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BVI Works To Improve Standards For Service And Business Excellence

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, March 22, 2018…Assuring that guests to the British Virgin Islands have an excellent guest service experience is a high priority of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission (BVITB).  As a demonstration of that commitment, the Board has ensured that four of its employees were trained under the Hospitality Assured (HA) Programme; two as advisors and two as assessors.

Managing Consultant, Small Properties, Trefor Grant and Standards Manager, Vionie Pickering were certified as HA Advisors in 2016 and Annette B. Dalmida-Scatliffe, Executive Assistant to the Director of Tourism and Clive McCoy, Film Commissioner and Tourism Liaison Officer for Recovery, were certified as HA Assessors on March 16, 2018.

The Hospitality Assured Certification Programme was created by the Institute of Hospitality (U.K.) specifically for the tourism and hospitality sector to improve service quality. The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) owns the license to operate the programme in the region.  The programme’s overall objectives are to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement in the Caribbean, which are driven by international standards and certification, to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the region.

“The Board wants to have our properties, particularly the small ones, raise their standards of operations and service.  We found it fitting to invest in the training of officers in the Hospitality Assured as it is an internationally recognized programme and certifiable within the region,” said Director of Tourism, Mrs. Sharon Flax Brutus.  The Director further stated, “The training of these officers is in fulfillment of our objective to develop our staff, promote career growth and create a more dynamic and sustainable organization through succession planning.”

Mrs. Flax Brutus indicated that the next step in the process is to build awareness of the programme and its benefits, and the Board will be publicizing the programme and providing hospitality businesses with pertinent information on it to encourage them to be a part of same.  “Hospitality Assured looks at the entire operational system of a business and assures its efficient operation,” she added.

Hospitality Assured Certification promises customers that service excellence is guaranteed by the company offering the service.  The Hospitality Assured framework helps to improve quality standards on a continuous basis thereby improving overall business performance and competitiveness.  The HA standards enhances the business’ marketability, thus generating great Public Relations; and instills confidence in important travel intermediaries including travel agents and tour operators.

Any hospitality, leisure or tourism related organization is eligible for HA, regardless of size or composition. They only need to hold a desire to improve service to customers and to achieve operational and business excellence.

The role of Mr. Grant and Mrs. Pickering as Business Advisors is to offer impartial and objective guidance and support to meet the minimum requirements of the 9 steps within the Hospitality Assured framework. Their role is one of facilitation and coaching to help the business recognize its own strengths and areas for improvement.  Grant and Pickering have been actively encouraging businesses in the tourism industry, in particular the smaller indigenous properties to raise their operational and physical standards as part of the Board’s Standard Inspection and Training Programme.

As HA Assessors, Dalmida-Scatliffe and McCoy will be required to review the company’s performance with respect to meeting the requirements of the 9 steps and 44 criteria within the Hospitality Assured certification.

The Assessor, as a sole assessor or as part of a team of assessors provides an independent, unbiased evaluation of a business at the time of the visit and prepares a report, which is reviewed and approved by the CTO and CROSQ before forwarding to the client.  McCoy and Dalmida-Scatliffe are eager to get into action once local hospitality industry businesses decide to embark on the Hospitality Assured Programme.

Other programmes of the BVITB aimed at enhancing the visitor experience include the Standards Training and Inspections programme and the Guest Services Experience Training.  The former was piloted with select small properties with the aim of achieving minimum service standards as well as physical improvements to properties that can enhance the guest experience.  The Guest Service Experience Training is being done in collaboration with the Disney Institute under the One BVI Tourism Awareness Programme which has as its mantra, “Tourism is Everybody’s Business”.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Destination News, Hospitality Assured

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CTO Looks To Double The Number of Hospitality Assured Caribbean Businesses With Support From CDB

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (21 March, 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is looking to double the number of businesses recognised as Hospitality Assured (HA), the certification programme that promotes business and service excellence.

At present, 33 of the 80 tourism and hospitality businesses involved in the programme have been certified as Hospitality Assured, according to Sharon Banfield-Bovell, the regional human resource development consultant with the CTO, who along with Janice Smith-Kipps, an experienced HA assessor and trainer of HA assessors, recently conducted a regional HA programme assessor training workshop at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The aim is to raise the number of certified business this year by 30,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell said.

The assessor training workshop, the third of its kind, is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which has approved over USD$223,000 in support of the HA (Caribbean) certification programme, and which, through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, has been  promoting the HA programme as a key means to support the development of tourism quality, business excellence and customer service delivery in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially owner-managed businesses in the tourism sector.

