Friday, January 22, 2010

Hallmark Waynesville Club Undergoes Makeover

Written by Paul Viau

County residents may have noticed a few changes at the Waynesville Country Club this year. For starters, Waynesville’s very own “club” is now The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa. The new “inn” focus is the handiwork of Tom Halterman, the property’s new general manger.

Halterman joined the Waynesville Inn in January, and he admits it was a bit of an adjustment coming from Mystic Dunes Golf Resort in Orlando, a 1,000-room signature property on sprawling 600 acres, to Waynesville Country Club’s 115 rooms. But Halterman said he is glad he made the move.

As an experienced “hotelier,” Halterman looked at his new surroundings and went right to work instituting “a comprehensive, traditional resort approach to hospitality.” Making the name change to Waynesville Inn was simple. The tough work came when Halterman revamped the employee management structure, instituting “a much-needed strong business approach and customer service focus.” Halterman’s financial background, a corporate controller before being tagged by Mystic Dunes to be GM, proved invaluable. And his experience orchestrating a well-managed staff didn’t hurt, either.

“No one should drive on our property with a knot in his stomach,” said Halterman, “And no one should go home with one.” Dialogue with his staff became a priority.

Halterman’s first mission was to revitalize the staff infrastructure, building a strong executive committee that worked as a team. He identified the holes and gaps in customer service and applied some good, old-fashioned people skills.

His next step was to partner with Catherine Arrington of Insight Marketing, a strategic marketing company, to rebrand the property from a perceived private club into an inclusive mountain resort that is the center of community activity and a travel destination.
“My new executive team is committed to the enhancement of the guest experience,” said Halterman.

On the golf course side, the head golf professional for Waynesville Inn remains Travis Smith, but maintenance of the 27-hole Donald Ross signature course has been outsourced to International Golf Maintenance. IGM is the recognized leader in golf course maintenance, and even though they just took over maintenance in March of this year, both members and guests can see the difference, Halterman said. “We have had lots of good comments, especially from golf groups,” he noted.

Food service was one area at Waynesville Inn that Halterman targeted for improvement, so he brought in a new director of food and beverage, Beat Gfeller. Under Gfeller’s direction, the popular, casual Tap Room is now evolving into more of a dedicated sports bar.

The main dining room closed for an extensive makeover and reopened as The Cork and Cleaver a steak and seafood restaurant offers the area’s finest wine selection and antibiotic- and hormone-free beef from California’s Niman Ranch, Hallerman said.
If beef doesn’t do it for you, don’t despair. The Cork and Cleaver also offers Tuscan chicken, Australia double-cut lamb chops and roasted Long Island duck, to name a few.

Halterman and his team are now turning their attention to spa side of the house. “The economy being such as it is, we are doing it modestly … but doing it right,” he said. For the time being, Waynesville Inn will partner with Spa at Biltmore Village to provide key in-room spa services. Guests can now receive traditional spa services like manicures, facials and a variety of body massages … right in the comfort of their rooms. “Guests really love that kind of pampering,” Halterman said.

Halterman plans to “grow the spa offerings, down the road,” offering additional spa services, spa meals and eventually a dedicated spa building. Jeff Young, the new director of sales, now has a great story to tell, said Halterman — the enhancement of the guest experience. The employees who are making the journey with Halterman and his team will continue to grow. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to provide employee growth,” Halterman said. “And that’s good for their team and our community.”


For more information on IGM and the professional golf course services offered, please contact the IGM Business Development Office at 800-413-5500 or on the web at