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‘For our price point our service levels are not where they should be’, says BTA interim CEO

Improving standards: Tracy Berkeley, the interim chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (Photograph supplied)

The Bermuda Tourism Authority is to launch a new training programme to raise standards of service and encourage Bermudians into the industry.

Tracy Berkeley, the BTA’s interim chief executive said inconsistent standards of services were “an elephant in the room” which did not match-up to the price point of the island’s five-star resorts and restaurants.

Ms Berkeley also suggested that Bermudians were better equipped to provide high levels of customer care than foreign workers because they were native to the island.

Speaking with host Kim Swan on Magic 102.7’s Tourism In Focus radio programme yesterday, Ms Berkeley said: “I just came back from another island and I was fascinated by what I saw.

“Everybody that worked in the hotel or resort where I was at, they were all from that country. It didn’t matter if they were carrying my bags, checking me in, serving me dinner, serving me my drink, bringing me my beach towel – everybody was native to the island that I visited.

“I loved the fact that everywhere I went, the people that were dealing 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 to the island in a way that we don’t always offer our own visitors because not everybody in our industry is from here.

“That’s really the answer to that question – we have to start from scratch.”

Ms Berkeley said that she expected the sector to grow but that more needed to be done to recruit Bermudians into the industry.

She said: “Obviously over the course of the next few years there are going to be more positions in our industry than there are people to take on those positions. How do we get people interested in the industry again?”

Ms Berkeley said that other jurisdictions encouraged citizens to enter the industry from an early age.

She said: “Tourism is one of their main pillars and so everybody rallies around tourism in a way that we don’t. Tourism is an option early on, so when they’re young, they’re having these conversations at home.

“Through education programmes they’re having these opportunities to tap into what could be an industry for them in a way that we have not done – in a way that we’ve lost.

“Let’s be brutally honest. We’re not talking about this industry as one that is viable for our children or even for ourselves.

“We’ve lost our connection points at the primary school level, we’ve lost our connection points at the high school level.

“Parents are not talking to their children about getting into this industry – they’re talking to their children about getting into law and banking and insurance and underwriting, things like that.

“And so we really have to get back to the basics in terms of getting people excited about the industry.”

Ms Berkeley said that a new training programme would improve standards of hospitality on the island.

She said: “There is a recognition that, for our price point our service levels are not where they should be. I think we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room that the service level of our people is not where we would like it to be as compared to the price point of the hotels and restaurants and some of the other offerings that we have.

“We have to up our game and the tourism authority has some responsibility in augmenting that.

“We are currently building out an entire programme that we’re looking to get accredited – certification that you are going to go through a number of modules and it’s going to be a requirement for the industry.

“It is going to 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 go back to creating a baseline level of service expectations and we’re going to be doing that through our national service programme.

“I think everyone in our industry, anyone that services visitors – subsidiary industries anyone who has face-to-face time with visitors has an opportunity to upsell themselves as a person and us as a destination. It will be open to everyone.

“We’re not going to force everyone to take it but there’s going to be an expectation that if you’re entering this space, here’s an accredited service programme that you should be encouraged to take.”

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Published August 18, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated August 18, 2022 at 12:49 pm)

‘For our price point our service levels are not where they should be’, says BTA interim CEO

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