The Ritz-Carlton knows how to make a scene. Last year, the luxury hotel company added a touch of theatrical magic to its properties when it launched a "Scenography" training program for general managers (GMs) and creative directors at all of its properties nationwide.
"Everyone knows The Ritz-Carlton brand," says Senior Corporate Director of Program Management Len Wolin. "But each hotel property also has its own unique identity and personality. Just as in the theatre, where the scenographer integrates all the elements of a play—scenery, props, lighting, costumes, etc.—to create a complete experience, scenography helps us to create 'scenes' where every element works together to create unforgettable guest moments that are unique to the particular qualities and characteristics of individual properties."
Partnering with a creative design firm, The Ritz-Carlton introduced the scenography concept with the creation of an extensive training program. The training began with GMs and creative directors from each property attending a one-day scenography workshop, where they were introduced to tools and processes meant to support scenography integration on the job.
Using a "Scenography Toolkit", each team engaged in creative brainstorming to identify what its themes and scenes would be. Next, participants worked together to identify the creative elements they would add to their properties in order to evoke these themes for guests. "From a leisure guest traveling with his family who arrives at a Ritz-Carlton hotel at 6:00 p.m. to a business traveler arriving at 11:00 p.m., the toolkit prompted trainees to envision how each guest might experience the hotel's theme," says Senior Corporate Director of Global Learning Mandy Holloway.
Following the instructor-led training program, The Ritz-Carlton implemented "Scenography Office Hours," during which the expertise of a scenography advisory board—consisting of Ritz-Carlton learning professionals and representatives from the creative design firm—was made available to property scenography teams. "Once creative directors went back to their hotels and began holding sessions with staff and actually implementing sceneography, we wanted to provide them with additional support when needed—as well as a forum to share ideas with their peers," explains Holloway. "Through 'Scenography Office Hours,' which we held regularly via conference call, we created a voluntary, non-intimidating opportunity for creative directors to get feedback, advice, and training from their peers and from experienced scenography resources."
Training recently spoke with Holloway and Wolin about the program and its impact:
Training: What are some examples of "themes" and "scenes" that were developed as a result of the program?