20 Aug Charm School: Assistant GM Stephanie Hamilton Elevates Guest Experiences
Meet Stephanie Hamilton, Assistant General Manager at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The Georgia native has a knack for making meaningful connections with guests and staff.
Hamilton arrived in Glenwood Springs to begin her job as Assistant General Manager at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in February 2020. The timing could not have been better. She attended the annual manager’s retreat, an overnight gathering of supervisors from various departments. Over the course of the retreat, supervisors laid out the year ahead for the hot springs property: plans were made, goals defined and management was invigorated and ready to get back to work.
Sudden Change of Plans
Then COVID-19 crept into town and everything changed. Iron Mountain Hot Springs was closed from March 14 to June 8, to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. “We knew that opening back up was going to look completely different than what we were used to,” Hamilton said. “Aaron (IMHS GM) and I joked that it was like we had taken an entire box of Legos and dumped them out on the floor. Piece by piece, we had to rebuild the Iron Mountain guest experience from scratch.”
According to Hamilton, changes have included a new online reservation system for a 2-1/2 hour soaking window, more grab-and-go food items and a refined drink menu to reduce time waiting in line at the Sopris Cafe, a tailored soaking experience that is more intimate, and a service team with a heightened awareness of making the guest experience the best it can possibly be.
Connecting with People
Hamilton’s years of accumulated customer service expertise helped smooth the transition to the new business model for both guests and staff. She began her career working as a ride operator at the theme park in her home state of Georgia, moving up to a full-time manager in her college years. Later she worked as a guest experience manager for a college stadium overseeing a variety of large events including football games, concerts and festivals. Prior to coming to Colorado, Hamilton worked in customer service for a transportation company in upstate New York.
In her interactions with guests, Hamilton always strives to get to the heart of the matter. “I try to fully understand the guest’s point-of-view. I’ve gotten pretty good at reading the situation. If a guest is not having the experience they had hoped for, I do my best to help them recover their day as much as possible and make the situation better.”
Making someone’s day extra special is as much a treat for Hamilton as it is for the guest. “When we know that it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary, we’ll go out of our way to make an announcement honoring their occasion over the PA system,” she said. “It’s fun to watch the guest reactions.” Hamilton and her staff have also been known to take special requests as they arise. She cites a couple who were celebrating a special anniversary. At the request of the couple’s children, Hamilton and her staff put together a basket of goodies which was waiting for the couple when they arrived at check-in. “Because of the new reservations system, we knew exactly when they would arrive and had everything ready for them. Seeing their surprise was a highlight moment.”
Hamilton likes to lead by example, going elbow-to-elbow with the employees she manages. She sees her management role as more of a coach, helping employees to reach their potential and provide outstanding service to guests. On any given day, she might be on lifeguard duty at the Family Pool, pinch-hitting in the food and beverage operations at the Sopris Café or acting as the point person for human resources.
A Few of Her Favorite Things
- Soaking pool: Ruby (heart-shaped soaking pool overlooking the property and the Colorado River)
- Item from the Sopris Café: Blue sparkling margarita
- Time to soak: Morning when everything is fresh and the day is waking up
- Off-duty pastime: Going for drives to explore the area including to Independence Pass, Kebler Pass and McClure Pass
- Personal superpower: Ability to find something in common with other people and make a connection with them.
Connect with Stephanie Hamilton and the rest of the team in person on your next visit. Learn more and make plans to relax, restore and rejuvenate at Iron Mountain Hot Springs today!