DESPITE what he described as a ‘flat’ 2013 second quarter, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) president said the New Providence hotel industry had still seen good occupancies for the period and was working to hit “acceptable” levels for the third quarter.
Speaking with Tribune Business at luncheon for the BHTA’s 10th annual summer educator’s internship programme, Stuart Bowe said: “The second quarter is basically flat right now. We’re still seeing good occupancies, April through June. We’re working hard - there are still a lot of specials and discounted products, and we’re working hard to ensure that the third quarter builds into what we feel is an acceptable level.”
Mr Bowe added that the Bahamas is a high-cost destination, which made it extremely important that the hotel/tourism industry delivers ‘world class service’.
“If we don’t, travellers can simply opt to spend their money elsewhere and that affects all of us,” said Mr Bowe. He added that given the popularity of social media, ‘bad news travels fast’.
“A bad customer experience is showcased almost instantly to the world on the social media through online news services and online rating services like TripAdvisor,” said Mr Bowe.
“Today it’s all about value, and we’re open to the globe. Social media is dominating, so it’s very important to understand that what happens on a daily basis is being broadcast all over the world. That places a high importance on the consistent delivery of world-class service.
“We’re still very competitive, and the consumer that comes to the Bahamas still has a lot of income. However, they are being bombarded with specials and options from all over the world. What that does is highlight the importance and focus on our business here inthe Bahamas, one delivering world-class customer service.”.
Mr Bowe added that the cost of energy remains a major challenge for tourism and other sectors. “Most hotels have energy programmes that are going on that involve the basics - turning off lights, trying to conserve and utilising the inventory in a manner that conserves energy,” he said.
“It is one of the major costs of all businesses. We’re working together as a private unit to ensure that we can make this product cost effective in the future.”
Published: July 1, 2013