warning for hoteliers

Adapt or get left behind!


A radical shift is taking place in tourism globally, and players in the local sector are being told they have to adapt if they are to remain in business.
The advice has come from the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Sue Springer. Her comments came as she delivered the remarks at the BHTA’s Fourth Quarterly General Meeting, held earlier this week at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. 
She contended that the only constant is change, and so it is imperative those in the industry understand that the traveller is changing and evolving. Springer added that because tourists now have more options, are more sophisticated and have access to technology which provides instant gratification and information, players in the sector have to become creative. 
“The balance of power is shifting and not in the favour of the business, but the traveller; the customer is king! To stay alive in the new paradigm we have to adapt and change and to survive we have to adjust our value proposition.  It is now about the entire destination experience and the strongest key to this experience is confident, inspired, talented empowered individuals who can deliver the unforgettable memories,” she stated.
Springer made the point as she noted that the tourism industry today is a launch pad of greater things to come and it requires original thinkers and it demands courage to make that change.
“Sitting on a beach sipping a rum punch is amazing but it no longer satisfies the traveller today, there is more to Barbados and our visitors want to see it, experience it, live it and feel it.  We must highlight the elements and the people that distinguish our island from anywhere else.  We must think beyond what we have traditionally valued and look inwardly both literally and figuratively… Foreign investment is necessary and more often than not is good for the island, however local knowledge and the human capital is what humanises all this concrete and development. Innovative service, standards that distinguish our product with a credo to simply exceed expectations, surprise and delight and to be creative problem solvers that lead with confidence and competence is the order of the day,” she said.
Springer added, “Do we see value in what is ours, what we make, how we serve [and] the things we build?  Are we willing to do what it takes to meet and exceed international standards in preparing for a better future? Some people may question this and say that we have always given such service, but let us be honest - do we still give that level of service and do we invest in our human capital?”
With that in mind, the outgoing BHTA CEO said now more than ever there must be a strong resolve for a spirit of collaboration within both the public and private sectors. Such collaboration, she suggested, will foster mutual respect that can help lasting development and will be the foundation of our success. (JRT)

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