Boutique-hotels can teach everyone about customer service

In recent years, the term “boutique” provider has been coined as the highest standard of personalized customer care in many industries. So how do those high-end boutique hotels do it so well, effortlessly and seamlessly? It’s all in the details, they would casually tell you, but you can’t “buy” the right attitude or the enthusiasm of their carefully appointed personnel. As you walk in, you are practically greeted by name, as staff recall a note or two from a previous conversation they had with you. The welcoming atmosphere most likely includes many added-values to each stay, such as treats and soft music waiting in your suite, or cocktails in the lounge to thank you for joining this pampered clique. The concierge has a solution for everything, usually in a matter of minutes and at no extra charge. The in-house spa makes you want to  move in with them. Turn down service, down linens, complimentary beauty products you actually want to use on your skin, 24-hour gym and room service, what’s not to like? Now imagine this approach to service in your daily life… from your banker to your favourite coffee house, and you can practically hear – what a wonderful world – playing in your head. Thank you to Hotel Quintessence in Tremblant for their incomparable level of spoiling right down to the heated ski boots and slippers waiting every morning in the lobby, and Hotel Place D’Armes in Old Montreal, for their wonderful nesting qualities and most rejuvenating offerings while on a business trip. Attending the National Snow Industry Association’s yearly tradeshow was that much more exciting. May everyone experience that “Boutique” kind of feeling in other service sectors!

Signs of the times…are good!

Welcome back to our cherished American clients who shared their new projects for Spring 09! Ask not what the US can do for us, but what WE can do for the US! We hope to proactively contribute to your full recovery, while learning to respect everyone’s limits (including mother earth’s). Our dear friends at Timberland are updating their dealer website and the new line looks great. Welcome to everyone at RMP, distributors of over 15 of the world’s top sporting brands, we wish you much success as well! Major hotel chains are revamping their websites with great offers, and it’s “Show Time” for many in the ski and apparel industry, between SIA in Vegas, ISPO in Munich and NSIA in Montreal… at least no one can say we didn’t get enough snow in this part of the world! Another record year, just by measuring what fell off the roof again.

Salutations and a warm welcome to Barack Obama & family visiting us on Feb. 19th in Ottawa, and wishes of a more balanced lifestyle to our beloved Oprah and Stedman!

Team building in a global world

Ever wonder how to create a sense of team spirit, when most collaborators are spread out across the globe, freelancing or have never met face to face? The key is to virtually share in the accomplishments, by honouring everyone’s contribution, and keeping every team member in the loop until project completion. Organize a celebration when the project or product reaches the market, through Skype, a webcast or a special delivery. Freelancers who feel appreciated and directly linked to their clients’ success tend to be more inclined to go the extra mile when under a time crunch, budget cutbacks, or when their own schedule is busier than normal because they will want the client’s image to reflect their own level of professionalism. The “family feeling” can create ties and loyalty, even if your team is in seperate time zones. For example, I truly appreciate the many companies I have been collaborating with on a regular basis, some for as many as 8 years now, and they know they can count on me when it matters most and I will deliver. Win-Win!

A healthy mind needs a healthy body!

So is January living up to your expectations? Raising the bar is what we need to do to ensure we deliver quality results while living our best life. Being a lifestyle writer gave me a leg up on this balancing act, recently interviewing some of the most respected athletes, health experts in the country and visiting some fabulous spas and resorts. Setting fitness goals is a lot like meeting clients’ expectations – it takes a plan, research, and lots of dedication…but also a fixed deadline with someone to account to and a reward. Who is your health advocate? I know this year, when I look in the mirror, I want to know with certainty that I have done everything I promised myself at the outset. There are only two choices; Make progress, or make excuses.

Cheers to the good (smaller) things in life!

Careful what you wish for, for 2009!

Time to evaluate your satisfaction with your business and your life overall, because you get a clean slate once a year to start over and make it right! I often say “careful what you wish for” since most of our verbalized or written expectations have come true in some form or another. I like to rate the various areas of my life at the end of each year and set targets for the next 12 months; some are top priorities, some are wishful thinking, but all add up to a wonderful life I can be grateful for. This very web site was on my to do list for many years, but last year I wrote it as a goal…and voilà! Now if I could only fix the health of everyone, include more leisure time for those hobbies and passions, and inspire those around me to join me on the journey! On that note Happy New Year everyone, write in on the comment blog if you wish, and let’s make 2009 the year we stick to it!

