Case Study: Attracting and Keeping Great Staff – Nimmos Bay’s Success
Nimmo Bay Heli-Ventures has a trademarked “theory of hospitality”: E2=MC, which stands for “Expectations Exceeded=Memories Created.” But what does the company do to ensure that guests’ expectations are exceeded?
The heart and soul of Nimmo Bay Resort’s luxury vacation is the non-stop exceptional wilderness experiences. The past guest list reads like Fortune 500’s Who’s Who. The owner, Craig Murray, has to walk the fine line between providing a rustic, outdoor adventure experience for his guests while at the same time catering to the expectations of an elite clientele. “Our guests expect to experience heart-stopping adventure tourism from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Around that they want all the comforts of home. Our job is to provide exactly that,” says Craig.
HUMOUR, MUSIC AND DETAILS
What is the secret to finding and then retaining seasonal employees who are willing to live in a remote location and provide a true adventure experience for guests, while at the same time catering to their expectations? The criteria Craig looks for when hiring are humour, musical ability and detail orientation, because that is a formula that has worked for him for years. Craig says that if a prospective employee plays a musical instrument of any kind, they immediately have a leg-up on other candidates. Music not only brings the staff together as a group during their off hours, but it provides endless entertainment for the guests while they relax after a day of excitement and adventure.
To get — and keep — the best employees for the resort is “an easy formula,” says Craig. “Feed them what you feed the guests, offer them private living quarters, provide the use of all the recreational equipment on their days off, and pay them a premium wage.”
He takes much of the guesswork out of hiring by retaining many employees season after season (the chef has been there for seven years), or by accepting referrals from existing staff. The issue of keeping staff while working at a remote, fly-in fishing lodge is addressed by scheduling employees to work 20 days at the resort and then giving them four days off to head back to town if they so desire.
MATURITY PAYS OFF
Nimmo Bay Resort tends to hire mature employees who are comfortable associating with a wealthy, elite clientele.
Nimmo Bay seems to have found a formula that works. It has been operating forover 30 years, is consistently booked, and according to one guest’s comment is “creating an experience that outperformed the great expectations we had coming in.”
Craig Murray understands that this guest experience does not happen by accident. It is planned, and this planning includes not only a sensational product, but also selecting the right people, treating them well and being confident they will look after the rest.