Skyline CEO Waits Tables, Makes Snow and Bails Hay for Undercover Boss Canada

TORONTO – MARCH 16/12 – Skyline International Development’s CEO Michael Sneyd takes his job undercover by looking at two Skyline Hotels & Resorts properties from the inside out, on Undercover Boss Canada airing Thursday, March 29/1, 9 pm E/P on the W Network.
Since his CEO appointment in early 2011, Sneyd and the Skyline Management Team have been on a mission to advance the brand from a regional collection of hotels and lifestyle real estate projects, to become a key player in the Canadian hospitality and destination community business.
On the show, Sneyd joins employees at Horseshoe Resort near Barrie and Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka to wait tables, make snow for the ski hills and bail hay.
“Initially I was concerned about being recognized, but the approach and disguise was effective and allowed me to fit right in as a front-line employee,” said Sneyd.
“This role gave me a much deeper appreciation for our Skyline team and how hard they work every day to deliver great memories for our guests.  I was humbled by how difficult it is to spend a full shift on your feet and the level of customer service and professionalism our staff achieve.”
A noticeable factor in the show’s production and Sneyd’s experience was the strong impact of seasonality, weather and short-term booking patterns on resort traffic.
“This unusually warm winter has proved to be a great case study on where we are proactive, and where there is still potential to enhance and promote unique offerings,” he said.
Sneyd’s insight about Skyline’s potential, centered around the need to integrate technology, training and teamwork.
“To be successful in our business, we have to create partnerships with our employees, guests and owners.  That won’t change no matter how many high-tech tools we embrace. What has changed significantly is the business of hospitality,” Sneyd adds.  “We are in a very complex industry that is much more than just bricks and mortar. Undercover Boss reinforced how important it is to equip employees with the physical and motivational tools to get the job done well, increase efficiency and to value their input.”
This experience inspired Sneyd to implement an annual ‘Undercover Jobs Day’ at Skyline, where corporate office executives, general managers and hotel leadership committee members will all spend a shift doing line-level jobs.
“There’s nothing like walking in another person’s shoes, even for a short time, to open your eyes to their world of work.”
Sneyd’s experience opened his eyes to just how much walking many of the jobs at 600-acre Horseshoe Resort and 760-acre Deerhurst Resort demand.  “Both are large properties and I’d estimate many of our team cover at least five kilometers a day in the course of completing their work.”
Hired to implement the fast forward vision of Skyline Founder & President Gil Blutrich, in his first 12 months at the top of company operations, Sneyd has already overseen a $27 million private equity placement and the acquisition of Deerhurst Resort and the company’s first U.S. property, which includes the landmark Cleveland Arcade and the 293-room Hyatt Regency hotel.
His tenure has also included the introduction of real estate and re-development projects at Deerhurst, including the new Highlands Golf Cottages and Horseshoe’s Copeland House, and the next phase of the company’s plan to restore the formerly abandoned waterfront of Port McNicoll, near Midland, Ontario, into an extensive mixed use destination that serves as a gateway to the 30,000 Islands while anchoring one end of the new Georgian Valley tourism corridor.
Compared to his office days, Sneyd stepped down for a week to tackle Undercover Boss Canada which was “a once-in-a-lifetime shot to get a different perspective on what’s important to this company and our customers, looking ahead. The staff I worked with shared valuable information which I would likely not have learned if they knew they were shepherding the boss around for a day.”
Other companies participating in the inaugural season of Undercover Boss Canada include Molson Coors Canada, Second Cup, Cineplex Entertainment and GoodLife Fitness.

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