Lee County continues to pursue friendliest destination goal with recent certifications

LEE COUNTY, FL —

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is pleased to announce and congratulate area hospitality employees and a Fort Myers Beach property for completing certification in top-notch customer service.

In a first-of-its-kind partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI), 11 industry partners received the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) certification recently as part of the VCB’s Guests First Customer Service Training Program. In addition to the most recent group of graduates, the Windward Passage Resort became the second Lee County property to earn the “Certified Guest Service Property.” It joins The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Fort Myers – The Forum by certifying all of its guest contact positions.

The recent graduates include: Steve Beck, maintenance supervisor at SunStream Properties; Simone Behr, visitor services coordinator with the VCB; Marina Dowling, administrative receptionist at Sanibel Recreation Center; Brenda Frost Assink, CAM manager at Fairview Isles Condominiums; Tom Jarvis, volunteer at VCB; Erin Junkin, administrative assistant VCB; Scotty Lynn Kelly, administrative receptionist at Sanibel Recreation Center; Lisa Mesmer, rental manager at Island Winds Condominiums; Sean Ramsey, restaurant manager at Casa Ybel Resort; Dennis Riley, director of food and beverage at Casa Ybel Resort; Adam Winning, assistant general manager at Residence Inn by Marriott.

The VCB wants to become the world’s first Certified Guest Service destination in the country to certify industry partners, including all area hotels.

“We’re on our way to completing that goal and becoming the friendliest destination in the country,” said Tamara Pigott, VCB executive director. “Understanding how to make every guest’s visit enjoyable and memorable is the cornerstone to every successful hospitality property.”

To earn certification, participants must complete Guests First, the VCB’s award winning, seven-module customer service program. Christine Davlin, who manages and facilitates the program, is excited that this partnership allows participants to become eligible to take the AH&LA Educational Institute’s CGSP® final exam, nationally known as Guest Service Gold Training and Certification. Both programs are designed to educate guest service-oriented, front-line employees on the best ways to provide outstanding guest service.

Hospitality employees must have effective guest service skills in today’s competitive market. They must be able to engage and connect with their guests to go above and beyond the call of duty. EI’s designation provides recognition for those individuals who know how to deliver exceptional service by engaging guests and creating impressive experiences. Recognized worldwide, the CGSP® designation is the highest acknowledgment of award-winning guest service for employees in the hospitality industry. Successful graduates receive a certificate and CGSP® gold lapel pin, to be worn on their uniform in recognition of their knowledge and skills in guest service.

Contact Christine Davlin, tourism education and training manager, for more information on Guests First or the CGSP® certification at cdavlin@leegov.com.

 Editor’s Note: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel include: Sanibel Island & Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Boca Grande & outer islands, North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres.

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Nancy Hamilton, Lee Rose, Francesca Donlan