THE CARIBBEAN (Sept. 24, 2015) – The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) has revealed the nine companies that are vying for top honors for the inaugural “CHIEF Awards” honoring member hotels and tourism-related enterprises for best practices in Business Operations, Sales & Marketing and Sustainable Practices. Winners will be announced at the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) Oct. 2-4, 2015 at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico.
Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Spa & Beach Resort will be representing the island after judges narrowed down the 29 nominated companies to three finalists for each of the three categories.
CHTA members can view the finalists’ documents, submissions and lessons learned on the CHTA website http://chtachiefawards.weebly.com.
“We have witnessed extreme forward-thinking from the 29 companies who submitted making it difficult for the judging panel to narrow down to the nine finalists,” said Emil Lee, president of CHTA. “We look forward to meeting these nine finalists so that those in attendance at CHIEF can hear their best tourism industry practices and learn how they can be implemented at their respective properties,” Lee added.
Finalists in the Business Operations category are judged on best practices in one of the following topics: Use of Technology to Improve Operations; Use of Benchmarks to Achieve Operational Goals; Effective Human Resource Practices; Improving Customer Service & Guest Satisfaction; and Multi-tasking. The Business Operations finalists, along with a description of their nominated programs, are:
* Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas – Their entry “Implementing Event Planning Technology to Create Efficiencies and Reduce Costs” highlights how the resort implemented technology to streamline processes and eliminate paper used in high volume event planning from start to finish. The resort measures its success by the flawless execution of an event, the increased amount of events per year due to efficiency and resources saved in the events programs.
* Memories Grand Bahamas Beach & Casino Resort, Bahamas – The resort focused on “Effectively Using Data and Customer Feedback to Improve Guest Satisfaction” for their submission. The resort is committed to its number one priority of offering the best possible “Customer Service and Guest Satisfaction.” To meet this goal, the resort developed a feedback report from multiple mediums that is presented at the weekly operational management meeting. As a result, the team puts into action corrective measures to meet and satisfy the guests’ demands which have translated into growing CSQ scores
* Sandals Grand St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, St. Lucia – The resort’s entry focused on “Developing Strong, United, Team Working Towards the Goal of Consistently Providing an Outstanding Guest Experience.” To increase guest experiences, the resort implemented a program to strengthen the skills of its employees. Success has been measured by increased guest service scores, strategic HR metrics focusing on productivity, recruitment, retention and employee relations and HR cost saving as a percentage of total revenue.
The Sales & Marketing finalists must show best practices under the following headings: Effective Use of Guest Travel Rating Services (i.e. TripAdvisor); Public Relations Approaches to Generate Business; Using Data and Metrics to Drive Business; Niche Marketing; and Driving Sales Through Social Media. The Sales & Marketing finalists, along with a description of their nominated programs, are:
* Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica – Their entry focused on “Strategies for Attracting Niche Markets.” The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) targeted niche travelers interested in Jamaica’s rich Jewish heritage and created a Jewish Jamaica product. While outreach to this target group is still in its infancy stage, much has been achieved in a short period of time including coverage in media outlets targeting North America, Europe and Israel.
* The Somerset on Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos – The resort focused on “Integrated Customer Relationship Marketing Initiative (iCRM).” After five years of occupancy and revenue declines, The Somerset on Grace Bay was able to mount a dramatic turnaround. by implementing a concerted integrated Customer Relationship Marketing (iCRM) initiative which encourages all disciplines to communicate freely to develop creative, integrated, multi-disciplined programs that drive profitable revenue. Over the course of the first two years revenue for the resort nearly doubled and is on pace to more than double in the third year of the program.
* Synapse Social Media, Puerto Rico – The entry “Social Media – #GrandMoments” main objective was to create buzz in social networks and showcase the #GrandMoments that a guest would experience in the hotel through eyes of existing guests. Synapse promoted the #GrandMoments through all social channels but the key factor was that every time a guest connected to the Wi-Fi of the hotel they were redirected to the #GrandMoments social aggregator allowing guests to see the opportunities available to them.
The three finalists nominated for Sustainable Practices must exhibit best practices in one of the following categories: Reducing Electric and/or Water Costs; Reducing Lighting Costs; Effecting Use of Landscaping and/or Gardening; Making the Most Out of Your Environment Certification; and Maximizing the ROI from Refurbishments. The Sustainable Practices finalists, along with a description of their nominated programs, are:
* Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba – Their entry “Service and Sustainability Strategies to Achieve Customer Satisfaction” focuses on the resorts’ commitment to achieving the highest standards of service while protecting the environment. The leadership team believes that by maintaining a customer-service oriented, sustainable, eco-friendly resort, Aruba’s natural resources – beaches and reefs – can be shared with guests for years to come.
* Ritz Carlton San Juan, Puerto Rico – The property’s entry is “Environmental and Sustainable Initiatives.” As the first luxury hotel in Puerto Rico to receive the Sustainable Tourism Facility Certification by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), the resort incorporated a number of environmentally friendly practices which have benefitted its overall operation..
* Rosalie Bay Resort, Dominica – Their entry “An All-Encompassing Approach to Sustainability” highlights the resort’s initiative to build a sustainable, eco-friendly, wellness retreat dedicated to coexisting with nature, providing locals with a dependable livelihood through responsible tourism and to share its island home of Dominica with the world. Rosalie Bay has earned high accolades from leading organizations in sustainability.