SPOTLIGHT ON Paul Tormey, Regional Vice President & General Manager Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont managed hotel

A leader in the global hospitality industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is an extraordinary collection of luxury hotels. Fairmont hotels are one-of-a-kind properties where sophisticated travelers can discover culturally rich experiences that are authentic to the destination. Situated in some of the most exclusive and pristine areas in the world, Fairmont is committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program.

Paul Tormey, Regional Vice-President and General Manager of The Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel oversees five iconic Fairmont hotels including: Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel; Fairmont San Francisco; Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Fairmont Olympic, Seattle and Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego. Paul’s self-styled “total engagement” philosophy — honed at the helm of several Fairmont holdings – emphasizes daily interaction with staffers at all levels, immersing himself “in the heart of the house” and empowering employees by establishing personal connections that he believes are vital to the bottom line. As a result, he is equally comfortable connecting with The Claremont’s housekeepers and bell persons, as he is personally welcoming high-profile guests ranging from movie stars to heads of state.

Can you talk about the “Fairmont Guest Experience”?

The Fairmont experience was and continues to be built upon “genuine hospitality.” Our parent company, Accor is a lifestyle company. Our brand is luxury – If you look at the types of hotels that we operate, we are a luxury brand with diverse and exciting hotels. We are unique hospitality company; our discerning guests rely upon our service professionals to inform them of the things that are happening at a particular location, which includes food and drink, shopping, and cultural attractions. We are very local-centric and we proudly bring out the best in each destination. The common thread through each of our hotels is our heritage and our service promise credo. Our teams are constantly seeking ways to create memorable customer experiences. For our frontline colleagues, learning and development is a critical resource to help bring these experiences to life.

The Evolution of Hospitality

Fairmont strives to be innovative, adapting to new, sensible trends and always staying ahead of the curve—that is a key strength. Our agility and ingenuity paid dividends when the Covid-19 crisis hit the hospitality industry with unimaginable consequences. We continue to offer our guests personalized, seamless experiences with targeted deals and inspiring advertising campaigns. Through the brand’s Service Promise, Leadership Promise, and other initiatives, Accor has been able to develop a culture of proactive and meaningful hospitality – resulting in a 3% increase in global engagement, a #1 JD Power Ranking, and a #1 Global Service Culture for several of our brands.

Reimaging the Employee Experience

Our people are our only asset and we take great pride in putting them at the heart of everything we do – building on our strong talent culture. Our aim? For our teams to be supported and empowered to reach their full potential. Our leadership teams value and seek input, ideas and suggestions from every level of the organization.

Hospitality is fundamentally about people – welcoming them, connecting with them, understanding wide-ranging cultures, and sparking emotion. Our team pride themselves on creating memories our guests will cherish for a lifetime. More than ever, we are reaffirming our commitment to build a stronger future as a collective by highlighting what makes Fairmont truly unique as a company: Our Heartists’® passion and individual personalities, and the wealth of learning and career development opportunities offered. We place people at the heart of what we do. We take pride in nurturing real passion for service and achievement. We provide unique opportunities for our teams to oversee their own professional growth, through a true culture of learning and providing them access to top training and development programs. We are extremely flexible in the wide-ranging employment scenarios we offer, whether that is a lifelong career or short-term employment. We focus on growth, learning and daring to challenge the status quo, which remains in line with our Group’s focus on driving positive action. This vision permeates our business ethics, including our contribution to a more responsible type of tourism, better community engagement and diversity and inclusivity within our teams.

Colleague Training

Employee engagement is critical in creating and maintaining our brand and reputation. Our colleagues are our brand ambassadors who make each guest’s stay a meaningful and memorable one, and, in recognition for their own continued outstanding performance, we give our colleagues the opportunity to create those same memories for themselves. Everyone from housekeeping to upper management is recognized for performance that delivers on our mission and brings the Fairmont brand to life.

In the hospitality industry, service is directly tied to the bottom-line, so innovative companies must create an employee engagement strategy that is motivating and meaningful to all employees. Our strategic programming embraces and communicates the company’s core values while helping to create an engaged culture where employees come to work every day to deliver on the company’s mission and are fully committed to their day-to-day work, team, management and the organization.

Fairmont employees receive tuition subsidies for courses related to their position. Employees may also receive tuition subsidies for courses unrelated to their current position. The company also provides subsidies for professional accreditations; in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; formal mentoring program; career planning services; in-house training programs; online training programs; new employee orientation program; formal management training program; management training; summer work experience program. Fairmont works closely with hospitality industry associations and educational institutions to develop customized training programs for employees.

We continue to strive for smarter, better-trained employees, better product and destination expertise to provide better service over all. In regards to recruiting, we have put numerous incentives in place. If you want great people, you have to think about how you are compensating them and how you are setting them up for success. The majority of our colleagues are guest facing and as such we have examined and updated touchpoints of the guest experience from reservation to departure.

New Initiatives

In an effort to demonstrate flexibility with leaders “work/life balance/rhythm” we have instituted unique benefit “perk” programs and time off to recharge batteries or do what you wish. The programs are not perfect and seem to be unevenly utilized, we are a 24/7, 365-day-a-year business which makes customer service requirements challenging. We are experimenting with bonus programs, learning opportunities, and task force work to expand professional knowledge. We have also adjusted pay scales, and extended greater work remote opportunities (for those non-operations/ administrative roles) that can do so. As noted career advancement opportunities, training and development remain paramount to the success of our hotels and the industry overall.

Paul Tormey, Regional Vice President & General Manager Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont managed hotel