Q&A: Jack Damioli, President/CEO, The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor

Q&A: Jack Damioli, President/CEO, The Broadmoor

Courses

Q&A: Jack Damioli, President/CEO, The Broadmoor

Jack Damioli began his career as the bag room supervisor at The Greenbrier, with plans to work in the golf business. Those plans changed as Damioli spent his 22 years at The Greenbrier working in various departments, ultimately serving as the resort’s general manager from 2000-2006. He moved on to become president and general manager of The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, Fla.

In January 2014, Damioli was hired as vice president and managing director of The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. In March 2015, he became just the seventh CEO in The Broadmoor’s 99-year history.

The Broadmoor has been a Forbes Five Star hotel for 57 years and a AAA Five Diamond hotel for 41 years. No American resort can match that sustained level of excellence. (For good measure, the resort’s spa and Penrose Room restaurant also hold Five Star status.) The Broadmoor’s East Course, which will host next year’s U.S. Senior Open, also is ranked No. 55 on Golfweek’s Best Resort Courses list.

With The Broadmoor preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018, Damioli talked about the culture, qualities and programs that underlie the resort’s success.

Golfweek: What lessons did you take from your early experience working in the bag room at The Greenbrier that you still carry with you in your work?

Damioli: First and foremost was understanding who really takes care of your guests and your members. It’s the employees who are in front of our guests and members each and every day. Understanding what it’s like to perform their jobs has been invaluable in my career. I’ve had the good fortune of working in most major departments throughout a resort. . . The other thing is building relationships, whether that be with your members, your employees or your guests. The hospitality business is about people and taking care of people.

Golfweek: You talked about the importance of the employees who are dealing with your guests each day. How do you instill that service culture throughout the entire resort staff?

Damioli: Across all of our businesses, that’s 2,800 people. I will give full credit to Steve Bartolin, our chairman, and Cindy Johnson, who’s our long-time vice president of human resources. Those two individuals put in place a culture at The Broadmoor that is very special. It’s warm, welcoming and friendly. The culture is we speak to everyone, whether it’s fellow employees or our guests. That includes eye contact, name recognition, and a “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” “How are you?” are just part of the natural existence here. It’s inbred into the culture. What I love is when you see guests speaking to other guests, then you know you’re doing something special.

 

Golfweek: For all of the continuity at the top of the organization, for the half century or more of Five Star and Five Diamond awards, it’s striking how much the resort has changed over the past half century with numerous renovations and expansions. What’s the lesson we should take from that?

Damioli: The one thing that’s been consistent at The Broadmoor over its 99 years is that it has constantly evolved. Even with the recent addition of our Wilderness Experiences, we’re always trying to do what is the next step, what is the expectation and being on the cutting edge of that. By adding the three boutique (wilderness) resorts – Cloud Camp, Emerald Valley Ranch and the Fly Fishing Camp – we’re trying to bring that adventure travel piece to our guests so that they can experience authentic Colorado. In addition to those three boutique resorts, we offer three attractions: Seven Falls, which has been a natural attraction since 1872, and we purchased it in 2015; we added The Broadmoor Soaring Adventures at the same time, and that’s a series of zip lines, suspension bridges and controlled rappels above the canyon in the Seven Falls property; and we’ve owned the Pikes Peak Cog Railway for almost 100 years, and that takes guests from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak. So bringing Colorado to our guests, those authentic experiences, is what The Broadmoor is focused on going forward.

Golfweek: What has been the reception to the Wilderness Experiences?

Damioli: Overwhelmingly positive. What I’ve found is that people have discovered the wilderness properties as a result of The Broadmoor. But one of the things that has been an eye-opener for me is that we’ve had people discover The Broadmoor as a result of booking at Cloud Camp, Emerald Valley Ranch or the Fly Fishing Camp. So opening up new markets and new opportunities to discover Colorado has been refreshing. One of the things that has been a lot of fun, especially for golfers, is we’ve put together a package called the “Hook and Hack.” We packaged our Fly Fishing Camp and golf together. We have a golf tournament here at The Broadmoor, a night at Cloud Camp and then go up to the Tarryall (River) for two days of fishing and a chip off that give you an overall winner for the event.

Golfweek: Now that the Wilderness Experiences are up and running, what’s next?

Damioli: We’re always evolving. We’ve added falconry and mountain biking, and developed a partnership with a local company that makes fat bikes, which you can run in snow, bad weather and sand. We’ve put together a new program called Wilderness Adventures, where you can throw tomahawks and shoot air rifles and archery. So we’re always evolving, always rolling out new programs to bring Colorado to our guests.

Golfweek: How has The Broadmoor changed since the Anschutz family acquired the resort in 2011?

Damioli: The Broadmoor is still held privately, so we’re part of the family. The Broadmoor has been put into a 100-year trust so that it can’t be sold, it can’t have a branded flag on it. There are certain requirements for capital reinvestment. Those are wonderful things (that ensure) great stewardship of this property for the next 100 years.

Golfweek: The Anschutz family also owns Sea Island Resort. What is The Broadmoor’s relationship with Sea Island? Are the resorts complementary, or are they two separate entities with common ownership.

Damioli: I would say two separate entities with common ownership would be the best way to sum it up, but with an opportunity to work together when it makes sense. We have put together two properties that have great history, service, tradition and excellence. There are seven Forbes Five Stars amongst those two properties. The Broadmoor is getting ready to turn 100; Sea Island will turn 90 next year. So there are so many things in common. On the other hand, what a wonderful opportunity to share East Coast-West Coast, mountains-beach experiences, with the same quality of service and excellence.

Golfweek: Do you run any programs for your guests who might want to visit both properties?

Damioli: We market to our respective guests the opportunities that are available at our sister properties. That’s on the social side. On the group side, we’ve had numerous groups that have decided to book at the other property. So we see great synergies between the properties.

Golfweek: What are The Broadmoor’s plans to mark its 100th anniversary next year?

Damioli: With something as special as a centennial celebration, it shouldn’t be one event. So we’ve put together an entire calendar of events. From January to December, each month will have its own theme, programming and personality. We’ll start in January with a weekend celebrating The Broadmoor World Arena, which was located here on the property for years. Peggy Fleming trained here and was a member of The Broadmoor Skating Club when she won her first gold medal in 1968. The U.S. Olympic gold medal hockey team trained here in 1980. So there’s a rich history here at The Broadmoor. We’ll be doing a centennial celebration weekend June 1-3 that’s marking the soft opening Mr. Penrose had in 1918. And we’re going to do a full weekend, from a speakeasy cocktail party on Friday night to a wonderful gala on Saturday. That June is also our U.S. Senior Open championship later in the month, and it will right on top of our birthday, which is June 29. So we’ll have a fireworks celebration that night. Amy Grant and Vince Gill are doing a concert here the week of the tournament that benefits Homefront Cares and many other military organizations. So we’re excited about the year.

(Note: This story appears in the Golfweek “Ultimate Guide.”)

Latest

More Golfweek
Home