It was a case of second time lucky for Mark Nelson of Majestic at the 2012 Cayman Islands Tourism Association Stingray Awards.
“I had been nominated in 2011, but didn’t win,” he recalled. “But my wife was saying, do not worry because she had confidence. It was a little bit tense because of last year. Then, there was only one other person nominated and this year there were two more, so it was tighter.”
Nonetheless, he added, he was “overwhelmed” to win, finding it a bit of a shock.
“I almost broke out in tears. I represent the company and tourism is Cayman’s biggest industry, so we do our best to give people what they want and provide great customer service. The Stingray Award means a lot.”
Mr. Nelson has been doing his job of driving buses and serving as a tour guide since 2006, initially on a part-time basis then full-time since 2010. Prior to that he worked as a steward then a chef on the line at the Marriott.
“Chef is a good job but you don’t get to see people and do new things,” Mr. Nelson said.
“I love to meet people and experience new things. I even sing for the guests, a bit of Bob Marley. Once you are on the microphone and you say good morning then you know what kind of crowd they are,” he mused.
And Mr. Nelson knows more than most about that side of matters; he is also a producer of musical artists including Synergy, who have been seen on Jamaica TV in the past.
In the future, he added, he would like to develop his career in the hospitality industry further, even one day owning his own tour company.
“There is lots of competition out there, but I am looking forward to doing that, perhaps in five years or so. I would also like to make a vacation house on the beach to attract tourists. I have plenty ideas and I am going to try and make them work. Sitting down is not my game. I get out there and do something.
“My advice to anyone wanting to get into the industry is to get to work on time, try to the best of your ability,” he said. “Remember to smile, eye contact is very important. Guests need to feel special and at home.”