Members & Travel Agents
As We Reopen to Tourism, Are Our Frontlines Ready? By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence
ow are your frontlines doing with giving the best service while wearing masks and distancing from their guests? As countries open their borders to tourism and some to cruise, our frontlines are faced with following many new protocols and procedures, and we still expect them to deliver excellent service. But how do they deliver great service from behind a mask? How do they connect with guests while maintaining physical distancing? Are they prepared to handle difficult situations with these new protocols and processes? Today, providing excellent service to guests in destinations is more important and more challenging than ever. For those who are interacting with guests, the demands are greater, the expectations are higher, and the world is watching. We have to get it right, and we need the service from our frontlines to be excellent. We want them to connect with guests while distancing, to encourage compliance from guests, and to manage difficult situations. We need them to be ready to respond to guests in a positive manner – and to have the skills and confidence they need to deliver excellent service while following the necessary protocols and procedures. How can we set our frontlines up for success? We need to provide them with: • Protocols & Processes: We need to provide them with clear instructions on the protocols and processes that must be followed – and why they must be followed. • Expectations: We need to clearly communicate what we expect from our frontlines in each of their roles, including everything from following protocols and processes to dealing with guests. • Training: We need to train them on how to deliver excellent service with these new protocols and procedures and give them the skills and confidence to do their jobs well. 30 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
Aquila’s newest virtual workshop –“Service Excellence: COVID-19 Edition” – was designed to meet the need for training, and it is getting rave reviews. Participants comment that the training is particularly helpful in the way it shares very practical ways to deliver excellent service and engages participants in the training. For example, when discussing how to best communicate while wearing a mask, participants practice speaking slowly and clearly, enunciating every word, and smiling while they speak, all while wearing a mask – and they can see and hear the difference. “Aquila had exactly the training we were looking for, and it spoke to how to deliver service in this COVID-19 era, which is very important,” said Clive McCoy, Director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, where more than 2500 frontlines recently participated in the program. “Everyone is Smizing, and we believe that these trainings will make a difference and allow for BVILOVE to shine through.” PROCOLOMBIA also offered their tour operators and frontlines this training
program in Spanish as part of a comprehensive training package that also included product development and much more. We are all eagerly awaiting the return of cruise to our destinations, and we commend those destinations that are using this time to prepare by investing in their most important people, those that hold the guest experience in their hands – their tourism frontlines. Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of the Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence, the exclusive training partner of the FCCA. Reach out to her at Beth@ CruiseExcellence.com.