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Chicken or the Egg?  Yes.

Marketers are often creative, out--of-the-box thinkers who can add tremendous value to companies in unexpected areas.  Adding a new market segment and looking for growth potential, a well-rounded marketer may come up with unique cost-effective solutions.  In this case, how to fund a new customer service program with no revenue stream to support  the staffing and operations. required.

Couple Checking In

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Piloted International Guest Services program for Hawaii breaking away from a long tradition of a replicated guest experience throughout the company.

Situation Overview

When The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua was opening a new property in Hawaii, it wanted to attract international clientele.  A criteria for the travel wholesalers was a customer service program specific to its customers.  The dilemma for the hotel was how to build the service without having  a revenue stream in place to support the overhead.    


Create an International Guest Services (IGS) department staffed by a newly-developed 18-month management internship program with bilingual associates, each working in different divisions.  One third of their salaries would come from HR, another third from the division they report to and the final third from sales.  The bilingual staff would be on pager to assist with international guests as-needed.  


  • Guest received the same level of exceptional guest service as English-speaking guests.

  • The budget for the added positions was split between three divisions with only a nominal increase in expense.

  • International wholesalers book the hotel with confidence that criteria was being met.

  • Divisions received benefits from the additional staff, while other departments appreciated the support and flexibility the internship prgram provided.

  • IGS staff had a hotel management career path which benefitted both the hotel and employee.

  • The program was adopted for other Hawaii property and pioneered the way for a new approach with The Ritz-Carlton company.

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