Three weeks makes a difference.
That’s the message from Encore Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio when it comes to the preparations for the opening of the resort casino on June 23. DeSalvio said that hiring a majority of the workers to train for three weeks, as compared to the one-week average in the industry, will be worth every penny.
“In general we are in a very good position right now,” he said on Tuesday. “I feel like the construction, the hiring and the trainings are all coming together extremely well. Right now the number one item is about working on training and role playing on our own people in preparation for the arrival of our first guests. It was good to get the team in early and have the mass orientation on June 3. The access to the building was critical to making sure we had the necessary time to prepare.”
DeSalvio said many in the industry will bring on most employees about a week ahead of opening. Some might stretch that to two weeks. However, a three week, 20-day solid training period is unique.
“We have a full 20 days to completely fine-tine and have five-star service levels and standards,” he said. “That’s a big part of what we do. It’s an expanded preparation time, but that’s important to us…Literally having three weeks is pretty unique, but it’s worth every penny because we’ll get to thoroughly train our team members to that we can expect to deliver a flawless opening.”
Right now, workers are busy role playing, helping one another, and collaborating with helpers from the Las Vegas resorts – who are initiating the new workers from the Boston area into the company service standards.
“The next couple days we start very intensive role playing preparations with our team – we’ll eat at the restaurants and walk all of the corridors,” he said. “We plan to occupy every single guest room before guests arrive…We want to make sure we’ve got everything covered. By occupying the rooms, it gives us a chance to see everything to make sure it’s working – the air conditioners, the lighting and the TV. It’s a great way to get it done instead of waiting for guests to come in and have to bring something like that to our attention.”
That also goes for the kitchens – cooking meals for practice to make sure everything is working correctly and all of the materials are in place for when the first guests arrive.
DeSalvio said a good deal of what is happening now on the construction front is interior work and bringing in food and retail supplies.
The construction phase, he said, is done for the most part – meaning that the largest single-phase construction project in the state’s history came in on time.
“Construction is winding down,” he said. “They’re doing minor landscaping and doing some interior finish work. But for the most part, the construction has been completed.”
One of the more stunning aspects of the building, DeSalvio said, was the sunset views of the Mystic River Valley facing west. While the Boston skyline views are tremendous, DeSalvio said the views of the Mystic are special because they have never been seen before.
“One of the unique aspects of the building is the views from various angles, especially the higher up to you go – are unlike anything we’ve ever seen because there has never been a building that big in Everett,” he said. “Looking west from the tower up the Mystic River, there’s a sense of the real beauty of that area.”
Overall, DeSalvio said the team has done outstanding work on all aspects of the resort, and he said they are very much ready for their opening in less than two weeks.