At the Westin – New changes make a lasting impression from the inside out

Matt & Maria
Matt & Maria

Submitted by Tina Escobedo

The official flagging of The Westin Aruba Resort some 18 months ago has brought about an extraordinary transformation to synchronize the property to bring guests a refreshing and energizing vacation experience.  Every touch works together—from the Sensory Welcome of soothing scents, signature music, calming botanicals, and atmospheric lighting to the signature Heavenly Bed experience where guests can rejuvenate in plush serenity. The special touches offered by Westin to help guests restore the body, expand the mind, and elevate the spirit are now also translated into associates’ experiences with an amazing behind-the-scenes transformation that is taking place to energize and inspire associates of The Westin Aruba Resort.

From the moment they arrive in their new line of impeccably tailored uniforms, an inspirational environment has been put into place.  The associates’ entrance has been recreated with tropical foliage, calming tones of color, and motivational quotes and stimulating insight.  The former human resources department is now the Talent Resources & Development Center, where associates enjoy a culture that promotes learning, growing, and succeeding, with exceptional benefits, training, and perks to provide the basis for a renewing work experience.  A training and development center, with an uplifting atmosphere and the opportunity to enhance skills in the hospitality arena with two executives dedicated to orientating and ‘renewing’ and ‘refreshing’ associates on an ongoing basis, is under development.

“Cushina di Maria,” named after the much-loved attendant that has worked for many years in the employee cafeteria, was enhanced to give associates a delightful and relaxing environment, complete with a massage chair and computers with internet access during their breaks.  Healthy menu choices are now a part of the daily offerings in the associates’ cafeteria as well promoting low salt, low fat options.

“Swap Talk,” is a new initiative conducted by General Manager Matt Balcik, where periodic meetings are held to include a combination of 15 longtime and new associates. These associates offer feedback from their daily work environment to help improve both guest and associate experiences at the resort.

A variety of associate incentive and award’s programs are also in place.  The Service Legend of the Month is an exciting approach to the old employee of the month awards.  Nominated associates exemplify the core values recognized by Westin, including providing personal touches and personalized services to ‘surprise and delight’ every guest, proactively anticipating guests’ needs and making them feel special, and recognizing the special touches offered by Westin to help guests restore the body, expand the mind, and elevate the spirit so they leave not only rested, but also renewed and enriched.  During a ballroom luncheon reception, all associates are invited for a gourmet lunch and the opportunity to share in the accomplishments of their nominated peers and cheer for the winners. The ballroom luncheon is also the venue for the new “Starfish Program,” where associates and managers are rewarded with a Starfish certificate by management and colleagues for exhibiting Westin’s core values, as well as through guests’ comments.  A spin on the prize wheel is given for each certificate earned, with associates winning anything from gift certificates and gas vouchers to cash and exciting trips.

There are still many exhilarating initiatives underway, including a gym dedicated to associates and their fitness, as well as lifestyle improvement programs and opportunities to become involved in community and charitable projects like the beach clean-up held in June, and the animal welfare initiative that saw many Westin associates volunteering to paint the Aruba Animal Shelter last week. An upcoming “Jungle Dinner Dance” benefit that will be held at The Westin Aruba Resort’s Grand Palm Beach Ballroom is scheduled for October 24th in support of Animal Rights Aruba.

All of these exciting changes and additions harmonize together to positively impact the overall Westin experience for guests, as well as associates and the community.