“For our price, our service levels are not where they should be,” says BTA’s interim CEO – The Royal Gazette
Created: August 18, 2022 07:59
Improving standards: Tracey Berkeley, acting CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (Photograph provided)
The Bermuda Tourism Authority will launch a new training program to raise service standards and encourage Bermudians to enter the industry.
BTA acting CEO Tracy Berkeley said inconsistent service standards were “an elephant in the room” that didn’t match the price of five-star hotels and restaurants on the island.
Ms Berkeley also suggested that Bermudians were better equipped to provide high levels of customer service than foreign workers because they were native to the island.
Speak with host Kim Swan on Magic 102.7 Focus on tourism On a radio broadcast yesterday, Ms Berkeley said: ‘I have just returned from another island and was mesmerized by what I saw.
“Everyone who worked at the hotel or resort that I was at was all from this country. It didn’t matter if they were carrying my luggage, checking me in, serving me dinner, serving me my drink, brought my beach towel – everyone was from the island I visited.
“I loved that everywhere I went, the people who dealt with me – first of all they looked like me – but they were all from there and so they were able to give me insight and nuance. of the island in a way that we don’t always offer our own visitors because not everyone in our industry is from here.
“That’s really the answer to that question – we have to start from scratch.”
Ms Berkeley said she expected the sector to grow but said more needed to be done to recruit Bermudians into the industry.
She said: “Obviously over the next few years there will be more jobs in our industry than there will be people to fill those jobs. How do you get people interested in the industry again?”
Ms Berkeley said other jurisdictions encourage citizens to enter the industry at an early age.
She said: “Tourism is one of their main pillars and so everyone is coming around to tourism in a way that we don’t. Tourism is an option early on, so when they’re young, they have these conversations at home.
“Through the education programs, they have these opportunities to tap into what could be an industry for them in a way that we haven’t – in a way that we have lost.
“Let’s be brutally honest. We don’t talk about this industry as a viable industry for our children or even for ourselves.
“We lost our connection points at the primary level, we lost our connection points at the high school level.
“Parents don’t talk to their kids about getting into this industry – they talk to their kids about getting into law, banking, insurance and underwriting, things like that.
“And so we really have to go back to basics to get people interested in the industry.”
Ms Berkeley said a new training program would improve hospitality standards on the island.
She said: “It is recognized that, for our price, our service levels are not where they should be. I think we have to recognize the elephant in the room that the level of service from our employees is not what we would like it to be compared to the price of hotels and restaurants and some of the other offerings we have .
“We need to up our game and the tourism authority has some responsibility for increasing that.
“We are currently developing a comprehensive program which we are seeking accreditation – certification that you will go through a number of modules and that will be an industry requirement.
“It will be a baseline industry standard. There will be a number of modules to help us speak with the same language and the same voice.
“What we need to do is get back to creating a base level of service expectation and we are going to do that through our national service program.
“I think everyone in our industry, anyone who serves visitors – subsidiary industries, anyone who has face-to-face time with visitors has the opportunity to sell themselves as a person and us as a destination. It will be open to everyone.
“We are not going to force everyone to take it, but it will be expected that if you enter this space, here is an accredited service program that you should be encouraged to take.”