Category Archives: The Insider

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Our Veterans Day History

  • In 1938, November 11th was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.'” This new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
  • In 1954, after both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.”
  • On June 1, 1954, Nov. 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 Around the world Veterans Day

  • United Kingdom – From late October to November 11th (Armistice Day), the Royal British Legion gives out 40 million poppies that people wear to remember those who served.
  • Belgium – Every year since 1928, the country has put on the Last Post Ceremony. A bugler calls out the “Last Post,” noting the end of the day. Poppies are spread out from the tops of the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.
  • France – The French also recognize Armistice Day on Nov. 11TH. The country throws military parades, and its people wear black or dark clothing.

Guest Services’ Veterans Day Promotions

If you or your loved ones have served or know of someone who has, be sure to go to these places, use these promotions that honor them in a small way that they’ve honored our given freedoms.

  • Flamingo State Park is offering a 25% discount for rooms and campsites for November to Veterans, Active Military and First Responders
  • Giants Ridge offers $10 off a full-day lift ticket for veterans and active military during ski season (late November to early April)
  • Lake Mead has a 15% off all recreation and with promo code: military2019
  • All of our hotel and lodging units are offering a 25% discount

Thank You

Thank You

 Dear Guest Services family,

Thanksgiving is a time when we take stock of what we have accomplished over the past year and give thanks to all the wonderful people in our lives who have helped us along the way.

So, we want to take a moment to give thanks for all the great dedicated employees we have that do so much for Guest Services. We are thankful that our employees have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, whether by providing good food, lodging, recreation services, or by participating in the various meaningful programs we have such as therapeutic riding at Rock Creek horse center or Hilton’s Clean the World program at the Doubletree Guest Suites Naples.

Thank you all for working hard, and truly enjoying each other and performing well as a team.

We wish you, your family and friends a safe and happy holiday season.


 Gerry Gabrys & Nico Foris

Property Spotlight: Stehekin

Experience Stehekin

Ever been to Washington?

Not Washington D.C. but the State of Washington? Now’s your chance!

Plan your Thanksgiving vacation with your Guest Services 50% employee discount and Stehekin’s 20% Fall special between October 6th through November 30th (subject to availability). Visit Stehekin’s website for more information.

Fall is the time for family, foliage, and fun! And with Stehekin’s incredible nature hikes, horseback riding, and scenic tours this time of year, you’ll have your fall-filling adventure.

“What I like most is how people react to our beauty here. It takes 3 to 4 hours to get here from [Lake] Chelan, on the Ferry, which is a beautiful trip, and most people are so surprised by the beauty here. It’s a hidden gem. It’s very much a challenge to get here, but everyone falls in love with the place, where it’s back to nature, hiking, kayaking, sitting by the water, getting lost in your thoughts, and the beauty around you, it is very serene. It is truly a magical place,” says General Manager Denise Steinhauer.

The name “Stehekin” is a Native American Salishan word that means “the way through.” The Stehekin Valley served as a passageway for travelers, linking the State of Washington’s wilderness to the rugged Cascade Mountains. The North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin offers a way through to a stress-free place of natural splendor, just like it has for many years.

“The majestic view of the mountains and landscape, the magic of the lake with its beautiful color (Lake Chelan). As you sit on our deck that overlooks the lake with the mountains on the other side, it’s very special.”

To Get Here

You will arrive by foot or boat.

Plan to take The Lady of the Lake (boat ferry) from Chelan


The beautiful 23-mile hike from Highway 20 to High Bridge, where you hop on the red bus to Stehekin

“There is a new type of transportation coming to us soon. It is a catamaran, which will give guests a faster way to arrive here. The only transportation we have currently is the Ferry Service. Lady of the Lake.”

So, what are you waiting for? Let the fall-y, folly begin!

People Spotlight: Bill Briggs and Lindey Miller

People Spotlight

This November, we’re celebrating Director of Safety and Security 7 years as part of the Guest Services team and internal Sales Managerpromotions at Breckenridge. Congratulations to you both!

 Bill Briggs Celebrates as Director of Safety and Security

“I came to Guest Services after retiring from a career in federal law enforcement, so my background was entirely security related.  My knowledge of safety has come from OSHA training, our insurance carriers, but mostly from Guest Services employees who have educated me on the finer points of their specialties.,” says Bill Brigs Director of Safety and Security at Guest Services corporate office.

Bill has been at Guest Services for seven years and is responsible for conducting investigations, interpreting criminal records, physical security, interacting with employees, customers, and law enforcement. He creates or modifies initiatives as the need arises. By getting information from our units across the country, he and his team can identify trends that negatively affect safety and security matters.

