OSOYOOS AND SPIRIT RIDGE WILL BE IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT WITH FEB. 14 BROADCAST OF UNDERCOVER BOSS CANADA
Posted on 07 February 2013 by Keith Lacey
The Town of Osoyoos and the spectacular Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa are going to be in the national spotlight next week.
That’s because the popular television program Undercover Boss Canada had crews spend three days in our community this past fall shooting an episode that will be televised across Canada on the Women’s Network the evening of Thursday, Feb. 14.
Ed Romanowski, the president and chief executive officer of Bellstar Hotel and Resorts, was the featured guest for this particular episode as film crews spent a week shooting footage of Romanowski as he went “undercover” and worked with front line staff at Bellstar resorts in Canmore, AB and here in Osoyoos at Spirit Ridge.
“We spent three days shooting in Osoyoos … I did everything from working at the front desk to housekeeping,” said Romanowski, who started Bellstar almost 10 years ago and has worked in the hotel and hospitality industry for 30 years. ‘Needless to say, I gained a whole new appreciation for the hard work and commitment shown by our front line staff at Spirit Ridge and our other properties.
“Overall, it was a wonderful experience.”
Even though he had watched the television show on numerous occasions, Romanowski didn’t think he would ever be asked to participate, but was very enthusiastic once producers asked him to jump on board.
“We didn’t have anything to do with being selected,” said Romanowski, in a telephone interview from Bellstar’s corporate head office in Calgary. “Eventually they contacted us to see if I would be interested in doing the show.
“I did an initial interview and they liked what they heard and asked if I would like to do the show and we made the decision to go ahead with this.”
Romanowski spent a full week with the producers and film crew, including one day at head office in Calgary, three days in Canmore and three days in Osoyoos.
Romanowski dressed up in a wig and beard and no one he dealt with during that week figured out he was the president and CEO of the company.
“Nobody figured out who I was at all,” he said. “I was introduced to the staff as a trainee who was trying out for numerous positions within the hospitality industry.
‘It was very straightforward in that the staff tried to train me to the best of their ability and I had the opportunity to see what these workers on the front line have to do. I learned in a hurry how much the vast majority of them really enjoy their jobs and working in this industry.”
Because he has worked for three decades in the hotel and hospitality industry, Romanowski said he realized front line staff are the key to success at Spirit Ridge and other Bellstar properties, but to work alongside many of them was something he won’t soon forget.
“Clearly front line staff are the most important people who deliver the most important work in this industry,” he said. “It’s these people who deal with our guests and make sure all of their needs are taken care of.
“Guests don’t really care who the CEO of the company is, but they want to have a great experience when they visit a resort and our front line staff are responsible for ensuring they have a great time.”
The fact Spirit Ridge is considered one of the finest resorts in the entire province is a credit to the people who work there, said Romanowski.
“We’re proud of the reputation we’ve established in only seven years since we opened,” he said. “It’s important we continue working hard and show a willingness to adapt and change because the hotel and resort marketplace is constantly changing and we need to be on top of all those changes.”
Osoyoos is one of the most unique small communities in all of Canada and never ceases to impress him when he visits, said Romanowski.
“Osoyoos is one of the friendliest and most helpful communities I’ve ever done business in,” he said. “People here realize this is a tourist town and they’re so willing to go out of their way to help. The people have a great attitude and there’s a great vibe amongst the people.”
There isn’t another small town in Canada that he’s ever visited that has as much to offer tourists as Osoyoos.
“It’s certainly a world-class, unique destination,” he said. “I can’t think of another place in Canada that combines sensational weather with the mountains, amazing views, the desert, the valleys, amazing water courses and, of course, Osoyoos Lake. There are not many places in the world that have this much to offer in a community this size.”
Romanowski said he’s looking forward to watching the program on February 14.
Mike Campol, general manager of Spirit Ridge, said all of the staff who participated in the production of this episode of Undercover Boss Canada had a great time.
Staff and guests will be invited to watch the initial broadcast Feb. 14.
“We’ve booked our banquet room and invited all our staff and guests to come and watch the show,” he said. “It’s not every day you get on national television so we’re all pretty excited.”