Ferra Hotel Boracay: Putting Quality Service At The Heart Of Everything!
Ferra Hotel Boracay and Ferra Hotel and Garden Suites are two chic boutique hotels strategically located right in the heart of Boracay Island. The Ferra Hotel brand boasts a strong service culture and consistently wins Travel and Hospitality Awards.
These awards are testament to the hard work and importance given to customer service standards. These are led by the forward thinking, and astute, GM Dante Cruz, his Team and the hotel management group; Hospitality Business Group Inc.
Read our article: Ferra Hotels – Best of Boracay
MY RANGGO sat down with Ferra Hotels Operations and Resorts Manager Tiffany Somes to talk about their approach.
Tiffany has previously been nominated as a Hospitality Hero for the volunteer and community work she has done. Most recently during the Pandemic Lock-down, Tiffany assisted locals with food drives and business opportunities.
Tiffany also worked to help OJT’s and employees, stranded on Boracay, to return to their provinces.
MR: Why do you think Ferra Hotel receives so many awards, specifically traveler voted awards?
Tiffany: Most of our Awards come from traveler reviews. The two Boracay hotels have, between them, been awarded a three-peat Travelers’ Choice Award and three-peat Certificate of Excellence Award from TripAdvisor. We’ve had Guest Review Awards from Booking.com and Customer Service Award from Agoda. We have also had a Loved by Guests Award from Expedia.
The first Ferra Hotel was included in the Agoda Gold Circle Award. This is awarded for consistently receiving their annual Customer Service Award. We were awarded this every year of our five year operation. There have been numerous other Excellence Awards for the hotels and restaurants.
The Ferra Hotels are beautiful. The rooms, studios and suites are well thought out and designed. And a lot of care is taken with the interiors, such as complimenting wall and fabric colors, and furnishings.
These things can make a beautiful hotel but they are only a part of making an award winning hotel.
We pride ourselves on our strong focus on a branded customer service and staff training.
MR: What do you do that is different to other hotels; why does your customer service stand out?
Tiffany: We start at the point of recruitment. Age or gender is not an issue. If a candidate has drive, vision and passion, we want them! We look for the right attitude and talent, regardless of hospitality experience or qualifications. We then train and just hone them to be the best they can be.
I was a Marketing Officer for a Café in Iloilo before joining the Ferra Hotel team in 2016. I was looking for a position that would give me experience in an international setting, so I would qualify to apply for a Masters course at Birmingham University, in England.
I was recruited immediately at the end of my interview, despite having no Hotel Industry experience or related degree. Within a month, and after a lot of hard work and learning, I was promoted from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Officer.
GM Dante says that he just knows talent when he sees it, and when he sees it, he wants to bring them in to the Ferra Hotel Family. He has guided and taught me how to identify talent too.
MR: What’s next after you’ve recruited them; potentially you have raw, sometimes unqualified, talent?
Tiffany: The very first thing we do, with new recruits and our OJT’s, is cover morals and values training, specifically Ferra’s Mission, Vision and our Core Values:
Friendly and enthusiastic
Responsible and trustworthy
Initially OJT’s are not sure why a whole day of induction training is given to this. But by the end of their 400 hours, and graduation, they understand.
Many contact us, after graduation, asking if there are any positions open. They value the training they received. And the positive workplace, and the friendships and family bond created with our team.
Others have used the training and life skills to market themselves for other positions. One of our OJT’s went straight in to a position at Shangri-La Edsa after he graduated. Others have gone on to work on Cruise Ships and other bigger hotel chains.
The training we give goes beyond work roles. It includes personal growth and development. During this pandemic, many have used their training to start their own successful micro businesses, to support themselves and their families.
Everything that I have learned from GM Dante, I have shared and passed on to my team.
MR: What do you think is a key lesson?
Tiffany: That high quality customer service, or service as a whole, is vital.
At the time I joined Ferra the RUF Restobar, Ferra’s rooftop restaurant, had slipped from its number 1 TripAdvisor ranking to 14. The Management Team were aware of some of the issues behind this and told the team that we had to get the restaurant back to its number 1 ranking.
I personally took on the role of restaurant host. I attended to the tables, making sure the guests were happy with their food. We continued to observe areas of product and service that needed improvement, and worked on improving them.
The RUF was back in its Number 1 position on TripAdvisor within 5 months. It was a lot of hard work and we often worked late into the night to ensure everything was in order for the guests.
I’ve personally spent time in practically every department of the hotel and restaurants, training and learning alongside our team. I’ve waited tables, made and served drinks, learned and tasted everything on our menus. I’ve done everything except actually cooking the food. I’ve worked in Housekeeping, Maintenance, Front Office, Food and Beverage Service back.
When I was the Assistant Hotel Manager I took on the role of Pollution Control Officer when this was required to re-open after Boracay’s 2018 closure. Knowing how each section or work area fits with others is key to ensuring excellent, and seamless, quality customer service. Everything I learned, I then shared with the team.
One of GM Dante’s mottos is: Learn more to earn more. And we encourage our team and OJT’s to do just that.
It is all about raising your value; in yourself through your improved knowledge and skills, your work and your attitude towards it, and the influence and inspiration you give to other people.
MR: How do you teach people how to value?
Tiffany: Through our training program and also through our monthly General Meetings. Each meeting has a theme. Our last meeting before the pandemic lock-down was about love, because it was February and close to Valentine’s Day. We encouraged everyone to think and talk about forms of love; love of the job, family, yourself and our team, most especially, our guests.
Our November 2019 General Meeting was all about the chances and choices we make. The January 2020 meeting was about Thanksgiving; focusing on giving back and awarding those who have given much to the team and rendered big sacrifices. Especially in the aftermath of Typhoon Ursula on Christmas Day, which hit the island very hard.
Value is achieved through giving and sharing Life Lessons whilst injecting an Operations and Hotel angle to them.
It is the essence of Effective Influence; speaking and acting in a way that it reaches your people’s heart. And it shows you value your team too, by taking time to stop and ask them “How are you and are you still happy in your job?” “What support do you need?” or “what’s your dream?”
We celebrate staff birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and other milestones as a form of valuing each other as individuals, as well as team mates.
We give out awards and recognitions for the achievements of the staff, be it inside the hotel or outside. We award Cruise ship qualifiers, board exam passers and staff with consistent online reviews. You have to really open your heart, show care, concern and let them know you have their growth and best interests in mind.
JenGroup Leisures Inc. together with the hotel management group Hospitality Business Group Inc. continues to expand the Ferra brand, with new hotels and resorts planned for Bohol and Siargao.
You can make a direct booking with Ferra Hotel here