(CMC):-The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has expressed concern over poaching in the hospitality sector where new hotels are “stealing” the trained and experienced staff of established properties, warning that such a practice could affect the customer service rating across the region.
CHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy said that there is an opportunity to reduce employment by building a larger segment of hospitality workers that can be hired for new properties.
“I don’t like what I am seeing, in some instances where a new property is being built in the Caribbean and there is not enough skilled workers to man the operations, we just seem to be stealing each other’s staff.
“If we are not careful we would keep training and our best trained people keep moving from property to property then you will eventually affect the customer service rating of the destination.”
Since the influx of Spanish owned properties in Caribbean territories such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and more recently St. Lucia, several of the established properties have complained that their trained staff were being lured to work in these establishments by offering higher salaries.
The CHTA President, who herself is a hotelier, stressed the danger in relying on just the few that are trained.
“We must bring more and more trained persons in, not just for one new hotel but in an effort to have the best customer service rating across the island and region” she said, adding that most hotels start with untrained staff.
Troubetzkoy disclosed that the issue of people development was at the forefront of her Association’s agenda and recently signed agreements with several companies including Springboard Caribbean and Forbes Travel Guide.
She said the two professional development organisations will help address the training needs of member countries at both the national and regional levels.
In addition, she said that the CHTA Education Foundation will continue to grow its scholarship programme providing special assistance for the education of the Caribbean tourism industry personnel and students pursuing tourism and hospitality careers.
“2017 will bring a host of new educational trainings, online and offline. Every CHTA signature event will include a professional development, as well as awards and recognition programmes to show case those that hold us up to a high standard by exemplifying Caribbean excellence,” she announced.
“We must find a way of training everybody and having more skilled workers available, not just in customer service but in culinary arts, and the technical side such as in IT technology maintenance, there are lots of job opportunities in the tourism sector, ” she told CMC.