The U.S. Virgin Islands is a tourist mecca and like all communities that thrive on tourism, the customer experience is a big part of what keeps those dollars flowing. We also understand that being good at customer service doesn’t always come naturally. You simply have to have worked in retail to understand that one.
As part of National Travel and Tourism Week, the U.S Virgin Island Department of Tourism brought in The Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence. The training group offers programs to help cruise destinations and tour operators around the world achieve excellence in their ports, tours, guides, and businesses.
The idea was to help train 200 hundred of the islands “meeters and greeters” because those who work in tourism become the face of the territory to the outside world.
“Having well-trained frontline team members in cruise destinations is critical, as they hold the guest experience in their hands. Their actions can make or break a guest experience, and greatly impact the guest satisfaction ratings in a cruise destination – and those ratings are an important factor in a cruise line’s decision to call on a port,” said Melanie Colpitts, the Director of the Center.
The push to improve the tourist experience is also a call to action in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes. We know the images of the damaged homes, grounded boats, and destroyed infrastructure will stick with many of us for a lifetime and may shade what some people think of when they imagine the islands. The training and improvement of the customer experience is partly a reaction to that.
The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism seems to be committed to offering continuing education opportunities for Virgin Islanders to ensure the territory remains a destination despite the storms. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said in a statement, “We will not rest on our laurels given the importance of the hospitality sector to our socioeconomic development and to elevating the quality of life for all Virgin Islanders.”
At No Kids, Will Travel, we think this kind of education is important not just for the tourists’ experience, but for the communities they visit and spend their money in. It might be a good idea to start a reverse program to teach tourists how to be good guests during their visits.