Training, from Feb. 10 through 14, 2014.
Siddhi Patel, a lodging program specialist from the Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division of Headquarters Marine Corps, and various other representatives trained the staff at The Lodge at Kaneohe Bay, through classroom time, hands-on training and various activities.
“We (taught) techniques and best in-class procedures to improve service delivery, service recovery, and operational standards,” Patel said.
Each of the 14 TLFs will soon be renamed “Inns of the Corps,” followed by the name of the location. Many aspects of the TLFs will also change, from administrative supplies to decor.
“All the TLFs in our program will now have the same operational supplies and equipment, our branded ‘signature’ bedding package, branded collateral and guest amenity package, branded associate uniform program, and branded guest room furnishings and decor which utilize three flavors of unique color schemes to blend regional flavor to the brand,” Patel said. “Above all, we will now provide consistency in our service delivery to each guest who stays with us worldwide.”
According to Patel, the Inns of the Corps program was established in 2008 by the Marine Corps Community Services’ board of directors. In addition to new TLFs being built last year, the older TLFs have adjusted to reflect the new standard over the last few years.
For instance, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in California, added more than 100 guest rooms while Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune added 50 guest rooms, and expanded its public area and reception lobby. So far, Inns of the Corps has had a positive impact on the TLFs, according to Patel.
“Gains in financial performance, service delivery, guest satisfaction and associate satisfaction have been significant since the training program was rolled out,” Patel said.
Due to budget constraints, it is not certain when The Lodge at Kaneohe Bay will complete its standardization.
Ng said the lodge is currently renovating individual rooms as needed, replacing carpets and broken 32-inch TVs with the new standard 42-inch TV.
“Standardization will help us because it’s a good training tool for the employees,” Ng said. “They’ll know that these standards are universal to the Corps. A lot of our employees are dependents. If they get transferred to another base, they’ll have (an easier time) being hired because they know all the standards. The supervisors will have a (much) easier time because (they can better monitor performance with set standards).”
According to the Inns of the Corps website, the TLFs provides basic items for their guests, such as a coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, TV with VCR or DVD player, iron, vending and ice machines, full housekeeping service and more.
The website also has a complete, detailed list of personnel who are eligible to stay in the TLFs and links to make reservations.
Ng said William Macadangdang, the housekeeping manager and Cecilia Alvarado, the assistant housekeeping manager, will be planning activities to keep housekeepers on their toes, help them remember their training and have fun. She said for example, the managers plan to offer competition among the staff, intentionally changing certain aspects of the rooms for the housekeepers to notice and fix.
“It really shows the (staff) you have to pay attention to detail,” Ng said. “Right now we’re (at) full (capacity). There’s no way we can do something like that, but when we are slower, (the managers) can set up the rooms. (The housekeeping staff regularly inspect) rooms and makes sure the amenities are set right and to standard as well as the condition of the rooms.”
“The Inns of the Corps will provide consistency in our service delivery to all our Marines, sailors and their families, wherever and whenever they travel, while staying at our TLFs,” Patel said. “We have become more guest-centric and the significant climb in our customer satisfaction scores (is) a true testament to our branding efforts.”
For more information, visit the website at www.innsofthecorps.com or https://mccsreclodging.com.