Classes teach how to be nice to tourists
Call it academic karma.
Lake Tahoe Community College is offering vocational classes starting in April designed to help guest-service employees hone their skills in a tourism-based economy. It’s called the Guest Service Academy.
“This is important stuff because this (program) shows how you’d want your mom to be treated,” said Virginia Boyar, director of vocational education. “There is acceptable, and there’s unacceptable. We need to raise the bar on service.”
Boyar makes the case that it’s the service and interaction that visitors have with restaurants and lodging establishments that leave a lasting impression. The imperative is punctuated by the prospect of a more upscale crowd entering the Lake Tahoe Basin, once redevelopment gets into full swing.
“You could have the best product in the world, but they won’t come back if they have a bad experience,” she said.
One scenario includes a restaurant that offers no explanation to a regular diner for removing a favorite dish from a menu. Another may involve a hotel that inadvertently cancels a guest’s reservation, with no solution in sight.
These situations happen every day, Boyar said.
“Now if you can get the minimal amount of service, you feel like you’re doing well. And at the same time, we (as guests) expect more,” she said.
The hospitality-oriented program, the brainchild of the college, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, begins the session at the Station House Inn with three pilot classes: Introduction to Guest Service, The Difficult Guest and Attitude and Motivation. The college expects to add Advanced Communication Techniques, along with Time and Stress Management.
Students will write a mission statement on personal service as well as act out mock scenarios to test their will and skill in handling situations with guests or customers.
The most interesting scenes may come out of the class – The Difficult Guest. Here, the students will learn about three types of guests: distracted, disappointed and disruptive. The skill-set requires a certain amount of empathy and good listening ability.
Each six-hour course over two three-hour sessions earns a half-unit of non-transferable credit and costs $7.50 for California residents and $18 for Nevada residents.
Registration for the session is March 19.
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