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Caribbean Tourism Human Resources Professionals Challenged To Adopt New Approach

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – Caribbean tourism human resources professionals meeting here have been challenged to adopt a new approach to human resources that will lead to a more hospitable experience for visitors.

Professor Nigel Hemmington of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) told delegates attending the 5th annual Caribbean Tourism Human Resources Conference that this new approach must take the emphasis away from service delivery to the delivery of experiences that are personal and memorable.

“Customers do not buy service delivery, they buy experiences. They don’t buy service quality, they buy memories. They don’t buy food and drink, they buy meal experiences. They don’t buy events and functions, they buy occasions,” said Hemmington who researches customer experiences, professional development and learning, and consumer behaviour in hospitality and tourism.

Nigel Hemmington

In a presentation entitled, From Service to Experience: The New Hospitable Experience Paradigm, Mr. Hemmington said the paradigm shift from services to hospitable tourism means customer service becomes a performance and the staff become part of the cast.

“Increasingly, tourism and hospitality businesses are using a different language. Instead of talking about customers, managers and staff they talk about guests, hosts and cast,” the Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of AUT said.

“Think of your staff as performers and think about the opportunities for your staff to perform and if they are now performers they are going to think ‘ I am not just a waiter now, I am part of the performance. Look at my skill, look at what I can do,’” he said.

Mr. Hemmington explained that performing does not mean trying to tell jokes and being comedians but the manner in which service is delivered.

Conference participants are exploring how to create a culture of lifelong learning at work; managing stress in difficult times; as well as how to measure and monitor productivity and performance in the workplace, among other topics.

The conference, which has as its theme, Best Practices for Creating a Motivated and Productive Tourism Workforce, is organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), in collaboration with the Curacao Tourist Board.

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