Regardless of the hurdles that this year has presented, Forest Lodge’s team works tirelessly behind the scenes to facilitate the perfect, custom event. While it hasn’t been easy to overcome the challenges of 2020, the Lodge’s event planners have always kept their guests at the forefront of focus when pandemic-proofing the event space.
Putting the Customer First
“We sell the events, but we are also the event planners, backing up the claims,” explained Anthony Panchery, the Director of Catering for Forest Lodge. “People don’t realize the work that goes in behind the scenes—we want it to be flawless.”
Customers grow to know Forest Lodge team members like Panchery during the event planning and booking process. What they might not realize is that they’ll also find the same man who sold them their dream wedding, also seeing them through the event, and waving goodbye at the end of the evening. From top-down, the Lodge’s team is hands-on for the entire customer experience.
“Our door is always open,” said Panchery. “We are accessible whether you’re a customer today or customer next year. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I can do a picnic in the morning and throw on a tux for a wedding in afternoon—everyone gets the best treatment because we have the experience and we’re versatile.”
The Lodge management team are always accessible for customers through phone, email, Zoom calls, and on-premise meetings to show off their space.
“Once [a customer sees an event] in action they feel more comfortable and have no problems,” explained Linda Taylor, Vice President of the Lodge. “We invite clients to events so they can see for themselves how smoothly events run, even in pandemic times.”
When it is time for an event, guests only see happy smiles and the results of the team’s hard work: An event space for any occasion despite pandemic-related obstacles.
“In July 2020, when outdoor dining opened, our customer asked that we set a table for five people who had been quarantining since March 2020,” recalled Taylor. “We set a spot for them under the impression that they’d leave before the reception. Halfway into cocktail hour, we realized they were still here. The guests told us how safe they felt and asked to stay. On the spot, we added five more dinners so they could stay.”
Outdoor Dining Since 1937
The space at Forest Lodge is innately “pandemic-proof.” The Lodge team has made outdoor events go on without a hitch. Most notably, they’ve even succeeded in non-ideal conditions like during Summer 2020’s Hurricane Fay. As a result, the shift in dining regulations hasn’t caused as much of an issue as one might think…
“Our biggest challenge occurred when we had to postpone over 100 events in March,” said Taylor. “We were trying hard to keep customers happy, safe, and watch out for our own best interests. In response, we transferred deposits and offered customers prime dates when they re-booked.”
Offering deposit refunds and honoring reservations on prime weekend days differentiated Forest Lodge’s customer service from the competition. What’s more, the rustic wedding venue known as Maple Grove Pavilion was instrumental when offering customers a place to party.
As the Forest Lodge employees continue to keep up the hard work. Making a customer feel safe during an event is just another way the team is customizing event planning services. The Lodge’s event planners are able to adapt pricing, organize seating, accommodate more intimate parties, and are staffing adequately to ensure the space is sanitized.
The same people who are booking clients, see their guests from the event planning stage all the way up until they’re walking out the door on their wedding evening. These hardworking employees have made dreams come true during 2020 when many people thought their dream wedding or perfect event would never be possible.
“Being able to give customers the dream of getting married in 2020 was an awesome thing,” said Taylor. “People didn’t think it would happen and then they come here. We listen to our customers’ needs, concerns, and what would make their day perfect. We take that and run with it. They expect 100% and we give them 120%. That is why we’re continuing to book events and that is why we’ve already scheduled more than 100 events for 2021.”
The Forest Lodge team is currently following the local board of health, NJ State, and CDC regulations in addition to the tireless customer service we offer. Give us a call today to let us answer any more questions you have…