Dorchester Collection launches training academy

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​The Dorchester Collection has launched an academy to share its secrets of offering luxury customer service

The L&D offering is open to both individuals and businesses looking to boost the level of service to their clientele. Programmes incorporate presentations, discussions, role-play sessions, and activities to put knowledge into practice.

Speaking to HR magazine, Beth Aarons, global director of the Dorchester Collection Academy, said that the idea for the academy was born out of the hotel chain being approached by several prospective clients.

“Originally it wasn’t a commercial venture," she said. "People who ran high-end businesses and had experienced our service firsthand at our hotels started asking us about training and development.

"They wanted to know how they could offer that within their companies, and we were more than happy to help them. We felt that seeing as the demand was there, there must be an opportunity to open up the knowledge and skills of what we do.”

Aarons said that the Dorchester’s academy provides both open half-day programmes, divided into 90-minute sessions, and bespoke sessions that address specific business needs.

So far the academy has attracted both individuals and large companies. “Typically these will be businesses who have great products but might need some help in knowing how to deliver it to their customers in the best way,” said Aarons.

Maintaining a strong sense of brand identity has been invaluable, Aarons said.

“In luxury it’s really important to have a strong sense of who you are. At the Dorchester we know about the people who use our hotels; we know that they drive incredible cars, we know that they enjoy great food, and we can use these insights to provide them with a fabulous experience.”

Drawing on her 25 years of experience within HR, Aarons added that HR professionals are in the ideal position to offer their skills as part of a commercial venture.

“From a strategic perspective HR offers real value to a business," she said. "They’re able to bring knowledge from across sectors, and we’re able to bring together the commercial understanding with our insights of how people work.”

Providing world-class luxury customer service relies upon offering a tailored experience, Aarons said.

"It’s really about customisation over standardisation," she said. "If you’re able to customise the experience to the individual that you're serving it really makes a difference to people’s day. Excellent customer service is something that makes people feel great, and we will always strive to deliver it in a gracious, humble, and experienced way.”

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