The Hills are alive

When my husband and I moved to the Gatineau Park almost 8 years ago (just north of Ottawa), little did we know there would be so much action going on around us. Because I can freelance from just about anywhere, I was just happy to hide in my home office and my virtual world, until I was introduced to fabulous businesses right here in the area. The people I’ve met have traveled extensively, with a fascinating background and very interesting stories to share. This week I had the privilege of meeting the owner of Rendez-Vous Chelsea, and his vision and tenacity inspired me to keep reaching for my goals. We will be doing lots of collaboration in the future with so many projects on the go. Another favourite of mine is the team at the Nordik, a nearby outdoor spa I have come to depend on in busy times to get those creative juices flowing. The girls at Outaouais Tourism work tirelessly year round to promote every nook and cranny of this region, and without their mandates I probably wouldn’t know so much about the area today! Also congratulations to my 5 star friends at the Chelsea Smokehouse who keep reinventing the wheel for our culinary pleasure, and the award winning chef and crew at Les Fougères. It’s the little things that make a village a home, and without Cindy and Midge’s famous unsweetened frothy Soy Chai on a cold day, I just may have moved back to Tremblant. But this feels like home and I am grateful for all the business ideas we share as well! Cheers to community ties.

Time to give back

If you are like me, the year starts off with a bang and then poof, here we are in December and we barely had time to keep track of our business; but there should also be some time to give back. This year we are planning to donate to various charities in time, services and money, such as the 24 hours of Tremblant, a non-stop ski event raising millions for sick kids and various charities from Montreal to Ottawa; In the past I have enjoyed collaborating with “Paws for Charity” here in Ottawa, a dog-loving group of women entrepreneurs raising funds and awareness for (human) the Breast cancer foundation. Food banks and shelters are other favourites, since we can do so much with very little. This year I also want to include certain programs with local hospitals who have helped us so much, and at least one project for under developed countries. If every small entrepreneur supported one cause, only once a year, imagine what we could accomplish on a global scale. Here’s to giving more of yourself this season! 

Welcome December

Already the month of December, which is already shaping up to be another epic month. On the block; a sporting good catalog for a major national chain, a website for a specialty food store, and another website translation for a non-profit organization with big dreams to reach. We must also find the time to thank all of our 2008 clients before year end and attend a myriad of social functions. Nothing to fear! A balanced lifestyle is so important for creativity and productivity (not to mention sanity!) so we will schedule a few mid day breaks throughout the month to rejuice and enjoy the outdoors. Please contact us now for any year-end deadlines to avoid Holiday rush. The office will be closed between Dec 22th-26th.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

This last week-end was very exciting, with all the snow we were able to ski Tremblant and celebrate the  anniversaries of valued clients, a 5th for beautiful Hotel Quintessence, along with La Forge’s 10th and The Shack’s 15th.  We are also working on articles on the new life of World Cup racer Mélanie Turgeon and on Porter airlines flights directly into Tremblant for Ski Canada. Our friends at Tyrolia in Austria are also keeping busy fresh out of their international meeting in the Alps, with innovative ideas for the 2009-2010 season and new catalogs to work on. Already our sights our on 2010 with some key projects with New Era merchandise for the winter Olympics! To get ready for training, those athletes will need all the tools from the 360 athletics catalog almost ready to print… Busy times are exciting times at 5 Star Communications. Thanks to all our partners who contribute to our success, I am always very grateful. Words of wisdom for today, Embrace the Pre-Boom Period! This is a good time for reflection in the world and rethink the way we all do business in a sustainable manner – we can  all help each other through any challenge. Peace!

New website launch!

Hello and thanks for reading the blog page, where I hope to faithfully update you on the going-ons of 5 Star Communications and related personal news. This week we are trying to launch the “official” website as fast as we can, so please excuse the funny format and pictures at – this is just a test! Today there is snow on the ground and the sky was beautiful, so I took the dogs for a lovely hike. We just finished a 103-page document for a client from French to English in under 2 weeks, I am currently proofing a 90-page catalog from English to French, and writing up an article due next week. But other than that, we are available for new projects so please contact us and see what 5 star service is all about! Thanks and hope you come back and visit us again soon.