~Shared by Mariann Crandall
Many times guests will ask me, "did you all drink the Kool-Aid?" It's hard for people to understand how we can all be so happy and friendly all of the time, which got me thinking: what is the secret to the hospitality that we exude here at Woodloch?
To me it starts with the Kiesendahl family, the owners of Woodloch Resort. They have a mission statement, "to treat each and every guest as though they are family in their very own home." They not only treat their guests that way, but they also treat their staff that way. You will always find them around the resort helping out, pouring coffee, refilling food, shaking hands with every guest that walks through the dining room, and remembering guests year after year. On top of that, they know the names of the 900 staff members employed here, and they happily greet us throughout each day.
I asked the owner of Woodloch, John Kiesendahl, how he thought the spirit of hospitality originated. He answered, "the spirit of Woodloch’s hospitality started with my mom, Mary Kiesendahl. My dad, Harry Kiesendahl, was the business man, but my mom was the heart and soul of Woodloch. She was the out-front face of Woodloch, and she loved every one of our guests. In the beginning when there would only be 30 or 40 people staying at the boarding house, you would always see her out with the guests, making sure that everyone was happy. Her spirit of sincere concern for others’ happiness was contagious to all of Woodloch’s staff and genuinely appreciated by our guests. Mom’s kindness, friendliness, enthusiasm and personalized hospitality are the foundation of Woodloch’s tradition of warm hospitality. For the past 54 years, her loving example has been the cornerstone of our mission statement."
I also talked to Alexa Peregrim, who just started at Woodloch in January 2012, working in reservations and the dining room. She says, "Woodloch is such a fun place to work! Co-workers, managers and owners are so kind and make me feel like I've known them for years. It really allows me to feel comfortable and excited to go into work. Everyone at Woodloch was very welcoming towards me when I started working. The people I have met have already become great friends and colleagues even though I've only been here for a short time!"
I've worked here for nearly 16 years, and I don't feel like an employee; I feel like family. I think that's how most of the employees feel, and that emotion gets passed on to our guests. I'm not sure that its something you can teach. It's something that you have to experience. Hospitality is infectious, and a smile goes a long way.