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OAS hosts two-day workshop for hoteliers

OAS hosts  two-day workshop for hoteliers

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Owners and operators of small hotels in St Vincent and the Grenadines were schooled on how to improve the quality of service they provide at their hotels, at a two-day workshop last week.{{more}}

The workshop, dubbed “Achieving Service and Business Excellence for Small Hotels”, was held on June 18 and 19 and was a collaborative effort of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA).

It focused on training standards, branding and specific marketing strategies. It also provided participants the opportunity to access information as it relates to service quality, the culture of hospitality and how these elements support overall competitiveness.

At the closing ceremony held on Wednesday, many participants spoke of the usefulness of the sessions to their businesses.

Manager of Paradise Beach Hotel Neroy Sam stated that he has learned the importance of creating and setting standards for one’s business, as well as being consistent with them.

“The training has been extremely fruitful and thought provoking,” he said.

“From this, I think that participants…learned enough to take back to their properties to improve the standard of their hotel”.

Garfield McIntosh, supervisor of the Bequia Beach Hotel, thinks that the workshop will help him to implement structure into his establishment.

“When you make promises to a guest, it is very important that you deliver it when they come to your hotel,” McIntosh said.

Managing director of Nibbs and Associates and facilitator Shirlene Nibbs urged participants to focus on the topics discussed and implement them in their businesses.

“It is very important in the business of small hotels that we focus on our customer service delivery [and] what is the product that we are offering,” she said. “You’re going to have to spend and invest time in training and development”.

Nibbs explained that training employees is essential in building the standards of a hotel, as they are the ones that will be interacting with guests and helping to build a brand.

“It’s about the experience that a person has when they interact with your property that will determine the brand. Your brand is that story that your company, that your hotel will tell. You want people to leave your organization and tell others about you. Your brand will determine your business success and will be converted to dollars and cents and to profit”.

Local OAS representative Melene Glynn echoed the sentiments of Nibbs as she highlighted the importance of developing a brand for one’s hotel and maintaining that particular standard.

“Excellence in all areas of your business allows the supply of a quality product, and quality service to your customers is a standard you must continually strive for as tourism stakeholders. If St Vincent and the Grenadines is to maintain and increase its share in our competitive, globalized environment, it must continuingly seek to enhance, diversify and even reinvent its product in order to continue attracting visitors to these shores,” Glynn stated.

Furthermore, she observed that if an individual is not satisfied with the product, they are not only unlikely to return, but will deter others from coming as well.

“You must have a keen eye for issues, concerns and even events that might discourage your customers,” Glynn said.

“While some customers make speak and highlight for you the issues that they have…others will not. Others will simply observe and not return. They may share their concerns through one of the many social media channels which may create issues for you…or they may simply cast their vote on the quality of your establishment, through their cheque book”.

The workshop was an initiative of the OAS Sustainable Tourism Program, under the auspices of the “Small Tourism Enterprise Network (STEN) Project”, which focuses on improving the competitiveness of small and medium tourism enterprises. It was the third in a series of workshops that OAS has been hosting around the Eastern Caribbean.(BK)

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