Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Pingston

Julie Pingston

President, Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA)

Julie Pingston, CMP, CTA is the current President of the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) and is Senior Vice President for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lansing, Michigan. She has been with the GLCVB for 21 years and works in conjunction with the Bureau's President in overall organizational operations. She also has direct oversight over convention services, membership, the Greater Lansing Sports Authority, the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program and special events which are coordinated by the organization. Previously, Ms. Pingston worked in Washington, D.C. for the United States Travel & Tourism Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. While there, she assisted in planning international conferences and Board Meetings as well as administering a disaster relief assistance grant program. Ms. Pingston chaired ESPA's 2014 Annual Conference and is a member of MSAE, MMPI and the Rotary Club of Lansing. She also serves as the President of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, President of the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation and Secretary of the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan. Ms. Pingston was Michigan Meetings and Events Magazine's Hall of Fame Inductee/Supplier of the Year (2008), MSAE's Diamond Award Winner (2009), MMPI's Mentor of the Year (2011), ESPA's Member of the Year (2004), ESPA's President's Award Recipient (2009) and ESPA's Executive Excellence Award Recipient (2013).

Ms. Pingston can be contacted at 517-377-1412 or jpingston@lansing.org

Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.