The FreemanGroup Customer Experience Story
It is said that experience is the best teacher. Through our experience, we have learned that mindset is everything!
Bill Freeman, a Rosewood Hotel Executive with an extensive operational, coaching and training background in Europe and the United States founded FreemanGroup in 1985.
The idea at the time was to provide the luxury hotel market with a practical customer service training process that had at its core three major elements:
- A practical approach to agreeing bespoke standards of service performance, unique to each property.
- A down to earth, efficient methodology for implementing and maintaining standards within each operating department.
- A pragmatic and objective methodology for gathering data to measure each property’s performance relative to service and profitability.
For the first five years of the company growth cycle, the focus remained entirely on the high end, high dollar luxury market. In 1989 that strategy changed, and the company’s direction forever altered with the finalization of a contract with the Wynn Organization to assist in the opening of The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This contract sent FreemanGroup on a very different and diverse course.
The Mirage was the first property in Las Vegas that bade farewell to neon, farewell to entire focus on gaming with little concern for amenities such as Food and Beverage and said hello to high-end dining, high quality accommodation and focus on high-end entertainment as well as gaming. It was the forerunner of the transformation of Las Vegas as we know it today. As such, it was an extremely high profile opening and we at FreemanGroup benefited from a highly successful opening process at the property. From that project on, we found ourselves to be sought after for assistance in casino openings which at the time were plentiful counting The Trump Taj Mahal, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Paris and Atlantis amongst many others. The business model had shifted. Luxury hotels still remain an important part of our model; however, more attention has been focused on large casino hotel openings and service renovation projects.
Atlantis in the Bahamas proved to be another extremely successful undertaking and at the time was the premier casino property in the Caribbean. The first convention at the hotel post opening was a meeting of Ministers of Tourism from the region. One such executive from Puerto Rico was so impressed with the service transformation that subsequent discussions led to an island-wide initiative for all the properties (Hotels and Paradores) in Puerto Rico. The delivery bandwidth of the company needed to expand rapidly to service this account and once organized, FreemanGroup found itself in the position of being the only company that had content, a process, a measurement component and the resources to manage a tourist experience upgrade project for a destination. Again, we found ourselves in the position of being sought after: Bermuda, The British Virgin Islands, Aruba, Honduras, Panama, The Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua amongst others all implemented the process under our direction and in all cases expanded each project to include all aspects of the visitor experience by involving us in each sector of the tourism industry (Customs and immigration, Retail, Restaurants, Hotels, Banking, Cruise Terminals, Tour Operators, Airlines and Airports) FreemanGroup had evolved into a multi-purpose service provider.
The Cayman Islands under the branding of P.R.I.D.E (Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence) has followed the process for the last twelve years. The British Virgin Islands under the branding of T.I.S.S (Tourism Industry Service Standards) and Bermuda under the marketing branding of “Feel the Love” enjoyed particular success with this process, as did other destinations.
The Government partners that we have cultivated over the years has given FreemanGroup a unique place in implementing and maintaining destination service objectives that fall in line with the marketing campaigns of each country and in turn, this has led the company into other service projects within a variety of industries. Airports, Airlines, Retail, Cruise Lines and most recently HealthCare can all be found on our client list. It has also led us to many countries globally, allowing us to blend our services to the local culture and customs, so increasingly important as the world becomes more accessible to travelers.
In conclusion, we are extremely proud that we have had a robust business for 35 years. It has not been without its challenges such as 9/11, the 2008 recession and the current healthcare crisis amongst others, but we remain a leader in our field and are often asked “How?” The answer to that question is five-fold we think:
- We continually adapt our products and services to the industry we are working with and to the generational changes that have occurred within the labor market and the customer/guest/traveler/patient demographic.
- We encourage all clients to objectively measure results and assist in defining those measurement/data points.
- We ensure that our clients see us as true partners in that we certify their internal resource in the delivery and monitoring of our processes, to ensure continuity once we have departed. Our measurement for success is a minimum of twelve months after the initial implementation
- The original objective of developing and always improving a user-friendly service tool that is custom built for each client remains and ensures all levels of supervision from top executives to operational supervisors are involved in the process
- All FreemanGroup team members are skilled in each of our client sectors. HealthCare, Hotels, Airlines and all others are serviced and led by a FreemanGroup trainer with practical experience in that industry.
We look forward to the future and are emboldened by the fact that there are still more chapters in our story.