“The CDB’s injection of funding support will allow for 30 micro, small or medium tourism enterprises in specific CDB borrowing member countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines – to participate in the HA certification programme and to achieve one of our strategic goals of strengthening the business performance and overall competitiveness of the tourism sector in the Caribbean,” Ms. Banfield-Bovell stressed.

The project will come to end in June this year and the CTO is encouraging tourism businesses to get onboard and fill the remaining 18 available spaces and seek to put in place an effective service quality management system, with the support of the programme’s key personnel, the business advisors and assessors.

At the opening of the St. Kitts workshop, Michel Thomas, the CBD’s operations officer, noted: “CDB fully supports the programme, as the Bank recognises the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs in the tourism sector, which plays an integral role in the social and economic development of a number of CDB Borrowing Member Countries”.

Twenty-one participants from 13 CTO member countries – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos Islands – participated in the five-day workshop, which was aimed at providing the necessary training to equip participants with the knowledge and performance requirements of HA assessors.

The assessors’ role includes evaluation of businesses, while maintaining commercial confidentiality; ensuring that assessments are undertaken in accordance with certification requirements; providing clear information to businesses in respect of areas for improvement; and clearly identifying best practice, which would benefit these businesses.

Permanent Secretary in the St. Kits Ministry of Tourism Carlene Henry-Morton reminded workshop participants that the initiative “is a service and business excellence programme designed to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognised.”

“Some of the real benefits of this designation are service excellence, customer loyalty and referrals, continuous improvement and international branding,” she said.

Hospitality Assured is a service quality management certification owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited, U.K. and developed specifically for the tourism sector, to promote and reward the highest levels of service and business excellence. Hospitality Assured in the Caribbean is managed and promoted by the CTO. Any hospitality, leisure, tourism or service-oriented organization is eligible for Hospitality Assured certification, be they large or small, single or multi-operational.

Posted in: 2018 News, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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Caribbean Development Bank supports CTO’s Service and Business Excellence Programme

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (25 July, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s continued efforts at promoting service and business excellence in the region’s tourism and hospitality sector has received a financial boost from the regional financial institution that focuses on harmonious economic growth and development in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network is providing US$223,312 in support of the two key components of the Hospitality Assured (HA) Caribbean certification programme managed by the CTO as part of its product development and service quality thrust.

The funds will be used to engage business advisors and assessors to help strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ten CDB borrowing member countries through the HA programme.

“Our region needs to boost its reputation for service and business excellence and pay attention to the overall visitor experience. The Hospitality Assured framework provides the tool to drive this effort,” said Bonita Morgan, the CTO’s director of resource mobilization and development, and the CTO official with overall responsibility for the HA programme.

“We are thankful to the CDB, through the CTCS Network, for supporting this effort to help Caribbean tourism businesses shore up their competitiveness.”

“For several Caribbean economies, tourism is an engine of growth, and MSMEs have the potential to make significant contributions to the sector. CDB is pleased to be supporting CTO in delivering the HA Caribbean certification programme, and deeply value the role it plays in helping regional MSMEs deliver an even higher quality product and experience in an increasingly competitive global tourism market,” said Darran Newman, acting division chief, technical cooperation division, CDB.

Over the next year 30 businesses in the ten countries – Anguilla, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Turks & Caicos Islands will receive technical assistance as well as assessment services through the CDB funding.

The regional lending institution’s support for HA dates back to 2014 when, through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund, managed by the Bank,  it provided funding support for six businesses in Grenada to participate in the certification programme.

Last year, CDB, through the CTCS network, provided financial support to conduct a week-long business advisors training workshop organized by the CTO to equip 15 business advisors to provide technical assistance to tourism-related businesses participating  in the HA certification programme.

CTCS is managed within CDB’s Technical Cooperation Division and operated in cooperation with regional and national institutions, laboratories, industrial enterprises, and consultants. It comprises a network of institutions and experts, and has as its primary aim, transferring knowledge, skills and technology to improve managerial and operational efficiency and competitiveness of MSMEs through the provision of technical assistance.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in the region.

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Corporate News, Hospitality Assured

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CTO Helps Strengthen Business Performance, Overall Competitiveness with Hospitality Assured

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 12, 2017) – As part of an on-going partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its Hospitality Assured (HA) certification programme, the European Union under its Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) programme last month hosted an HA Business Advisor Training Workshop at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce in Punda, Williemstaad, Curaçao. Participants came from the Curaçao Tourist Board, the Curacao Innovation & Technology Institute; and Creating Milestones, a management solutions company.

