Hugh Riley

The Role of Guestpitality in the Hospitality Industry

As the world’s most tourism-dependent region the Caribbean has a responsibility to lead in the area of visitor satisfaction.  Caring more than anyone else in the world is an enviable badge of honour.

The time is right for destinations to devote more attention to satisfying current visitors, retaining them as repeats and encouraging them to become destination advocates.  In my previous post Honour thy guests, I highlighted why it is important to honour your guests in order to reap substantial benefits.

In essence, the Caribbean ought to be creating a reputation for service that is so excellent and an environment so welcoming, that it stimulates an emotional attachment and generates repeat visitors.  How can this be done?  To facilitate the process the CTO has introduced Guestpitality Total Visitor Satisfaction™, a system that enables stakeholders to quickly and easily measure the level of guest satisfaction in CTO member countries.  It also serves as a vibrant, consumer friendly reference for visitors who might be seeking a destination with a declared interest in customer satisfaction.

Guestpitality TVS™ uses a standardized survey instrument and the Tourist Satisfaction Model to scientifically measure seven key tourism-related areas with a rating between 0 and 100.  These seven key areas are Accommodation; Restaurants; Sites and Attractions; Shopping; Immigration and Customs; Safety and Security; Transport and Infrastructure.  Any destination scoring at least 75 in these areas and an overall score of at least 85, will be “Guestpitality TVS™ certified” and will be allowed to promote their status by using the certification badge on their marketing materials.  Each participating destination will also be featured on all Guestpitality consumer facing marketing efforts and on the official website.

How will Guestpitality TVS™ Certification benefit a destination?

It tells the world this destination focuses on high level visitor satisfaction. In light of increasing global competition, often from entities with enormous budgets and copious marketing resources, it is essential for each Caribbean destination to strive to provide the highest level of visitor satisfaction, ensuring that visitors’ expectations are exceeded by their actual experiences.  The good news is that visitors aren’t only impressed by extravagant infrastructure.  There will always be some international location with the world’s tallest hotel or the widest highway and the most traffic lights, but Caribbean destinations typically deliver a different type of visitor experience.  People remember how the Caribbean makes them feel.

 It aids in driving retention. High visitor satisfaction drives retention/loyalty prompting positive recommendations. Our research shows that each dissatisfied customer tells 15 or more people about a negative experience. Happy customers lead to loyal customers. Loyalty produces brand advocates for the Caribbean, influencing others to visit our region.

It’s an effective way to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. The hallmark of a good visitor satisfaction program is its authenticity.  The program should focus on visitors who had a personal, in-country experience.  Guestpitality TVS™ surveys visitors while they are still in the destination, so their views are firsthand and fresh in their memory.  This also gives the destination’s decision-makers the assurance that the scores are derived directly from genuine users of the product and not from a generic database.

It enhances destination competitiveness. To ultimately attain increased profits and boost economic growth through tourism, problem areas and areas of excellence will be highlighted and scientifically and reliably quantified.  The report generated from the assessment provides an effective destination marketing and management tool, focused on enhancing competitiveness and informing tourism policy. This type of valuable intelligence can arm a destination with a considerable competitive advantage over countries with little or no knowledge of how guests are using their products and services.

It helps to provide socio-economic benefits. At the macro level, a destination in possession of visitor preference details can parlay that information into greater social and economic benefits from tourism. Regardless of the score a destination attains, the surveys still produce valuable data on the types of visitors who tend to prefer particular vacation experiences.  At the micro level, businesses directly and indirectly linked to the tourism sector will also benefit through the multiplier effect.

The unique aspect about Guestpitality TVS™ is that it is the first and only program specifically created to help Caribbean destinations to garner improved visitor satisfaction levels and sustainable tourism development.  By surveying visitors while they are actually in the destination, this program provides a holistic assessment of a country’s tourism product, through the eyes of the visitor.  This valuable insight into visitor opinions and expectations can certainly be published elsewhere by visitors, often on websites that are viewed by millions of prospective travelers; but with Guestpitality TVS™ the much more focused and proprietary information has significant advantages for the specific countries surveyed.

By participating, a destination signs on to a regional initiative that raises the bar on attentive service offerings to visitors to the Caribbean, ensuring a sustainable future for the region’s hospitality industry.  Guestpitality places the guest first.  Without a guest, there is no hospitality!

For more information visit http://www.onecaribbean.org/our-work/total-visitor-satisfaction/