Posted on 6/13/2023


At Mountain Laurel Chalets, our unwavering dedication to our core values sets us apart. These values form the foundation of our Gatlinburg rental management operation, guiding everything we do. First and foremost, we believe family matters. Secondly, we are wholeheartedly committed to exceeding expectations. And finally, we aim to be generous stewards of all that's been entrusted to us. Today, we want to share what it truly means to exceed expectations because it lies at the heart of our mission.

When we say we aim to exceed expectations, we mean it for every single person we have the privilege of serving, be it our cherished guests or valued homeowners. We never settle for doing just enough to get by; instead, we strive to provide exceptional service that goes the extra mile, every single time.

For our guests, exceeding expectations might mean going the extra mile to locate and secure valuable or sentimental items they may have accidentally left behind, ensuring they are safely returned to them. It could involve sending a dedicated team member to personally assist a guest struggling to operate the SmartTV in their chalet, rather than merely attempting to guide them over the phone. We have assisted guests in organizing surprise flower or gift deliveries to their chalets, creating unforgettable moments for special occasions. We also welcome guests with thoughtful gifts when they visit us to celebrate significant milestones. These gestures are a testament to our commitment to going above and beyond for our guests.

We also pledge to exceed the expectations of our homeowners. Unlike many other management companies, we do not charge additional fees for maintenance calls or in-home visits. We firmly believe that caring for our owners' homes should mirror how we care for our own. When we promise to take care of a property, we mean that we will do whatever it takes to fulfill that commitment.

Allow us to share a recent story that perfectly illustrates our pursuit of exceeding expectations, demonstrating the profound impact that aim can have.

Early one morning, we received a call from a guest who had stayed with us multiple times over the years. The reason for their call was simple yet significant—a lightbulb on their deck had burned out, and they wanted to enjoy their hot tub in the evening after a day exploring the National Park and downtown Gatlinburg. Although their cabin was situated atop Ski Mountain, about ten minutes away from our office, they knew they could count on us to take care of them and provide extraordinary service.

We promptly placed a work order, and by midday, Hap McLaughlin, a longtime member of our maintenance team, arrived at the cabin with a replacement bulb. As he entered the house and proceeded toward the deck, he noticed some lights flickering inside, piquing his curiosity.

Driven by his commitment to thoroughness, Hap decided to investigate further, looking for the problem's source. As he entered an en-suite bathroom, he detected the smell of smoke and immediately identified that the exhaust fan was malfunctioning. Acting swiftly, he located an extinguisher and rushed back to the source of the smoke. By then, the exhaust fan had fallen to the ground, revealing a small fire in the attic. Hap used the entire contents of the extinguisher, promptly called 911, and informed our office of the situation.

Upon receiving the news, our CEO, Tom Goodwin, and COO, Corey Hawks, wasted no time in joining the rescue efforts. They followed a procession of emergency vehicles along the winding mountain roads they knew so well. It was the longest ten-minute drive they'd taken since the devastating wildfires of 2016, which had destroyed half of Mountain Laurel Chalets' properties in a single night.

When Tom and Corey arrived, they were relieved to see that the chief fire inspector and several other firefighters were already on the scene, and the house was still intact. After 15 nerve-wracking minutes, the authorities concluded that a disaster had been narrowly avoided. The inspector reinforced that because Hap had taken swift and decisive action, he effectively saved the house. Without his timely intervention, the home would have been lost by the time the rest of the team arrived. Hap emerged as a hero, embodying our commitment to exceeding expectations.

The assistant fire inspector was amazed that Hap just so happened to stop by at exactly the right time. Tom explained that Hap had been dispatched to change a lightbulb. The inspector looked at Tom in amazement, asking, "He was there just to change a lightbulb?"

Changing lightbulbs is just one of the countless tasks we undertake to ensure our guests' comfort and safety. We diligently respond to work orders while guests are staying with us because we genuinely care. This particular family knew us well enough to trust us with even the smallest concern, like a lightbulb change, because they know we are determined to exceed their expectations. It's not merely about replacing lightbulbs; it's about being part of a responsible management company that prioritizes the well-being of our guests and homeowners. No task is too insignificant when it comes to surpassing their expectations. In this case, our commitment to our core values saved an entire property.

The homeowners whose property was spared from disaster expressed their gratitude for our presence and the preventative measures we took. We assured them that we would guide them through the restoration and insurance claim processes, with the goal of restoring their home to rental status as soon as possible.

Word of the incident spread to our guests as they were entering Ripley's Believe it or Not, leaving them shocked and deeply thankful. While they enjoyed their day exploring Gatlinburg, we diligently handled everything on their behalf, ensuring their trip remained uninterrupted. We swiftly relocated them to another property, and all was well.

It turns out that Hap's presence coincided with the exact moment of the flickering lights. He was simply changing a lightbulb. We choose to believe that he played a role in a remarkable and miraculous event that saved this home—a testament to our unwavering commitment to exceeding expectations.

While such occurrences might surprise some, we see them as the result of exceptionalism being recognized. It's not just about being in the right place at the right time; it's about the exceptional service we provide. Sometimes, it all begins with something seemingly ordinary.