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      Finger Lakes Hotel is Best Western's First Certified Guest Service Property

      The Best Western PLUS Vineyard Inn & Suites in Penn Yan, New York, is the first Best Western property to earn the Certified Guest Service Property designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI). The 57-room property, located in the the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State, is ranked #1 in its city by Trip Advisor. The staff includes 30 year-round and seasonal employees.

      Guest Service Gold, introduced by the Educational Institute in 2011, shows employees and properties how to achieve a new standard of exceptional service based on emotionally engaging with guests in memorable ways. Employees who complete the training are prepared for the exam to earn the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP) designation. Properties that certify 100 percent of their front-line staff earn the title of Certified Guest Service Property. Hotels and academic institutions worldwide have adopted Guest Service Gold to achieve a new standard in guest service quality.

      "It's an honor to be the first hotel in the Best Western family to receive this certification," said Dr. Lynn Thurston, president of the Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites. "Our staff development specialist, Caitlin Canty, worked closely with Travis Smith to map out an entire training plan for every staff member in our hotel for the next four years. When Travis told us about the Guest Service Gold customer service training program, we jumped at the chance to take the course. Our staff members were inspired by the hotel employees profiled in the course. Watching other hotel employees take ownership of difficult situations and use their initiative to delight guests was truly inspiring."

      Ruth Reid, a front desk reservationist at the Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites, said, "I was so inspired by the training that I now surprise our guests with fresh-cut flowers from my garden at breakfast time."

      Thurston added, "We're proud to be associated with Best Western and with our colleagues around the world who seek service excellence. We recommend this course to everyone in the Best Western family."

      "It is great to see the Best Western Plus Vineyard Inn & Suites making this investment in their employees. This shows that Dr. Lynn Thurston and her staff value education through training and understand the impact that this type of certification will have on their guests," said Travis Smith, CHA, Best Western Hospitality Management Trainer. "Relationships are very important in today's hospitality industry and Certified Guest Service Professional gives them the know-how to strengthen their relationships with guests to build loyal customers."

      For more information on Guest Service Gold and other hospitality training solutions, visit the Educational Institute at www.ahlei.org.

      About the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
      Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to continue being the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals worldwide.

      Elizabeth Johnson - ejohnson@ahla.com