Tenure has its rewards. Ten-year employee Andrew Reh moved into the chief operating offi cer and general manager role at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire last fall. He worked through the ranks as director of food and beverage, executive chef and vice president of resort services before taking over the top spot.
MIM+E: What experiences shaped you for this new leadership challenge?
AR: I arrived as part of a restructuring team for the (then) new ownership. Having experience for repositioning struggling hotel operations is what initially brought me to Shanty Creek. Through these last 10 years, I’ve had opportunity to manage the day-to-day operation within this large resort—it’s almost like a small city.
MIM+E: Any big changes so far?
AR: Over the past 12 months, our team has worked on restructuring and rebuilding our reservations department. This has had a rippling effect and cultural shift that has invaded other departments. We have also restructured our food and beverage department, making it more efficient and solidifying its hierarchy. These will help move us forward.
MIM+E: What’s new and different?
AR: We have created a new outdoor seating area at Schuss Village that can be used during the winter months as a retreat away from our traditional meeting spaces. We also have established the best lineup of après-ski live music in northern Michigan. Our Cedar River Village is truly becoming a destination. It’s no longer just an extension or overflow of our main [Summit] Village. Its appeal includes a quiet solitude, beautiful hikes, and features that allow guests and events planners (of smaller sized groups) to “take over” the lodge and have all the amenities that they need in one building. Our Summit Village continues to evolve into a multifunctional space that shifts by season. An example of this would be the Alpine Tubing Park. In winter it is one of our most popular amenities, but come spring and summer, it’s become a popular space for weddings and receptions because of its breathtaking views of Lake Bellaire and miles and miles of unspoiled northern Michigan landscape.
MIM+E: Why should planners consider your resorts for meetings or events?
AR: Shanty Creek Resorts exudes something that is truly special. It’s the combination of its history, its property, its place among the chain of lakes, but also because our staff and guest service is authentic. This, combined with what we believe are fair rates, add up to an incredible value. Our location provides a true sense of retreat and getaway while also having plenty of outdoor recreation from ski and golf on-property to boating, hiking and biking within a few minutes. We’re fortunate that our neighboring town of Bellaire has created its own destination with specialty shops and craft beverages, and strong sense of outdoor recreation throughout the community.
MIM+E: What does business look like in the summer versus the winter?
AR: Summer months (or more accurately non-winter months) feature more business and educational conferences. Our winter months are more social and teamoriented. Groups come for meeting purposes, but also to have fun.
MIM+E: What is your favorite room?
AR: The Bellaire Room at the Lakeview Hotel is my favorite small meeting space. In winter months the two, large wood burning fireplaces at opposite ends of the room provide a warm, comfortable Up North setting not found in conventional meeting spaces. During the summer, the doors open onto its own semi-private patio overlooking the lake while allowing guests both an indoor and outdoor space—perfect for receptions.
MIM+E: What is one of the more memorable events you've hosted recently?
AR: Several years ago, we became more involved with the Antrim County High Tea, which is a nonprofit organization that raises money for breast cancer awareness and prevention. The community has really rallied around this event and it has grown significantly over the last few years with attendees and vendors alike looking forward to participating. All the money raised is kept locally.
MIM+E: What will the resorts look like in the next five years?
AR: “Comeback” is something I would’ve agreed with 10 years ago. Not today. We are back. We know that we are part of the “who’s who” in Michigan’s tourism industry. We continue to have steady growth, which is a testament to our team’s leadership, our unique property, and setting within a community that cares about its guests.