With vacation hotspots from around the world competing for business, the Caribbean cannot “rest on its laurels,” asserted Karolin Troubetzkoy, First Vice President and President-elect of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association in a recent press release.
The St. Lucia hotelier who owns and operates the award-winning Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain with husband Nick, observed, per the release, “The global tourism market is growing rapidly,” which is stirring up that competition.
Troubetzkoy explained how efforts to woo travelers are crucial to the very survival of the region, stating, “Tourism is by far the biggest sector of our economies in the Caribbean and we ought to ensure our hotels and other visitor facilities continue to improve because our people rely on revenue from the sector for education, health, culture and environmental conservation,” according to the release.
But where to begin in the quest to refresh, renew and get business?
The answers to these questions were revealed over the weekend at the inauguralCaribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), held in Puerto Rico, where Troubetzkoy was a speaker.
Troubetzkoy stated, per the release, “CHIEF has astutely identified three areas we should be focusing on: operations, sales and marketing, and the need to go green.”
And she unpacked each of these elements.
Recruiting and training the right staff are keys to operations success, Troubetzkoy contended in the release. “The personal touch is one of the most important elements. A tourist who connects positively, even on a perfunctory level, with at least one staff member, has a very high chance of returning.”
According to the release, she also feels it is crucial to ask, “Are we delivering the Caribbean dream and are we maximizing the guest experience to increase repeat visitation?”
To excel from a sales and marketing perspective, Troubetzkoy urges hoteliers to pay attention to guest reviews. “If you receive a negative review, embrace it, reply quickly and explain how you can use their experience as a teaching opportunity,” she said in the release.
Positive reviews give the hotel an opportunity to tell their story and engage in “effective public relations, advertising and social media strategies,” according to Troubetzkoy, per the release.
Lastly, Troubetzkoy highlighted the importance of renovations and “going green” in the release, stating, “The Caribbean is a maturing market so it is important to refurbish and renovate hotels and resorts,” she said. “As we do so, we must use the occasion to go more green and see the return on investment increase.”