Caribbean Hote­liers Con­cerned over Poach­ing of Trained Staff

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

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 told the Caribbean Me­dia Cor­po­ra­tion (CMC) 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 are 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 Span­ishowned prop­er­ties in Caribbean ter­ri­to­ries such as Ja­maica, the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and, more re­cently, Saint 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 an hote­lier, stressed the dan­ger in re­ly­ing on just the few that are trained.

“We must bring more and more trained peo­ple 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 she had 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 show­case 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.

CHTA Pres­i­dent Karolin Trou­bet­zkoy has warned that poach­ing prac­tices could af­fect cus­tomer ser­vice ratings.

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