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Jamaica hotels told to focus on "human touch"

  • 04-Jul-12 11:10
  • Jamaica
  • Caribbean News Now

During the last Caribbean Summit and Outlook Seminar held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, last month, the regional vice president of Choice Hotels International stressed the value and importance of Jamaica hotels' constant interaction with guests, both during and after their stay. He urged hotel managers to recognise the value of the human touch to enhance guests' Jamaica holidays and overall experience.

Jamaica hotels told to focus on "human touch"

A hotelier and executive from a leading international hospitality company has addressed hotels in Jamaica by telling them to focus on the human aspect of dealing with guests at a time when consumers are bombarded with media portraying glitzy hotel properties, immaculate grounds, pools and gardens and seductive sea views of oceanfront properties.

Bill Clegg of Choice Hotels International said that the human touch is a key component of creating memorable visits for tourists enjoying Jamaica holidays and a major contributor to the successful operation of a hotel property.

Clegg made this revelation during the Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar recently held in Montego Bay last month. Speaking on the panel "People to People: The Importance of Service and Value" revealed that there were at least 11 “touch points” through which each guest interacts with a hotel in one way or another.

 Jamaica Beach Hotels and Resorts
Image by: IDEE_PER_VIAGGIARE, on Flickr

As the Regional vice president for brand performance and programmes, Mr Clegg made strong emphasis on the importance of these “touch points” and not only being aware of them but recognising them from "the start of on-line research to actually making reservations, from the van on the way to the hotel, through check-in, and even as they encounter housekeeping, grounds, restaurant, and other staff during their stay."

In order to make the whole Jamaica holiday experience more interactive for guests and hotels in Jamaica, he stressed the crucial value of each staff member, reminding them how the human touch, whichever staff member it may come from, has a significant and long-lasting effect on holidaymakers.

"Each encounter a guest has with a member of the hotel staff presents itself as an opportunity to create a memorable moment. Each of us has a spark of hospitality within us -- it's how we all build on that spark, as team members at every hotel that will ensure guests recognise and appreciate our commitment to hospitality and guest satisfaction."

He added that this “human touch” had to be enhanced with constant training among hotel staff while the use of social media also presented many new opportunities for Jamaica hotels to track the levels of value and satisfaction they offered to guests and ensure high levels of customer satisfaction were attained.

 Jamaica Beach Hotel and Resorts
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

“Owners and managers of Caribbean hotels must ensure that they establish and communicate, train and retrain, on specific points of hospitality. Extending a cool towel and cold beverage after the ride from the airport, greeting each guest whom we pass within 10 feet, calling all guests soon after check-in to ensure that the room meets their needs, leaving brief thank-you notes after tips are left in the guestroom, and sincere e-mails or written notes after departure -- these should be the norm, the baseline, at every hotel in the region."

On the social media aspect of communicating with customers he called on hotel managers to follow up with customers after their holidays in Jamaica had come to an end and exhorted them to post and review the comments that guests made through online travel and feedback sites, the customer relations departments and through the Choice hotels insight system, at least once a week.

On a final note he added that the average guest staying at Choice Caribbean hotels is no stranger to hotel rooms and is well informed about their choices. “They hold their past experiences up as examples, and we must seek to meet or exceed what they've experienced in the past, in this unique and wonderful destination called the Caribbean!"

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