Lithuanian Resort and Restaurant Are First Certified Guest Service Properties in Europe

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has awarded the first Certified Guest Service Property awards to two properties in Vilnius, Lithuania—IDW Esperanza Resort and Verkiai Restaurant. Ed Kastli, AHLEI’s vice president, international sales, presented the awards March 11 at IDW Esperanza Resort. (top photo: Kastli with Tomas Maknickas, general manager, IDW Esperanza Resort; bottom photo: Kastli with chef Diana Banuskeviciute and Linas Pucinskas, managing director, Verkiai Restaurant) The ceremony was attended by managers and staff from both properties, as well as the mayor of Vilnius and the acting director of the Lithuanian Hotel & Restaurant Association.
To earn the Certified Guest Service Property designation, employees completed AHLEI’s Guest Service Gold® training and earned the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) designation. IDW Esperanza Resort has 14 employees certified with CGSP® while Verkiai Restaurant has 10 CGSP® employees.
Linas Pucinskas, CHE, CGSP, managing director of Verkiai, was among the first people in Lithuania to take the Guest Service Gold® training and CSGP® certification exam when it was introduced in Vilnius in April 2013. He delivered the program to the staff at Verkiai, a luxury restaurant located on the ground floor of the Verkiai Palace in Vilnius. Pucinskas introduced the program to Tomas Maknickas, general manager of the IDW Esperanza Resort, a five-star eco-friendly boutique property that is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
“We decided that such a training and certification would be useful to both our employees and the resort,” said Maknickas. “The employees enjoyed the online training and I’m sure it will contribute toward some truly remarkable Guest Service Gold® moments at our resort.”
He added, “It is an honor for us to earn the title of Certified Guest Service Property. This is yet another reflection of our organization’s continued focus on excellence in meeting the needs of our guests.”
Pucinskas, who has conducted Guest Service Gold® training at several hotels in Lithuania, said that the program is effective, easy to implement, affordable, and well accepted by both employees and guests.
“Within the hospitality industry in Europe, we are often discussing Western hospitality standards, which means the highest professionalism and best service provided to the guests. However, nobody was able to describe clearly exactly what that meant. AHLEI has offered a perfect product with seven elements and short-term training, followed by an exam and certification. Today, we can better understand and explain easily what these Western standards of hospitality and guest service professionalism are,” he explained.
For more information on Guest Service Gold® and becoming a Certified Guest Service Property, visit

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