Thank you for all you do, keep up the great work, Bill!

Congratulations, Lindey, on your promotion!

“The Lodge at Breck provides such a stunning wedding venue; it’s a joy to have the opportunity to assist in making couples’ dreams come true!” says Lindey Miller Sales Manager of Breckenridge.

“I have been employed by Guest Services since May of this year and have been working as a Banquet Server. I have enjoyed getting to know my team and learning more about trends in the wedding scene. I have garnered a positive relationship with our restaurant and banquet staff, which will be beneficial in moving forward.” Lindey has over ten years of experience working in the brewing industry, managing marketing, sales, and communication efforts. Her experience has provided her with a vast knowledge of the hospitality industry and exceptional attention to detail. Overall, she intends to exceed sales goals and provide a seamless transition for our staff and guests.

Congratulations on your promotion, Lindey!

health and wellness

Thanksgiving Day Pass

Thanksgiving is the real cheat day of the year to give yourself a pass!

The Health Nut says, “It’s what you do the other 364 days of the year that matters because those days determine your health and weight.” So, grab your fork and go ahead and indulge! You have the next day to begin the holiday season with some self-control.

Culinary Forum

Welcome Chefs to the 1st Culinary Forum!

This initiative is for you to join together with other cuisine designers as a safe place to discuss, evaluate, and improve the culinary programs, initiatives, and projects for all of Guest Services. The discoveries you make in brainstorming together will motivate and drive specific actions to ensure the sustainability and growth of our contracts while looking for opportunities with new contracts.

“The purpose of the Culinary Forum is to provide a mechanism where a task force of selected chefs can meet to address the overall culinary programs, initiatives, and projects as well as find solutions to improve the company’s current standing in the culinary world. We hope that the Forum will create excitement that drives motivation, leading to positive change throughout the company,” says Kaitlynn Cook, moderator of the Culinary Forum initiative.

During our Culinary Forums:

  • We will be innovative, creative, and share best practices amongst each other so that we can develop our ideas and implement them throughout the company
  • We promote compliance throughout all Guest Services dining Standardizing and promoting uniformity through two of our programs: FareShare and GoBeFull
  • We brainstorm from the ground up through menu design, creating recipes, food, and dining promotions, food display, food safety, inventory management, etc.
  • We identify previous flaws to establish solutions that will set us up for future success while acknowledging our current strengths to enhance them in all capacities

Preview of Culinary Forum Brainstorm:

  • What were some past challenges that our dining services had? What made them challenges?
  • What have been some of our accomplishments? Were any of the key accomplishments?

“Currently, this will be taking place every quarter. The timeline may change in the future, depending on the need. The Culinary Forum will be a great way to stay competitive within our industry. It will also create more of a community amongst our chefs, where they can drive innovation and promote compliance.”

Stay tuned for the next Culinary Forum on Thursday, October 10th.

If you need more info, please contact Katelyn Cook via email at or phone at (540) 816 – 8817


Fall Events

Do you have extra PTO? Let’s celebrate cooler weather, changing leaves and the harvest season at one of these Fall-tastic events! On the East Coast, you can indulge in Oktoberfest at Bear Mountain, or face your fear of dark waters at Wakulla Springs. You won’t be sorry for heading to the Minnesota Fall Fest or Missouri Haunted Barn for fall treats and outdoor entertainment. Take a long weekend to fly out and enjoy these Fall events at our beautiful locations!

 East Coast

  • Florida, Wakulla Springs, Spooky Cruise, Saturday, October 26th

Get into the spirit of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” as you float over the dark waters of Wakulla Springs in a glass-bottom boat. Be treated to some of the lesser-known stories and legends surrounding the spring and the Lodge. Tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis for each 30-minute tour scheduled between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., so show up early at the Waterfront Visitors Center to purchase tickets.

  • New York, Bear Mountain, Oktoberfest, Friday, September 27th – Sunday, October 20th

Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration more than 200 years ago when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12th, 1810. The celebration became an annual event. At Bear Mountain, Oktoberfest will be running every Friday: 6 pm – 10 pm; Saturdays & Sundays: 12 pm to 6 pm and the bands play from 12:30 – 5:30 pm. Parking is $10 per vehicle


  • Minnesota, Giants Ridge, Fall Fest, Thursday, October 17th – Sunday, October 20th

Now in the fall season, the Midwest’s top-rated winter sports destination is in full swing! Giants Ridge has 35 downhill ski runs, over 60 km of Nordic ski trails and a snowboarding terrain park for all your tricks. All weekend long from Thursday, October 17th to Sunday, October 20th, there will be fun on the slopes! Get your passes now and join the family fun today 😊

