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Caribbean Tourism Bodies Endorse Secrets

Published:Monday | February 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Maxine Petgrave (second left), a laundry attendant at Secrets Resorts and Spas in Montego Bay, collects her keys to her 2015 Suzuki Celerio from Andrea Allie-Thorpe, human resources director. Looking on are Emilio Huhn (second right), general manager of the hotel, and Deryk Meany, resident manager.

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the region's most influential industry bodies, have given their strong endorsement to the management of the Montego Bay-based Secrets Resorts and Spas, for their innovative approach to rewarding an employee each year with a new car.

The endorsements have come from Hugh Riley, CTO's secretary general, and Frank Comito, CEO/director general of the CHTA.

Riley said the car was a substantial incentive and an indication that Secrets Resorts holds its staff in high esteem and also expects a great deal of them.

"That's a pretty big one," said Comito. "I am aware of other resorts in the region that have large incentive programmes, but I have never heard of any giving away new cars," Comito confirmed.

Riley believes this gesture can impact industry staff locally and regionally. "Staff need to be recognised for excellence. In the tourism sector, which is the lifeblood of most of the Caribbean, employers are well advised to ensure that their staff are properly trained and have the right attitude for success in this vital industry. This is where the Caribbean can excel in this extremely competitive business. Our competitors in developed countries might have bigger marketing budgets and more elaborate structures, but they should never beat us on excellent, caring hospitality," Comito noted.


He added that if we are the most tourism-dependent region in the world, we must care more than anyone else in the world about the business we're in. Companies that help their employees to excel at delivering a superb experience to their customers deserve respect and support.

In giving his charge to Secrets Resorts, as well as other regional industry players, Riley is encouraging all to continue to train, reward and elevate their staff at all levels.

"When they excel, use them as examples for the whole world to see. Feature them in the media, on websites, in the company newsletters, on billboards, at airports and public places, in schools on career days; and introduce them to your most valued guests. Make them proud of the contribution they are making to their own development and to the high-quality image of the society in which they live," he said.

Riley asserts that well-managed programmes of this type help to raise the bar for the particular facility and for the entire industry. "The winning employees become shining examples for others to follow. They also generate profits. The power of information technology helps prospective customers to find establishments that offer a superb experience and treat their staff well. Happy employees produce loyal customers."