From hiding an engagement ring in a hotel suite for a guest who was planning a surprise engagement, to arranging to have a brief case repaired for a VIP guest, Madison Riddolls’ mission is to exceed guest expectations and create memorable experiences at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.
“Do it with passion or not at all”
Having been groomed in the Post Graduate Hospitality and Tourism Operations Management Program at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Madison says she has landed the perfect job!
Creating memorable experiences—it’s all in a day’s work, smiles Madison. “I specifically remember a guest approached me stating he wanted to propose to his girlfriend while they were in Toronto for the weekend, and asked if I had any suggestions. I suggested going to the CN Tower or perhaps arranging to make an announcement on the big screen at one of the big venues. Then I told him about our restaurant on the 38th floor which has a stunning 360 degree view of the city. He loved that idea, so much so, that he agreed to have us arrange a bottle of their favourite wine sent to the table with a custom label on it which read: “Will You Marry Me?” Of course she said yes! And we earned a happy guest.”
Madison has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography; a double major from Trent University in Peterborough. “How did you go from Sciences to Hospitality?” “It’s not as uncommon as you may think for people with varied backgrounds to go into the hospitality industry. When I took geography, I studied people, places, urban planning and I liked the advocacy and public speaking aspects of my course. I knew I wanted to continue my education and was looking for something more hands on. I love to travel, and I love staying at hotels. There’s something about just walking into a hotel lobby and finding myself engulfed in learning the nuts and bolts of this well-oiled machine that works seamlessly! When I saw the course at Humber, it just spoke to me, and since it was a post graduate program, it was a perfect fit.”
“My role has evolved at The Westin Harbour Castle,” says Madison. “When I started with Westin, it was a change in hands with my predecessor who worked as the Guest Experience Ambassador; I took over and learned the ropes of my new job as I went along. Shortly after, the company created a new branded position at each hotel called The Westin Experience Specialist and my job now is to not only build relationships with gold and platinum Starwood Preferred Guest members, but to also anticipate and fulfill their needs.
As part of the curriculum, guest speakers from the field are often invited to speak to students. “Erin Haid, Talent Development Manager for Starwood, spoke to our class and had a huge impact on my career choice,” explains Madison. “Erin was involved with my internship at the Sheraton Gateway, which is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. She called one day to tell me about the position at The Westin Harbour Castle. I applied immediately and am so glad I did!
"The job keeps me on my toes, and I love that. I am a people person, so getting a chance to know our guests and to make them happy is as exciting as it is rewarding.”
Madison spends her days creating memorable guest experiences for guests at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.