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In the 1970s, 80s, and into the 90s the Village Green Hotel was a Vernon landmark, a thriving go-to destination for skiers and other visitors. Then it began to lose its leadership position as other hotels were built and “The Green” was not maintained to its previous standards.
That changed in 2009 when Robert Glattfelder became the General Manager. Backed by the privately-held corporation that owns this independent hotel, Glattfelder oversaw a complete renovation of the hotel’s 127 guest rooms, restaurant, banquet room, pub, and public areas.
The $2 million renovation continued with a face-lift of the hotel’s exterior, completed in time to celebrate The Green’s 40th anniversary this year.
Glattfelder had experienced an extensive overhaul of this type while working for the Plaza Hotel, the grande dame of Kamloops hostelries. “The Plaza had fallen into disrepute,” he says. “But its basic structure was totally sound, so it was taken right down to the 2 by 4s and totally re-done. It’s now a fine hotel again.”
He saw that the Village Green could achieve the same feat. “More than that, people wanted it to happen. This property had been a source of pride for its employees and for Vernon citizens. So when we started the renovations, we received a lot of encouragement from all kinds of people.”
Glattfelder well knows the experience of building from the ground up. Chuckling, he recounts his humble beginnings in the hotel industry: “To pay for university, I started to work at the very bottom, a doorman for a basement bar at the rundown Plaza Hotel. Gradually, I worked my way up, at a variety of hotel jobs.”
He continues, “I learned that the main thing you
need in the hospitality industry is empathy. You have to look at things from the guest’s point of view. And
consistent quality is essential. I tell our cooks, for
example, to cook every meal as if they’re cooking for their mom or their best friend. And they do!”
He says that the Village Green is fortunate to have really good employees, many of whom have been there for several years. And, as the property has been rejuvenated, those employees have heeded the call to provide a commensurate level of service and have regained pride in “their hotel.”
Vernon’s highly competitive hotel scene has added three new hotels in the last few years. So, says Glattfelder, “We’ve had to advertise a lot more than in The Green’s glory days. The marketing now includes heavy involvement in social media. And in order to be involved in the community, The Green has turned to sponsorship. This year, for example, The Green sponsors the Viper radio broadcasts.”
He beams as he says, “We’re delighted to be associated with a quality organization such as the Vipers. And, like us, the Vipers are bouncing back after experiencing some lean times.”
“When we were approached to participate in the Vernon RBC Cup 2014, we jumped at the chance. It’s such an important event for this community and the new Village Green wants to be part of it.”