Accommodations take on PRIDE

A benchmark assessment has been done in conjunction with the Department and Ministry of Tourism PRIDE project based on the behavioural side of the visitor experience.

Caribbean Tourism Day PRIDE breakfast

At the Caribbean Tourism Day PRIDE breakfast Tuesday morning, from left: Director of Tourism Pilar Bush, Cayman PRIDE team members Katie Lock, Darren Zucker and Daphine Watson and DoTs Deputy Director Tourism Product Development Sharon Banfield. Photo: Cliodhna McGowan

The Top 10 behavioural promises were formulated in conjunction with the private sector. Then a mystery shopping exercise was done in which analysts visited the islands and assessed service levels solely based on the Top 10 behavioural promises across 19 sectors and sub-sectors of tourism.

The accommodation sector’s results were second, tying with Immigration at 81 per cent, behind airport dispatchers at 85 per cent.

Within the accommodations sector the most commonly achieved promises were: telephone calls answered within five rings using proper salutation, at 100 per cent; employees offering accurate, relevant information when appropriate and made suggestions as needed, 96 per cent.

The most commonly missed promises in the sector were: customers were acknowledged verbally or visually, at 67 per cent; employees who receive customer complaints listens, apologise and agree to solutions with customer, 58 per cent; and customers’ names were used when known, 50 per cent.

According to the FreemanGroup, a hospitality training and measurement group, a target score of 80 per cent and above is desirable because this demonstrates a possible intent to recommend and return while 90 to 100 represents a positive intent to return.

PRIDE, which stands for Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence, can bridge the gap from where an accommodation is now to where it needs to be through a variety of tools and training.

The assessment results were revealed at a special Caribbean Tourism Day PRIDE breakfast hosted by the Ministry and Departments of Tourism for their tourism partners at the Hyatt Tuesday.

Right now the PRIDE team is developing a plan to meet with each of the 56 partners that had actual assessments done to share the results.

Then, geared specifically at the accommodations sector, there will be an in-depth mystery shopping done using a quality inspection checklist.

The mystery shopping in the accommodation sector will be complete by next April and as the season winds down the Foundations and Practices Training starts from April to June with Promises training beginning from next March.

This training was planned specifically for this time to avoid peak season.

Foundations workshops are two and a half day intense interactive workshops geared towards managers. These workshops can take 12 employees at a time.

‘Everyone will agree that we don’t put enough ongoing training efforts into our businesses, turning our staff into really, really valuable exceptional ambassadors,’ said Project Manager of the Cayman PRIDE team Darren Zucker.

Workshops are free.

Practices takes the Foundations workshops one step further as it helps develop an employee training team.

Promises workshops are one-day workshops for everyone, including frontline employees and involves 20 trainees. They focus on the 10 behavioural promises. ‘They are designed to motivate staff and embrace the whole philosophy of taking personal responsibility,’ said Mr. Zucker.

Standards of Performance manuals will also be available.

The accommodations sector manual details standards of performance for every single job in a hotel, from housekeeping to front desk.

The Destination Advisory Programme is the development of collateral and it integrates the PRIDE initiative into the tourism industry and indeed to the entire community. Know your Cayman Islands handbook is in development right now. It will be a free tool to all employees so they know about culture and heritage of the islands.

‘We are completely reliant on your participation and unless you embrace this programme, work with us as the partners that we actually are, we will still make strides, but we will never realise the full potential of the benefits that Cayman PRIDE can bring to this island as a whole so I ask you to embrace this programme,’ Mr. Zucker said.

Director of Tourism Pilar Bush said that although across the board meals and room rates are not more expensive than Cayman Free Press Ltd. s competition, somehow the visitor will come here and perceive the experience to be not as intrinsically valuable as a similar experience in another Caribbean island where the price point is on par. Part of the problem is inconsistent service. ‘We deliver good service across the board, but we’re inconsistent.’

What we want to happen when people walk away, she said, ‘. . . is to say, ‘You know what, I paid a little more for that but it was absolutely awesome and I would do it again tomorrow’.’

Ms Bush explained that through an integrated marketing approach even non-tourism businesses will be encouraged to understand the basic PRIDE promises for their interactions with tourists.

Comments from the floor included the request that taxi drivers be prioritised in this training.

Ms Bush noted that a harder line in general is to be taken with the taxi drivers, and public transport training will end up in year two of the PRIDE programme.

Any business that can help with the donation of training space for any of the PRIDE training programmes please call Mr. Zucker at 526-1302.

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