Written by Adriana Serna, Director of Communications, CHTA
The viability and growth of any service-based company lies firmly on the shoulders of the people that provide that service. In few industries does the quality of the staff have such a direct impact on the bottom line as it does in the hospitality and tourism industry. According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report, an actively engaged, empowered, well trained and supervised employee is more likely to improve customer relationships, resulting in a 20% increase in sales. Satisfied and well-trained employees are 31% more productive and lead to 12% increase in a hotel’s profitability. It is then no surprise that hotels with an ingrained culture of education and positive engagement experience 24% less turnover.
New President’s Focus
These facts do not escape CHTA’s recently installed President Patricia Affonso-Dass who places people development as a key focus of her presidency. “Today’s successful owners and managers recognize the incredible strength of Caribbean people to create memorable experiences, deliver exceptional service and drive referrals and repeat business. Our challenge as owners and operators is to shape and harness the power of our people. Investments in developing, training and recognizing our people yield ongoing returns and should never be underestimated” according to CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass.
The Case of the Caribbean
A recent study performed by Springboard Caribbean (CHTA Strategic Educational Partner) in February 2018, undertook the task of understanding the training and development needs of managers and supervisors in the Caribbean Hospitality Industry. This study carried out in a number of prominent Caribbean nations revealed that homegrown employees who perform well at an operational level have no difficulty in being promoted into supervisory positions. However, many of these new supervisors receive no formal supervisory or management training and consequently are given little opportunity to advance further.
Furthermore, access to professional development opportunities is limited due to the lack of time off for training and development purposes as well as the cost of these opportunities. The study identified the core set of skills, knowledge and abilities that are often missing, but are essential, for new and existing supervisors and managers, to make a real contribution to their business and to grow and advance their careers.
CHTA Helps Bridge the Gap
It is clear that in order to create significant and long lasting change; the commitment to people development needs to start at the top. Continuing education needs to become part of the Caribbean hospitality culture, as essential to its operations as cost management and marketing practices. Hoteliers must not only make the training opportunities accessible to employees at all levels, but also invest the time to make these trainings mandatory.
Recognizing the need for greater focus by CHTA on education and training, in 2016 CHTA created a ‘People Development Initiative’. Chaired by Patricia, its purpose is to bolster those initiatives which CHTA is already offering while placing greater organizational focus on education, training and professional development, working with National Hotel and Tourism Associations, member companies and education and training partners to develop and deliver more opportunities for the industry. Here’s an overview of some of CHTA’s current people development initiatives.
“Tourism has brought unprecedented opportunities to our shores, uplifting our people, opening new career paths and creating new entrepreneurs. All of this is underpinned by the professionalism of our people and their commitment to excel. We ask Caribbean hoteliers to keep focus on the vital role that people play in the tourism industry and the profound opportunity for growth that the industry can have on our Caribbean people. The development of our most valuable resource is intrinsically tied to the growth and success of our region.” states CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass.