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Building a Culture of Service Excellence in SVG



by Mike Connell

Chairman, Bequia Tourism Association

Bequia is a tourist destination sought after by many visitors and yachties because of its authentic Caribbean charm, its relatively undeveloped and laid-back character, its personable and peaceful population, its beautiful beaches and safe harbor for yachting.{{more}}

Most of our accommodation has been in the form of small hotels, self catering apartments and rental homes, with a variety of restaurants, bars, shops and marine supply stores that deliver varying levels of service. While in the past many of these small establishments have been owner operated, expansion of these operations has resulted in many of them being run more by staff hired at various levels.

There seems to be not a great emphasis on staff training by these small establishments, and shortcomings in service are usually excused, given the natural friendliness of staff toward visitors.

Nevertheless, we need to recognize that in the face of increasing competition, some being run by professionals in the hospitality industry, we need to take advantage of the skills training and customer service workshops offered by the SVGHTA, the Ministry of Tourism or other regional tourism organizations to bring our level of service up a notch.

The range of services required to keep a tourist destination always appealing goes beyond just service at hotels and restaurants. It includes stepping up the services required to keep our roadsides and drains, beaches and waterfronts, public and private property and particularly our Ferry Port and harbor surrounds at a level of cleanliness and beautification worthy of a destination that we can be proud to promote and that visitors would want to return to.

We should not have to go with the foreign controlled mass tourism type of development to achieve this. We already have the components of the vacation that visitors seek after. Let us be good stewards of this Island by taking care of the little things that can make the difference.