What a treat to interview Tariq, the General Manager of The Beach Club is one of the prettiest parts of Australia. Tariq’s extensive background in the luxury travel industry, and his work as a partner of Virtuoso Travel, gives him a unique perspective on what it takes to earn and retain clientele from around the world, as well as the team who serves them. His attention to detail – not only that of the guests but also the team – creates a successful culture they are known worldwide for.
Tariq and his leadership team have devised a set of systems that helps them The Beach Club team pays attention to the guests in ways that go beyond many of their competitors, creating a life-long experience for all who visit.
The Beach Club prides itself on creating a “cultural ethos” that not only makes clients feel at home but creates a lasting impression based on emotion. Tariq credits each unique and emotional client experience to a series of intuitive systems that help the team focus on each guest’s priorities during their stay.
Paying Attention to Staff
The Beach Club believes their cultural ethos begins with their ability to hire the right staff. Tariq believes skills can be taught – how to serve, decorate, clean, and greet can be taught. So instead of searching for a team member with pre-existing skills, they look for someone with the right personality, inherently warm and welcoming. They strive to maintain a diverse team from people around the world to ensure their culture remains balanced and open-minded.
From the moment a new hire arrives in port, Tariq, the General Manager meets them in person. This creates an immediate impact and influence on the new team member. The new hire is then taken to the resort and introduced to every team member on property. They get an opportunity to meet and greet their peers while observing them in action with the guests around them. Tariq believes by not isolating the new hire to just their team, they get an opportunity to learn and experience firsthand how the teams are all collectively responsible for the client’s experience. Within the first few weeks of their arrival, new hires are invited to experience the resort’s fine dining establishment so they can witness that which guests come to love. This also helps ensure continuity among all of the team members’ behavior and interaction with guests on property.
Everyone participates in frequent team meetings and one-on-ones. This gives the team an opportunity to share ideas, get creative, expand on what’s working and what needs improvement. They are encouraged to interact with one another, engage and ask questions of their colleagues. This creates a wealth of knowledge and allows everyone to create their own unique approach to handling customer interactions mirrored through the experience of their peers. This collective approach to training also encourages new hires to learn ways to cater to clients by learning the right questions to ask and tips for remembering the details learned.
Tariq’s approach to leadership is through a mindset of service that he learned growing up watching his parents. He believes that anyone in a position of authority should be working to not only create a unique guest experience but to do the same for their team. It’s not unusual to see the GM clearing plates and busing tables on busier dining nights. They are also known for serving guests poolside, shoveling sand in high traffic areas, and pitching in wherever help is needed. This demonstration of ownership carries over throughout their workplace culture.
Paying Attention to Guests
Prior to Arrival:
The precise attention to detail for The Beach Club begins before the guest’s arrival. Their wonderful partners at Virtuoso Travel provide a client itinerary, not only for travel days but for tours and trips outside of the property. Additionally, any information provided by the agent – such as special celebrations, holidays, anniversaries, etc – is provided prior to arrival. Then, the moment the guest lands, they are welcomed by The Beach Club team member who provides the first-class service and handling up to check-in.
The property management system contains a plethora of telling information the team refers to as the “Guest DNA.” Everything someone learns of the guest leading up to, during, or after their visit is recorded. The guest’s experience is then customized based on that information. For instance, upon check-in, a returning guest member is greeted with a “Welcome back.” (that was my experience at the airport and it blew my mind). Hotel staff knows if guests are celebrating special dates during their stay by checking their management system. From that point, each employee can customize their approach with the guest, for instance, the restaurant will create a personalized menu celebrating the birthday or anniversary.
The property management system also captures information such as guest likes or dislikes, preferences and requests. Team members are encouraged to accommodate guests where possible to make their stay more impressionable. Many hotels claim to do this and The Beach Club takes it to another level. For our stay, every team member greeted us by name, at breakfast each morning they proactively bought me my fave Australian fruit (Passionfruit) and they even remembered which tours we were doing each day – it was remarkable attention to detail.
Key Player Daily Meeting:
Each day, key players from each team meet and debrief on what they’ve learned for each specific guest. This information is then disseminated to other team members and uploaded into their system. These daily meetings help people pay attention to each guest’s needs and the feedback their team has shared. Better still, key players can identify trends in guest requests, then change operational protocol accordingly. One example of where this has worked is with the resort’s attention to environmental impact. They changed from using plastic water bottles to reusable water bottles offering both flat and sparkling water options to their guests with a smaller environmental footprint – which they have found is meaningful to many of their guests.
Once a guest of The Beach Club goes home, they receive an online guest survey that is personally reviewed by the GM, where each issue is addressed. Going even a step further, the GM reaches out to the guests in a personalized fashion on special occasions, wishing them happy birthday or anniversary.
Tariq and his team at The Beach Club offer a unique and life-long experience for every guest that visits the unique, elegant property. The systems they have created, the attention to their team and their dedication to exceptional guest experience create a culture people remember with every visit to their property.
How can you pay attention to your clients and guests?
What can your organization do to streamline processes and systems in a way that provides a simple way of raising the customer experience bar?
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
A Big Aussie cuddle to the team, led by Tariq, for our exceptional experience with them. Many can learn from this wonderful property and if you are ever on Hamilton Island, ask your Virtuoso Travel agent to book you at this property, you will be so glad you did.
This post is not sponsored, I just loved it so much!