Ten years’ worth of data released for the first time this month by The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association shows that the extent to which visitors have found their vacation experiences in The Bahamas to have exceeded their expectations fell slightly in the mid-2000s, only to rise after 2009.
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association’s President Stuart Bowe said the results reflect years of commitment to enhancing service levels, but said more must be done to further improve customer satisfaction levels.
“We are encouraged by the positive customer service trends, particularly regarding service levels and the quality of the visitors’ experience. The results show the years of commitment by all stakeholders - the BHTA, the Ministry of Tourism, the education institutions, tourism-related businesses and, of course, our employees. We must continually strive to meet and exceed the visitor expectations. In this highly competitive tourism industry, we must distinguish ourselves from other destinations with quality visitor experiences. These are exciting times for our industry as we continue to diversify our tourism offering and add world-class infrastructure improvements.”
The data was gathered from immigration departure cards. According to the BHTA, the satisfaction “report cards” were filled out by almost half of all guests to The Bahamas.
The cards ask guests if The Bahamas did “about the same, better, much better, worse or much worse” than expected, providing an insight into how travelers’ experiences in The Bahamas compare to their subjective expectations. Where travelers did not report that their experiences “exceeded” their expectations, this did not necessarily mean that it failed to meet them.
The data shows that visitors’ perceptions of their vacations being “better or much better” than they had anticipated was highest in the Out Islands, both in terms of hotel staff attitudes and the value for money they obtained on their vacations.
The percentage of visitors expressing that their experiences had exceeded their expectations in terms of staff attitudes grew to around 77 percent in the Out Islands by 2013, while in the area of hotel value it rose to around 54 percent.
Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama also showed improvements in perception in this regard.
The reports showed that Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama took turns having the lowest ratings of the three destinations in the areas of hotel staff attitudes and hotel value, with Nassau/Paradise Island performing best in the area of staff attitudes and significantly worse regarding visitors’ perceptions of value for money.
Nassau/Paradise Island hotels achieved a positive impression with around 70 percent of guests in 2013 when it came to staff attitudes, up from a low of around 63 percent in 2006, which declined from around 68 percent in 2003. In the area of hotel value, Nassau/Paradise Island hotels were perceived to be “better or much better than expected” by 40 percent of guests in 2013, roughly the same as in 2003.
Grand Bahama recorded figures of around 67 percent on this metric in 2013, significantly up from under 60 percent in 2009; the 2009 statistic was a fall from around 65 percent in 2000. In the area of hotel value, Grand Bahama hotels were perceived to be “better or much better than expected” by around 48 percent of guests in 2013, up from around 43 percent in 2003.
While the Out Islands were generally perceived most positively along all metrics, including staff attitude, value for money, rooms and food, the data shows that Paradise Island hotels performed more strongly than Cable Beach hotels and hotels in other parts of Nassau, when it came to seeing improvements in how they were perceived by visitors.
By 2013, Paradise Island hotels had attained an average percentage of visitors reporting a positive impression of their visits in the areas of hotels, food, rooms, service and staff attitudes of 60.1 percent, up from 57.8 percent in 2000.
Cable Beach hotels saw this figure rise to 54.12 percent, from 54.05 percent, while hotels elsewhere in Nassau saw a greater rise, from 46 percent on average, who had a positive impression across these areas, to 50.7 percent.
The Nassau Guardian
Published May 28, 2014