Archive for February, 2012

The Broadmoor Unwrapped – Part 3

Today, we reveal Part 3 of John Lehndorff’s article delving into what it takes to put on events here at The Broadmoor. “That Extra Mile” goes more in depth about what groups are looking for in their event and how we go about providing it.

If you missed Parts 1 an 2 of the story, see below.

Welcome to almost Spring.
The Broadmoor Team

 That Extra Mile

As the resort’s Director of Banquets, Michael Reid was responsible for serving more than half a million guests last year. He said that The Broadmoor staged at least 10,000 discrete “events” – an event being defined as any planned gathering from a banquet for 1,000 to a coffee break with baked goods. And that doesn’t include those staged “out of property” at the Cave of the Winds, on the ice at the World Arena, and at the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

 

The clientele and their tastes have changed dramatically in the past decade, according to Executive Chef Siegfried “Sigi” Eisenberger. “People are much more well-traveled now and sophisticated and their expectations are much higher. The most outrageous request was for a wild game dinner – we ended up serving leg of lion, antelope, rattlesnake and pheasant.”

 

Planners now want some form of “eatertainment” involved in banquets. “They like to have action stations: meat carving, making desserts, Cobb salads or quesadillas to order, or trout on a grill,” he said. Tapas are a hot choice now so the chef ordered 900 small plates to serve them on.

He maintains order over a culinary realm that includes 18 restaurants, cafés and lounges in a small office behind the staff’s Broadmoor Café where folks from a cross-section of departments mingle and grab an inexpensive meal. Most guests are unaware that The Broadmoor is also a campus. More than 200 students at a time study culinary arts under Chef Sigi and the staff.

Groups are also becoming pickier when it comes to environmental matters. “We used to buy a lot of Chilean sea bass. No more now, since it’s overfished,” Chef Sigi said. “We also use a lot more local, organic produce – we have farmers who grow specifically for us – things like fresh garlic shoots and sorrel.”

The Broadmoor walks the walk when it comes to going green, having committed to sustainability program including energy and water conservation overseen by a Recycling Manager. Many events create a literal Pike’s Peak of cardboard, foam and food items that would have gone straight to the landfill in an earlier time. Now it is recycled and composted. This effort is a boon to another back-of-the-house department, sales, because a rapidly growing coterie of groups will only book at venues that follow green practices.

 

 

Executive Sous Chef John Frazier is our master when it comes to serving great food to large groups.


The Broadmoor Unwrapped – Part 2

Today we move into Part 2 of John Lehndorff’s exploration behind the scenes of what it takes to put on a conference at The Broadmoor.

This time we hear more from Convention Services Manager, Chris Clark and a past client.

Enjoy!

(If you missed Part 1 read it here).

The Team in Action


Four days each spring, the annual Space Foundation Symposium takes over almost the entire resort. For security reasons the hallways and storage spaces of Broadmoor Hall have to be cleared, the contents loaded into six semi-trailer trucks and moved off the property. “A week later, it all comes back,” Clark said.

Space (as the event is called by the staff) means an all-hands-on-deck announcement. “We get people from sales, catering, from the spa and the golf course to help with banquets. You’ll see chefs setting up chairs,” Clark said.

“It ties into our sense of community here,” said Communications Director Allison Scott. “If someone has a need or problem, people come from all over the resort to help because they want to, not because they have to. There’s no grumbling. Everybody wants to get the job done,” she said.
In one day, a room may be set with tables for lunch and then immediately torn down and cleaned to create separate theater spaces for presentations in the afternoon and then reset for a general session at night. “It is very precise, organized chaos,” Clark said.

If a meeting planner needs “it” to have a successful conference, chances are The Broadmoor has “it” tucked away somewhere in its subterranean storehouses. The storerooms are jammed with linens, shiny chafing dishes, tables of all sorts, humongous ice machines, vacuum cleaners you ride like a Zamboni, food warmers, carpeting, music stands, and yes, wolf treats.
In the back of the house, an immense loading dock through which has arrived a school bus, a Lunar Lander, a Cessna with its wings folded back, as well as numerous cars, a helicopter and several drones can accommodate any need.

 

Pulling off one or two events a day would be easy as pie, but there are sometimes a dozen or more in any 24-hour period, including some of the more than 300 weddings held each year at the resort. That hubbub of activity was a concern initially for Deb Brawner, a representative of the American Society of Association Executives, which brought more than 500 members to The Broadmoor.
“One thing a planner hates is to be forgotten because there are other, bigger events going on at the same time,” Brawner said. “That doesn’t happen here. They are always checking in to see if you need anything. It really makes you feel good about the place.”

 

Once an event is ordered – sometimes years in advance – the planning begins in earnest. AutoCAD drawings are used to arrange set-up and traffic flow down to the fraction of an inch. “We know there will always be last-minute adjustments but wholesale changes don’t happen very often. The week of the event all we’re managing are tweaks,” Clark said.

 

Stayed tuned for part 3 of John’s article next week.