The main objectives of the workshop were:

  • To provide participants with an overview of the HA standards and processes and awareness of the Business Excellence framework;
  • To enable participants to manage and advise on the HA processes for client organisations which will enable these organisations to progress on their journey to excellence and to obtain HA certification;
  • To provide participants with a knowledge and understanding of the evidence requirements of Hospitality Assured; and
  • To provide participants with an opportunity to develop gender sensitive advisory approaches through the employment of case studies and role-play.

CTO began its journey with HA in 2007, seeking to strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of tourism enterprises in the Caribbean. CTO is in the process of building a network of advisors and assessors in member countries which are already involved in the HA programme – including  Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines – and is also seeking to extend the scheme to countries which have not yet started to roll out the programme but have indicated an interest in doing so this year. These include Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia and The Turks & Caicos Islands.

The HA programme endeavours to promote a culture of quality, service excellence and continuous improvement, through the use of a business improvement tool and framework that is internationally recognized, as a means to support customer service delivery in tourism enterprises.

The first task of the HA Programme for Curaçao was to train Business Advisors and to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work effectively with organisations and lead them through the detailed HA self-assessment process towards certification.

A series of introductory presentations delivered by the facilitators, Norma Shorey-Bryan and Sharon Banfield-Bovell, provided participants with a background to the HA programme, perspectives on the issues and challenges faced in the tourism sector in the Caribbean, and detailed information on what was required on the HA Journey to Excellence. Focus was also placed on helping participants to understand issues related to gender and gender sensitive advisory approaches in dealing with the HA clients. These discussions on gender came to the forefront in the case studies discussions and role plays that were part of the learning and feedback sessions.

The interactive approach used throughout the workshop was designed to encourage participants to share their experiences, perspectives and concerns, and to learn from each other. Presentations stimulated lively group discussions, which helped participants consider how to apply the concepts taught when working with client organisations in Curaçao. The workshop sessions included: presentations on fundamental topics like What is Excellence, Vision & Values, Business Planning Processes and Sharing Good Practices; introduction to each of the nine steps of the HA Model; role plays on case studies mirroring the operations in various types of tourism businesses; and other learning exercises linked to each of the nine steps.

By the end of the workshop, the participants had gained a deeper understanding of the structure of the HA framework and were aware of the key themes of Hospitality Assured. The detailed knowledge and understanding will be further taken in as they apply the model to real life situations as they work with small, medium and large sized businesses in Curaçao’s tourism and hospitality sector.

About Hospitality Assured

Hospitality Assured is an internationally recognized certification, owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the U.K., managed and operated by the Hospitality Limited U.K. trading as Hospitality Assured and licensed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) for use in the Caribbean as “The Standard for Service and Business Excellence in Caribbean Tourism.”

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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Regional Hospitality Assured Workshop gets under way in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, 5 Sept, 2016 –  A week-long training advisers workshop on tourism business excellence opened in Barbados this morning.

The 5-9 September workshop is being organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) to sharpen participants’  business advisory skills so they can provide technical assistance to Caribbean tourism businesses  which will participate  in the Hospitality Assured Certification Programme.

Nineteen participants from 13 CTO member countries are attending the workshop, which is being held with funding support from the Caribbean Development Bank through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network and the European Union’s Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME).

“We are proud of the partnerships we have formed over the years with regional and international organizations such as the Caribbean Development Bank and the Institute of Hospitality, which make it possible for the CTO to provide services such as this for our members and for the region,” Hugh Riley, CTO’s secretary general said.

“We are driven by our emphasis on human capital development, our responsibility to help reduce the region’s unemployment, and our laser-like focus on consistently improving the quality of the experience the Caribbean offers to its visitors. This workshop seems to me to be relevant to all of those aspects.”

The workshop, which will be facilitated by John Burchell of Hospitality Assured in the United Kingdom, with assistance from Norma Shorey Bryan, a trained Barbadian business advisor, precedes the region’s premier tourism gathering, the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), where those issues will be tackled. SOTIC takes place in Barbados from14-16 September.

Hospitality Assured is a certification programme promoting service and business excellence in tourism and hospitality companies.  It is owned by the Institute of Hospitality in the United Kingdom, and managed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in the region.

Posted in: 2016 News, Blog, Hospitality Assured

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