Geoffrey Campbell is the Director of Rooms at Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort in Tucson, Arizona but he is originally from Carmel, Indiana. Geoffrey’s journey started when he managed his first restaurant while an undergraduate at Purdue University. Sharing the same passion as his guests for continuous learning, Geoffrey also studied music composition as a graduate student at Butler University. He has written several chamber orchestra pieces and has commercially produced a self-guided historic tour of downtown Boston. Teaching as well as playing a variety of genres at the keyboard remains a passion.
Prior to working in several destinations, Geoffrey enjoyed world travel, keeping detailed logs about the people, food and cultures visited. Experiential travel became a passion early on for Geoffrey. These early experiences have helped shape his expectations for the guest experience at each of his properties.
Geoffrey has had the pleasure of working in several destinations, including Indianapolis, Boston, Newport, Kalamazoo, Tucson, the Montana Northern Rockies and the “Four Corners.” He currently serves as the Director of Rooms at Hacienda Del Sol in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Prior to Hacienda Del Sol, he served as Resort Manager at The Resort at Paws Up. Prior to Paws Up, he was the Executive Housekeeper at Amangiri, managed by Aman Resorts. Prior to Amangiri, he was the Director of Operations at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.
Over the years Geoffrey has enjoyed a diversity of leadership positions including lodging, food and beverage, outfitting and engineering. While operations will always remain a personal passion and area of expertise, Geoffrey enjoys bringing a diversity of viewpoints to the table to ensure his guests receive a memorable and life changing experience.
Geoffrey’s personal vision is to change the world by protecting the ecosystem, supporting local communities, providing educational and transformative emotional and sensory guest experiences, and grow future leaders in both thought and action. This vision will enhance the hospitality industry and create robust growth for like-minded organizations.
Geoffrey and his wife live next door to the Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, Arizona with their twin boys, daughter, two dogs, two cats and bearded dragon. Geoffrey enjoys spontaneous adventures with his family and getting lost in National Parks, Wilderness Areas and sporting goods Stores. After a long adventure, Geoffrey enjoys fine wine and cheese with crusty bread and great company.
How do the experiences you offer give guests a unique perspective on history, people or culture of your region?
As our guests walk through the rustic front Gates of Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort and under the ancient Mission Bell, they embark on a transformative journey. As a member of Historic Hotels of America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we are already distinguished by our true authenticity. Dating back to 1929, Hacienda Del Sol has a rich history of Spanish colonial design and Moorish architecture.
The experiences we offer are unique because unlike most museums, the amenities and features are available for the guests to enjoy in their intended purpose; to provide comfortable luxury and rejuvenation at their leisure.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Hacienda Del Sol opened its doors as a preparatory school for girls and operated as such from 1930 to 1941. The luxurious design and amenities appealed to elite families such as Vanderbilt, Campbell, Spalding, Westinghouse and Pillsbury. After a fire damaged part of the resort, Josias Joesler was commissioned to rebuild and seamlessly integrate the restored sections with the original concepts. Staying true to the original owners’ vision, we are building our new rooms to reflect the design and historic quality of the existing resort.
The experiences we offer have evolved to embrace the desires of modern experiential travelers. We cater to a diversity of guest needs. Everything that we do however has elements of the past. Our stables offer breathtaking hose back rides through the same unspoiled washes which were enjoyed over 85 years ago by the first guests of the resort. Our dining menus feature locally sourced ingredients including herbs and citrus from our own property. Our spa treatments are provided in historic preserved rooms with the modern amenities travelers expect in a luxury setting.
We are constantly looking for opportunities to personalize each experience, but we do so with an unpretentious approach and always keeping in mind the rich and authentic history of the property.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
Our arrival experience is ingrained in our training philosophy. There is a challenge in offering world class service and not seeming to follow a script. We have addressed this issue by providing our employees with information about the various plants and animals found around property. The escort from the mission bell to reception takes a guest through a verdant and lush garden of cacti and blooming flowers. As the guests admire the garden, the buildings themselves are replete with history and charm. Since we want each interaction with the guest to be welcoming and personalized, we rely on the depth of knowledge of our staff to function not only as a bellman per se, but also a docent and naturalist. To do this effectively, they need to have a strong base of knowledge.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
We would gladly give every guest a full tour of the property if they so desired. There are amazing details which are easy to go unnoticed without the benefit of a live tour. For example, Helen Murphey, the original owner hand carved the beams in the original library. Both the original library and the beams are available for guests to enjoy. I truly believe each experience and activity a guest enjoys on property are enhanced so much more with the understanding of the authenticity and history of the resort. We didn’t build the resort to resemble a historic gem in the desert, it is the real deal.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
I recently read in the Robb Report Luxury Newswire, “Today’s consumers purchase travel in a much more personalized way, looking for attributes in products and services that reflect who they are and the lifestyles they lead,” says Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO for Virtuoso.”
I have found that the best hospitality professionals seek out a similar experience whilst in the work place. I am fortunate to surround myself with consummate hoteliers whom enjoy sharing their knowledge and service with our guests. When I ask our employees why they enjoy working at Hacienda Del Sol, often times the legacy of the service culture and rich history create the ideal experience for them. When the guest and hospitality professional connect here, it is often a magic.
What sets Hacienda Del Sol apart from other, similar, organizations?
Although experiential travel is a broad brushstroke for our industry, it is exciting to me in that we can provide this experience with laser precision. We offer a product which cannot be manufactured; it can only be imitated. Preserving the history of our region happens right here at Hacienda Del Sol. We do not have to send our guests off site to learn about the region, they can do it right here. I believe this sets us apart. Whereas many successful resorts can offer exceptional and personalized experiences, not every resort has so much history and authenticity packed within its adobe walls.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Insider Tip: Establish a relationship with a concierge as early as possible before you embark on your journey. While luxury properties offer pre-arrival assistance, there are still many (guests) whom do not take advantage of this feature. Our pre-arrival team at Hacienda Del Sol are quite talented in customizing the experience for the Experiential Traveler. We know the right questions to ask to ensure each traveler gets the most out of their adventure.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
We truly use our guest feedback to grow our business model. As we ask our guests questions about their expectations, when we encounter a product or service we have not yet considered, we do everything we can to create that experience. This relates strongly with the importance of having a strong pre-arrival team. When we have time to plan and execute, instead of saying no, or sending the guest to an outfitter or vendor, we do everything we can to offer that experience at the property level.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
One personal habit which has helped me be successful is surrounding myself with highly talented and engaged people. I have always put talent first in the selection process. Talented and successful leaders understand that with personalized and rigorous training, talented people with potential always make the best employees.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
When I was in Montana, a guest was not sure if we would be able to provide all of the special needs for her daughter whom had Cerebral Palsy. There were many details and modifications which needed to happen to make this truly work. We got together as a team and planned out the entire stay. There were challenges where other resorts were not able to accommodate some of these needs. We worked together to make the experience entirely seamless. The experience was profound and life changing for the guests as well as our team. I was brought to tears reading a letter in a care package sent by the guests a while after their stay. I have been keeping up with them since our first meeting and remain a champion for that special and inspiring little girl.
Geoffrey on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/geoffreycampbell