The Broadmoor Unwrapped

This week, we’re excited to present the first post in a four-part series written by John Lehndorff. John visited The Broadmoor to investigate just what it takes to coordinate memorable events.

 

Here is the introduction to his story, “The Broadmoor Unwrapped.”

 Everybody knows that The Broadmoor staff is just a bunch of yes-men and yes-women. Tell them you’d like to hang a multimillion-dollar communications satellite from the ceiling of plush Broadmoor Hall. They’ll say “Yes.” Not “Maybe.” Not “We’ll consider that.”
When a meeting planner wants her group to meet a wolf up close and personal, the staff not only says “Yes,” but supplies tasty wolf treats. Need a band playing on a stage floating in the swimming pool? You’ve come to the right people.


You say your association of insurance agents needs to stage 50 intimate dinner events simultaneously at locations all over the property? The Broadmoor team doesn’t blink: “We can make that happen.” And, during a freak October ice storm, they do.
The affirmative approach is not surprising, when you consider that The Broadmoor was created by the original yes-man, Spencer Penrose. He refused to take “no” for an answer when almost every expert gave a resounding thumbs-down to his dream of creating a European-style resort in the middle-of-nowhere, then known as Colorado. From the first day it opened in 1918, The Broadmoor welcomed corporate leaders, presidents, movie stars, golfers and groups of all sorts to Colorado Springs for meetings, conferences and conventions. While the needs of attendees have evolved over time, the need to meet in person has only grown more essential. Facebook will never replace face-to-face.

 
So when groups decide to bring their team together in one place, one reason they choose The Broadmoor is that they want peace of mind – an absence of glitches, hitches and near misses. The Broadmoor’s commitment is what makes it one of the nation’s premier event destinations. Says Convention Services Manager Chris Clark, “Our president, Stephen Bartolin, from my very first day here said, ‘Never confuse your task with your job. Your task is setting up chairs. Your job is to be a hospitality professional and care for the guests.’”


The staff is empowered to personally take care of guests’ needs and wants, Clark said. They don’t need permission. So, instead of a half dozen concierges in the lobby, there are, in effect, hundreds of concierges on duty 24-7 across the resort’s 3,000 acres.
They’re the real secret to The Broadmoor’s success. In the back of the house, there’s a synchronized army of specialists – everything from audio-visual experts and banquet chefs to fork-lift drivers and servers. It’s a strategically coordinated force that generals on the nearby military bases would envy.

 

Read more next week…


An Approach to Service

What is that makes a good meeting a great meeting? There certainly isn’t a formula – only a nebulous of elements that come together with the hope that the higher powers that be will decide everything will be available and on time, the discussion will be productive, and bellies happy and full.

At The Broadmoor, we do our utmost with the things we have the ability to control and the rest is left up to the Gods.

 

When you have more than 1,800 employees from 23 different countries and cultures, how do you get them to deliver a consistent level of service? It’s all in the training – and in a culture of service that began in 1918.

When The BROADMOOR’s founders, Spencer and Julie Penrose, built what they called “The Riviera of theRockies,” the mission was to offer European elegance served with a healthy dose of Western hospitality. From the beginning, an international staff was brought in and trained to take care of guests’ needs in a way that, at the time, was reserved for only the grandest of hotels worldwide. Serving guests was an honor and a duty that was not taken lightly. Standards were rigorously upheld at every level and in every department. Guests came first.

Flash forward almost 94 years. 

Certainly, The BROADMOOR has changed. When it opened in 1918, there was one golf course, 111 rooms, a polo field and one restaurant and guests stayed for weeks to months at a time. Today, the average guest stay is just under three days; guests come to not only for rest and recreation with their friends and families, they come on business or to attend meetings and trade shows. The resort now has three championship golf courses, 700 rooms, spa, a host of dining options and other top amenities. However, what was true in the beginning is still true today: guests come first. With all the additional rooms, amenities and services, that means a lot of training comes with it.

 The BROADMOOR offers more than 40 classes that not only teach the basics of hospitality, but the standards set forth by both the Forbes Travel Guide and the American Automobile Association (AAA) for Five-Star and Five-Diamond service. A new team member receives over 175 hours of training in their first year and while the standards are complex, the basics are simple: treat everyone like a guest.  Take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves. Attention to detail is the key.

 In order to make that happen, the team embraces a philosophy of inclusion. If you treat every staff member who needs something done or who asks a question as an “internal guest” and handle them with the same level of service and respect you would an “external guest,” the culture of service will carry over. It will show. As Mr. Penrose believed, service comes from the heart. When that belief is practiced with passion, it makes a staff proud to work – and proud to be of service to all guests. Maybe that’s why there are more than 120 staff who are members of the Pioneer Club, working at The BROADMOOR from 25 to 40-plus years.

 “Everyone has brick and mortar,” says John Rovie, Director of Sales for The BROADMOOR. “But at the end of the day, it’s the people that make the difference. We have the finest staff. They take great pride in the resort and in their jobs. While training is essential, pride is paramount. We have both and that’s what makes this place so special – not only to visit, but to work.”