Marla Preston believes everyone should expect the best. As general manager of the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Regina, she strives to make guests and employees happy, and it shows. The Radisson Plaza is the only Four Diamond hotel property in the province, earning the distinction of being called “the jewel of the Prairies.” Catering to an eclectic mix of savvy business travellers and internationally prominent guests, it has hosted luminaries such as Queen Elizabeth and President Clinton.
Given Preston’s strong work ethic and commitment to service, it’s no surprise the Radisson Plaza is regarded by locals as the hotel of choice and a place to be seen in the city. Interestingly, the Regina native never planned for a career in hospitality. It was only when she began calling hotels to service their office equipment needs that she realized she was attracted to the industry, and in 1999, she joined the hotel.
The 224-room Radisson Plaza (which includes 26 premium suites and a Royal Suite that features over 1,500 sq. ft. of luxury) has consistently been voted one of the chain’s best. “We’re always interested in differentiating our service and adding new ways to improve our customer experience,” says Preston. Recently, the hotel renovated its health club, adding the latest in exercise gear. “We also offer the services of two personal trainers, which allows guests the opportunity to design individual programs that work best for them.” Workout equipment is also now available in the privacy of the guest rooms as well, and the hotel is also considering the installation of a pressure pool and a sauna to complete its lifestyle program.
In today’s competitive hotel environment, Preston understands the importance of separating your property from the pack. ”As Regina’s only 100-per-cent smoke-free hotel, we’re continuing to expand our lifestyle program, including menus offering complete nutritional breakdown of calories and fat content.”
With more than 200 employees to oversee, Preston spends a lot of time overseeing human resource issues, and these days, recruitment and retention are her biggest challenges. “As a Four Diamond property we strive to deliver exceptional customer service, and with today’s labour shortage we’re constantly looking for new and exciting ways to attract and motivate our employees. It’s my responsibility to coach our management team to be creative in engaging our employees.”
To ensure exemplary service is always delivered, Preston surrounds herself with the top talent she can find and demands the best from them. “Everyone needs the appropriate tools and space to achieve excellence,” she says, adding staff is encouraged to look for ways to exceed guests’ expectations. “Employees have the authority to make each customer happy, handling guest concerns on the spot. It takes only a little effort to make a typical hotel stay great.”