By Dixie Brunner

The expert hospitality training, taught by Forbes 5 Star Service Trainer Eduardo Duran, was something few other cities have had the good fortune to receive.

But thanks to Best Friends Animal Society partnering with the Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kane County Offices of Tourism and Economic Development, area business owners, managers and employees had the great opportunity to receive the Forbes 5 Star Service Training for free!

Forbes Branding Vice President and Best Friends Board member Mica Hill welcomed participants to the last of the four-hour training sessions held August 29-30 at Juniper Ridge Restaurant.

Hill briefly explained a little background about Forbes 5 Star Training, and how it first came to be in 1958 as a Mobile Travel Guide. The concept was basically grading travel destinations and restaurants on a 1-5 star scale and sharing that information with the general public.

The company expanded into sharing its expertise and providing training to hospitality destinations. They currently have 22 trainers who travel the world to share their knowledge to help great destinations provide great experiences. Kanab is only the third U.S. city that has gotten to receive this exclusive, world-class training. Napa, California has signed up to be the next

Forbes is currently in more than 29 countries, and is considered a global standard for the hospitality industry. When trainers do an evaluation they have different classifications they consider: courtesy and manners; guest comfort and convenience; technical execution; graciousness, thoughtfulness, and sense of personal service; elements of luxury’ cleanliness and condition; efficiency; staff appearance; food and beverage quality.

“Our goal is to help you elevate your service culture here,” said enthusiastic Forbes Trainer Duran. “There is a bountiful, natural richness here (our location), but it’ll be you who will cause them to return.”

When practicing successful hospitality values, Duran said we occasionally need to examine our own feelings toward outsiders. “How willing are we to share our diamond with the world?”

He explained three ways of referring to people who come to spend time at a destination – a visitor, customer or guest. The reference of ‘visitor’ infers a stranger; a ‘customer’ seems just about money; but the term ‘guest’ brings to mind hospitality.

“Guests,” exclaimed Duran. “This is a reference to people you enjoy and spoil – someone we would welcome here. It’s all about the emotional connection we create. That’s how you create guests for life – that’s our goal!”

Duran discussed greeting, acknowledgment, eye contact, personal appearance and body language as important elements when working in the hospitality industry. He encouraged service-oriented employees to learn how to make all interactions memorable, and share worthy experiences that are rewarding for them as well as the customer.

“What is great service?” questioned Duran. “It shouldn’t be just a transaction, it should be an experience. Believe in your product, and be passionate!”