Hospitality programme a boon but needs funds
The Hospitality Assured Certificate Programme launched over a year ago in Barbados is in need of funding.
Despite this, however, Bonita Morgan, human resource director of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) – one of the partners, said this would not stop them from including more countries in the customer experience-enhancement programme and attract companies from outside the hospitality and tourism sector to get certified.
So far, 13 countries have signed up for the programme, which was launched in Barbados in May 2011, and 11 of them are yet to submit their portfolio for external assessment.
To be certified, companies need to obtain a score of 50 per cent or more in each of ten areas and finish with an overall average of 60 per cent or more. Companies have to recertify every two years, since the emphasis is on continuous improvement.
“We have slowed down a little bit in terms of activities and the reason for that is because we are trying to find some funding to support businesses and incentivize them to come on board.
“There is a cost attached to participation, and what we have been doing is trying to find a way to meet those costs halfway,” said Morgan.
She added that some companies understood the importance of the programme and were willing to pay the full fee.
Atlantis Submarines and the Accra Beach Hotel have already received their external assessment and certifications.
The programme is a service quality-management system. It provides a framework for companies to look at their own operations from the customer’s perspective to see where improvements should be made to enhance the customer experience and strengthen business performance.
During the launch of the programme here, the CTO, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association and National Initiative for Service Excellence signed a memorandum of understanding.
It was originally open to businesses within the tourism sector. However, recognizing its success, Morgan said they would be extending it to other services sectors.
“We would call it a certification that promotes service and business excellence, [and] it can be used as well beyond the tourism sector.
“So this year you will see us working with all the countries . . . [to] see if they want to expand it to other businesses in other sectors as well,” said Morgan, noting that Trinidad had already taken the initiative. (MM)