The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, is utilising the Hospitality Assured (Caribbean) Certification programme to significantly improve service quality standards and build a culture of service and business excellence in the region’s micro, small and medium-sized operations (MSMEs) in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Through the provision of US$223,312.00, over a one year period, the CDB is supporting 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 majority of funds are being used to contract business advisors, who provide technical assistance to participating businesses, and also to support assessors, to help strengthen the business performance and overall competitiveness of thirty (30) tourism-related micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in ten (10) CDB borrowing member countries (BMCs) through the implementation of the Hospitality Assured Caribbean programme.
The 10 beneficiary countries are Anguilla, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three (3) to five (5) businesses from each of the beneficiary countries will be accommodated in this programme, which commenced in June 2017 and will end in June 2018.
To date, Guyana, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines collectively have 10 businesses actively involved in the programme: 2 taxi companies, 3 tour activity businesses and 5 accommodation providers.
The funding will also be used to conduct a workshop to train 18 suitably qualified persons from specific CDB borrowing member countries to become Hospitality Assured assessors and to support this essential aspect of the programme.
The Hospitality Assured Journey and Key Benefits
The process to achieve Hospitality Assured recognition is rigorous. It takes into account customer opinion and considers all aspects of service from the customers’ point of view. It is an ongoing process that provides a series of performance indicators against which an organisation can continually judge and measure itself. The Standard for Service and Business Excellence is made up of nine steps that form the customer circle of improvement.
The nine key steps are:
- Customer Research
- The Customer Service Promise
- Business Leadership & Planning
- Operational Planning & Standards of Performance
- Resources (people, equipment, facilities)
- Training and Development
- Service Delivery
- Service Recovery
- Customer Satisfaction Improvement
These steps are made up of 44 key requirements or criteria. These are all measurable objectives. The standard does not lay down precisely how objectives will be met – they will vary from one business to another.
The key benefits of participating in the Hospitality Assured programme include:
- Improved service quality standards;
- Well-developed service ideals, values and principles that support a culture of excellence;
- Increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty;
- Increased market share;
- Improved staff morale;
- Great public relations and a strong marketing tool;
- Recognition by peers in the industry;
- Benchmarking data provided for comparison purposes; and
- Continuous improvement through re-certification every 2 years.
Any hospitality, leisure or tourism organisation is eligible for the Hospitality Assured programme, be they large or small, single or multi-unit, as long as they hold a desire to improve service to customers and to achieve operational and business excellence.
The Hospitality Assured programme is supported by trained business advisors who provide technical assistance to participating businesses, as well as trained assessors who go into the businesses and determine whether they have met the criteria to be able to receive the Hospitality Assured certification.
For a business/organization to be eligible for this CDB funded HA programme, it must meet the following requirements:
- Be a micro, small or medium-sized leisure, hospitality or tourism business from one of the 10 participating countries;
- Be registered, licensed/certified to operate as a business in your country;
- Be operational for at least a year;
- Have 50 employees or less, or in the case of accommodation providers 50 rooms or less; and
- Hold a desire to improve service to customers and to achieve operational and business excellence.
Steps in the Hospitality Assured Process
The key steps that CTO follows in the Hospitality Assured certification process are:
- Verifies that your company is registered and licensed/certified at the national level.
- Sends the Application Form for Hospitality Assured Certification to be completed and returned to CTO.
- Sends an invoice for 50% of the administrative costs. This cost is determined by the number of full-time and part-time staff employed by your business.
- Awaits payment of 50% of the administrative cost by the business.
- Assigns a Business Advisor to your business.
- Sends a copy of the Self-Review Pack and the Hospitality Assured Introduction Pack to your business.
- Requests second half of the total administrative cost before the assessment takes place.
- Organises the Assessor’s visit.
- Reviews Assessor’s Report in conjunction with our partners Hospitality Limited U.K. and provide feedback to the business regarding their status.
Currently, there are seventy-eight (78) Caribbean businesses involved in the Hospitality Assured programme in the region from the following countries: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Should you have any questions or queries regarding the CDB funded Hospitality Assured (Caribbean) Certification programme or wish to indicate your interest in participating in our programme, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.