Jennifer Burke says she might be the one on stage in Vegas accepting Best Western International's award for Sales Director of the Year, but she's doing it more as a representative for the whole Best Western Dartmouth sales team – which includes every single employee working at the hotel.
In order to even qualify for the award, Burke says the hotel must first meet certain brand standards and scores. For example, the hotel has to have guest scores and quality assurance rankings within the top five per cent of all Best Westerns worldwide. That means the Burnside location was competing against 4,300 other locations, some of which are in the biggest markets in the world.
In order to get those kinds of scores, Burke says it takes everybody at the hotel working their best. That means her success depends on the maintenance staff, which in turn depend on the front counter people, who in turn count on the kitchen, etc.
"I made it clear to all the staff that I couldn't get this award without them. We're a team and everything else here just flows from that. And it has proven itself not only through this award, but through our guests – they wouldn't keep coming back unless we were providing a quality job."
Burke says the quality of the team in place at the hotel makes her job selling its services easy.
"In other places I've worked there's always been a 'sales team,' but here that's really the whole staff," Burke says. "So if I see that someone in another part of the hotel needs help, I pitch in and help them out, whether it's the front desk or housekeeping, because they're already doing that for me."
Burke says when she was notified she had won the award she was shocked and surprised given the amount of competition she faced. She says that for a relatively small hotel in a market like Halifax to win the top sales award in the company is a "phenomenal feat given the level of competition. Even qualifying for it was a big deal."
In addition to her sales and the hotel's performance measures, Burke says the evaluation team for the award also looks at such things as community involvement, volunteer activities, what roles the candidates play in their workplace outside of their assigned duties and extra curricular activities.
"So they looked at my work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Adopt A Family and food drive for Feed Nova Scotia I help organize here each Christmas and the running club I put on every Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. here at the hotel. It all goes into the evaluation process," Burke says.
Originally from L'Ardoise in Cape Breton, Burke says she has always done sales and marketing, but she believe she has found her new home at the Best Western Dartmouth.
"We may be relatively new, but the team here is perfect," she says.