  • Missouri, Echo Bluff, Halloween & Fall Festival, Sunday, October 20th

Join us for a Fun-Filled Day! There will be a crafts fair, pumpkin painting, trick or treating around the park for kids and those kids at heart and a haunted barn. The festival will be all day on Sunday, October 20th from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

health and wellness

Curb Your Candy Craving Craziness

Halloween is hard to ignore, especially when there is candy everywhere! Unless you are a hardcore “health nut” some indulgence won’t derail your best dietary intentions. Here are some tips to mitigate the damage:

  1. 15 g. of carbs is the same as a slice of bread so read every label on the candy you choose and keep track of your carbs. (For weight loss, four servings a day (60 g.) is all you need and not all in candy!)
  2. Avoid candy with hydrogenated or trans fats.
  3. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
  4. Eat it all at once rather than in small bites to avoid continual insulin spikes.
  5. Always brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after eating candy.
  6. In two weeks, get rid of the leftovers. Get rid of temptations!

Property Spotlight: Flamingo Everglades

Ready to see some Flamingos?

At Flamingo Adventures in Everglades National Park, more than 360 different species of birds have been sighted, not just flamingo! The exotic wildlife and bird watching experience allows you to encounter all sorts of wading and land birds that you wouldn’t see elsewhere.

You have the opportunity to see diverse plants and wildlife in their natural habitat while camping under the stars in Southern Florida. Flamingo Adventures provides a unique camping experience along with boat tours and rentals that give a one of a kind view of the largest subtropical wilderness in the nation.

“I’ve been with Guest Services for almost two years and what I most enjoy about working and managing Flamingo Adventures is that I get to live in the Everglades National Park! It’s one of the most robust ecosystems in the world,” says Ken Kroll, Flamingo Adventures general manager.

There is no better way to experience the Everglades then spending a night under the stars at one of its many campsites. The most accessible camping locations are the two drive-in locations Long Pine Key Campground and the Flamingo Campground. They also have eco-tents so you can “glamp” (camp glamorously) while being environmentally conscious!

“We are going to open our Eco-Tents up soon this early October and should be breaking ground before the end of the year in opening our cottages and restaurant.”

Don’t feel like camping? Go on a Back Country Boat Tour or Florida Bay Boat Tour! There’s a 90-minute 10,000 Island tour on weekday or weekend afternoons that go up the Buttonwood Canal through Coot Bay and Tarpon Creek into the Whitewater Bay while you learn about the different plant and animal life that covers the Everglades National Park.

Feel like exploring on your own? Rentals include single kayaks, double kayaks, and canoes. Spend the day with family and friends out on the waters of the Everglades and experience an up-close and personal encounter with the marine life.

Enjoy your trip! Don’t forget, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, and a hat!

People Spotlight: Joe Pereira and Stefan Mende

Joe Pereira Celebrates His First Year as Corporate Hospitality Sales and Marketing Manager

“I celebrate my first anniversary with Guest Services last June. My most enjoyable role is when a team has worked so hard on a project and promotion, and all their expectations come to fruition,” says Joe. As Corporate Hospitality Sales and Marketing Manager, Joe oversees all national and local marketing campaigns to ensure individual sales goals while increasing business for the company in the long run. He facilitates and develops Guest Services’ Loyalty Program, Travel Agent Program, and the continuation of The Lodge Collection (Flamingo, Bear Mountain, Wakulla Springs, Breckenridge, Steheiken, Mount Rainier, Big Sur, Echo Bluff). His previous experience includes management at U.S. Airways, Sandals and Beaches Resorts and a combination of training and management expertise at AMI. Joe Pereira has a degree in Hospitality and Management from Johson and Wales University.  “I believe my greatest accomplishment, has been clear and concise communication in our monthly sales managers conference calls, which I believe bridges us closer between the Units and the Marketing Department.”  Keep up the great work, Joe!

Welcome to Guest Services Stefan Mende

 “My family and I are looking forward to returning to the mid-west!” says Stefan Mende, Echo Bluff general manager. Stefan is responsible for all aspects of Echo Bluff’s operations and floor management, including staff, equipment, and property. He aims to cultivate a team environment that provides exceptional customer service while directing the management team and ensuring all staff members perform efficiently. Some of his past experiences include working with Baymont hotels, 18 years at LaQuinta Hotels and as a General Manager in Arkansas and southwest Florida overseeing three properties. Stefan graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Recreation and Parks and Tourism Administration.  Welcome to the Guest Services team, Stefan!