Hoteliers debate how best to manage through a climate of uncertainty.
MIAMI: Hoteliers and tourism decision-makers are tip-toeing through 2010 doing their level best to cope with economic unknowns (roller-coaster bookings and deep discounting). Given such wild fluctuations is it possible to maintain a satisfactory staff-to-guest ratio? “Yes,” says Hotelier and now entrepreneur Helen Bayne, “…and the wheels are in motion,” she adds.
Ms. Bayne explains, “This quandary begs the question—how does one cope without sacrificing revenues, standards and balance? In a perfect world one would lay-off and rehire employees on an as-needed basis.”
“What does work…,” continues Bayne, C.O.O., CaribTemps,”…is a staff-readiness strategy”. She reminds us that November marks ‘Caribbean High Season’.
Already Caribbean hoteliers are abuzz as they debate how best to manage through uncertain times ahead. Ms Bayne’s solution is simple and timely; she believes the industry may not have considered a tried and true formula that works so well in other industries. “Why not prepare for tumultuous times by using hospitality-trained temporary employees”?
Regionally, thousands upon thousands of unemployed hourly industry workers are more than willing to work on a temporary basis. “Timing could not be better to benefit from Temps”, remarked Richard Lyon, seasoned general manager for The Landings, a Rock Resort on St Lucia. Once you tap into this fertile talent pool your company will enjoy optimal service without sacrificial staff voids.
In anticipation of seasonal staffing needs inherent with serious fluctuations, Bayne’s solution is straightforward, uncomplicated and cost-effective. She has joint-ventured with well-established Caribsearch Ltd, executive search firm devoted to remote luxe resort recruitment. Together they are launching CaribTemps, the region’s sole temporary employment firm designed to target Hospitality and Tourism. The firm is presently test marketing on Grenada with offices planned for every Caribbean island nation.
“It’s exceedingly gratifying to give back; to be part of our region’s economic recovery,” says Helen Bayne. Not only are we enabling the unemployed to reenter the work place, Caribbean Labour and Tourism Ministers are hugely supportive and so are the very companies who had to make tough decisions about whom to layoff.
“Early indicators from the Grenada test market suggest that temporary employment for hospitality is more than a quick fix it’s an alternative staffing solution here to stay,” says Grenadian Stephen Jerome, named opening Country General Manager for CaribTemps’ Grenada startup. Jerome is a seasoned Food & Beverage Manager most recently with Sandals Resorts International on St Lucia. The hotel operator eliminated 650 Caribbean hotel workers late last year in response to severe declines in tourist bookings. Mr. Jerome’s greatest wish is to be instrumental in re-employing every last laid off worker in the region.
With great satisfaction, Bayne summarizes, “CaribTemps offers the region a compelling staff readiness strategy”. She smiles and adds, “A first for the Caribbean and a sustainable win-win for hotel and tourism leaders.”