When WHYY’s Radio Times went on the road in June, host Marty Moss-Coane interviewed Steve Inskeep, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition, at SugarLoaf. History, literature and public radio buffs filled Commonwealth Chateau and enjoyed radio at its best.
When Abington Health and Jefferson Health merged, the two high-powered boards of directors spent a day getting to know each other – at SugarLoaf. And when Teresa Sweeney Soekoro married two years ago, she promised to love and cherish her new husband. Yes, at SugarLoaf. And, this summer, her uncle also tied the knot in the Chateau.
What is going on? A little more than two years ago, outside groups occasionally planned events at Chestnut Hill College, but since Drew Westveer, director of event planning and facilities marketing, joined the staff and began to build a solid infrastructure and branded the College as the go-to place, business has begun to boom.
“The brand promise I’m building here is one of excellent customer service and high quality in every aspect,” says Westveer, adding that building a solid infrastructure of catering, housekeeping, security and audio visual providers has been his “job number one.”
Creating a unified customer experience through teamwork is crucial so that clients have a “seamless experience from start to finish,” he says. “We have to delight our customers, every single one … every guest who leaves an event has to be delighted so they talk about us and become our brand ambassadors. We have this amazing space sitting here saying, ‘Tell my story.’”
Scheduling weddings, corporate events and fundraisers for churches, schools and community groups is somewhat challenged by the need to accommodate the College’s staff, faculty and student scheduling. Fortunately, all that is generally done a year in advance, so Westveer has gotten adept at planning events around them.
With a background in marketing and the hospitality industry, Westveer fully understands the need for publicity, stellar customer service and branded marketing. To date, he has pursued clients who are looking for the perfect venue for intimate weddings (the Chateau can host up to 130 guests in an upscale setting). And has ensured CHC is a draw for non-profit silent auctions and other fundraisers. Several local institutions and organizations are repeat customers.
“Our guest satisfaction rate is unbelievably high,” he says. “WHYY told me they wanted to return before the event even started.”
Building and firming up the infrastructure includes providing potential clients with preferred vendor lists of florists, DJs, musicians, bakeries and others. The network is growing. His goal is to ensure all the pieces are in place and everyone performs at top capacity — and to grow steadily without outgrowing his ability to meet that goal.
Other pieces of the infrastructure include an updated website, new blog and Facebook presence, all of which are coming together now.
“Increasing the use of SugarLoaf and the Rotunda for community events, midweek retreats and corporate events is my goal. The spaces are amazing and we can deliver everyone a five-star experience,” he adds. “There is nothing like the Rotunda or the Chateau anywhere in the area.”
- Brenda Lange
This story originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Connections.