Through a series of Member Spotlights, the Michigan Chamber is showcasing some extraordinary members and how they operated during unprecedented times. Here is an example of how one member navigated through the storm.
It was built in 1954, on an island in the Straits of Mackinac, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas; voted one of the top resort hotels in the Midwest; and spans 18 acres of waterfront property on Lake Huron, so special you have to take a ferry to get there:
Mission Point Resort.
The 241-room resort on Mackinac Island, purchased by the Ware family, employs over 300 employees in the summer and 55 in the winter. Even though the resort operates only six months out of the year, their limited season never fails to be action-packed.
“We are a family-run business. Everyone – from my father, brothers and sister – plays a role in providing our guests an extraordinary experience,” said Liz Ware, VP Marketing and Sales for Mission Point. “We bought the business 6.5 years ago because we had hospitality in our DNA. Our goal was to renovate this historic property and provide our guests extraordinary experiences that would build memories forever.”
“When COVID hit, we pivoted so many times, it was like we were doing pirouettes across the front lawn. There was a lot going on. Information was coming at us at warp speed. What you do with guests, staff, how do we operate a business – can we still operate a business?”
Mission Point, along with many businesses on the island, searched for answers to solve the immediate and long-term issues. “One of the advantages to working and living on the island is everyone plays an active part in the community. Everyone pulled together. Mackinac Island created a health taskforce, so members of the community – the mayor, city council members, health professionals, businesses and residences – all worked together to share best practices and resources. And that communication was really important.”
Flexibility has been key during a worldwide pandemic, and Mission Point has been determined to stay on top of this unpredictable curve. However, the hotel remained in need of assistance.
We Needed More
“We needed to know what was going on in Lansing. We were flooded with executive orders; MIOSHA was issuing restrictions daily. Can we open? To what capacity? What do we need to do to protect our staff, our guests and our community?”
Mission Point looked for help and the Michigan Chamber helped filter through the onslaught of information so the resort could open and do it the right way. The Chamber has a voice advocating for business in Lansing. They were connected with legislators, the governor’s office and have a diverse membership that allowed members to tap into their resource to learn how others were cooping and how to navigate through this storm.
“When you are a six-month business and you can only open for four months, it’s really hard. We needed and wanted to keep our staff employed, even when we were limited to the number of guests. There were a lot of expenses that were attributed to COVID that we had to take on,” Ware detailed. The cost of COVID business survival included temperature checking machines, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). The Chamber helped by providing a list of Michigan manufactures and suppliers to get product quickly.
To add on to the difficult times, associations and corporate events to weddings and family reunions – well, that all went away – gone. And it went away fast. “All those groups put deposits down and we made the decision to give their deposits back. A very tough time for all of us, but we did the right thing, because we are in the relationship business.”
Extraordinary Mackinac Island Experiences
“Our motto is extraordinary Mackinac Island experiences – we live by that. This is how you build relationships and when you do the right thing it will come back in the long run,” explained Ware.”
“What makes us so special is our culture. We have a team that is driven and goal ordinated,” continues Ware. “It all starts with our family that isn’t just my father, brothers and sisters, it’s all the staff around us. We are all passionate for the business and for our guests. You can’t have it any better than then to have a staff that deeply cares about our guests and understand the importance of creating extraordinary island experiences. We are proud of our team.”
A Year of Celebration
Mission Point knows first hand that the past year was really difficult. However this year, more so than ever, Mission Point is putting an extra emphasis on going that extra mile.
“We are about giving guests that extra attention, doing the unexpected, which makes all the difference in the world. People need a little extra love right now and it’s a great feeling when your team can deliver that,” said Ware.
Mission Point is ready to welcome guests back to an extraordinary island experience – 70 miles of hiking and biking trails, the beautiful Straits of Mackinac, the spectacular view of the bridge and a resort that will welcome them with open arms.
“Our team is in place and laughter and dancing has begun,” said Ware.
Start Your Extraordinary Mackinac Island Experience Today
Extraordinary Mackinac Island Experiences
On the sunrise side of Mackinac Island, where no cars or worries are allowed, sits Mission Point Resort – a place that transcends time. Poised on 18 acres overlooking the waters edge, Mission Point attracts travelers craving to reconnect with themselves, their passions and their surroundings
Mission Point's goal is to create Extraordinary Mackinac Island Experiences. It's the ideal location for family vacations, romantic getaways and spacious meeting place.
Your Room is Ready
Mission Point has 241 guest rooms, 72 of which have 2 bedrooms. All rooms are freshly renovated and ready for guests.
Meeting Rooms Galore
How about 38,000 square feet of meeting space including 14 breakout rooms, a full 300-seat vintage theater, a stunning lakefront pavilion and super cool team building activities.
Oh the View
Mission Point spans 18 acres of waterfront property on Lake Huron, creating an unparalleled setting for guests to savor life’s simple pleasures.
Every memorable story starts with a beautiful setting. Mission Point has been the backdrop for countless weddings, anniversaries, birthday celebrations, corporate milestones, family reunions and much more.