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Caroline’s HIT Scholarship at Gleneagles

Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland is a Scottish based charity whose mission is to assist people to achieve their potential within hospitality. They offer a number of emerging talent scholarship programmes and last year our Hotel Manager, Samantha, suggested that Front of House Manager, Caroline, should apply for one. She chose the Customer Experience Scholarship as it was the most relevant to her role at The Dunstane. She was delighted to be awarded the scholarship, which she attended with 5 others at The Gleneagles Hotel over 2 days in November. Here Caroline tells us how she got on …
 
Caroline HIT Customer Experience Scholorship
I was beyond excited to be given such an amazing opportunity. We arrived at Gleneagles at 9am and from the moment we walked in we were made to feel so welcome. The first day with the global brand Virgin was brilliant and their interactive approach was much better than the usual classroom style. It was great to get an insight into the company and find out how they deliver their customer service. At lunchtime we had a fantastic 3 course meal in Deseo and in the evening I went for a tour of the Gleneagles grounds – it is massive! They have every activity you can think of including falconry, an equestrian school and wildlife photography lessons.
 
The highlight of the whole experience, for me, had to be dinner that evening at Andrew Fairlie’s, 2 Michelin Star Restaurant. The service was absolutely flawless from the moment we walked in and were presented with stools for our handbags (I thought I was going to have to sit on it through 12 courses!) to the incredible wine and menu knowledge of all the staff.
Andrew Fairlie's
I was blown away by the flavours and presentation – everything had an element of surprise. Who would have thought that there would be popping candy in the dessert! It was incredibly inspiring to see the passion which the Restaurant Manager, Dale Dewsbury, and his whole team have for the restaurant.
 
The next morning we met in The Strathearn for breakfast (I know more food!). I have never seen a breakfast spread like it! There was a room, bigger than most hotel dining rooms, with anything and everything you could want at breakfast from a pancake station to delicious salmon, cheese and carved ham as well as a hot buffet and cooked breakfast to order from the menu! After breakfast we went on a tour of the hotel with one of the managers, Elaine, who was more than happy to take the time out of her manic schedule to answer all our questions.
Gleneagles
It was great to see how Gleneagles delivers its services and the day to day organisation that goes in to running such a large establishment. All the staff were wonderful and just showed how much we have to offer in Scottish hospitality and tourism. Dale said something which really hit the nail on the head for me – “Service is for the guest’s enjoyment, not for our convenience.” I believe that we, at The Dunstane, really do stick to this and our service is truly guest focused! If I can impact a guest’s stay, in a positive way, and make their stay in Edinburgh a memorable one then that makes my job worthwhile!
 
The HIT Scotland Customer Experience Scholarship was an incredible experience and I would definitely recommend the scholarships to all in the hospitality industry.