Some things needs to be uniform
ow do tourism businesses know when they are providing quality standards? Their financial bottom line is one thing but tourism is a service driven industry, so how can businesses tell if their service is what is driving consumers to return or stay away? In sports, wins and ratings are obvious because they are based on empirical and verifiable numbers. Score more points and you win the game. For example, Belize just won silver in the recent U-19 Female Central American Volleyball Championship. They lost only to Costa Rica and defeated all of the other Central American teams. Many of the fans who attended the match against Guatemala witnessed a remarkable fifth set comeback, where Belize put on a gold level standard display for spectators- #sportstourism. In tourism wins and ratings are not tallied the same way. When in country experiences meet promoted perception, value is created. When it does not, visitors do not return and at worst give a low review and tell others not to bother. People take to travel review platforms such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Yelp, Ctrip, and Google Reviews to score their stay and experiences. When customers rate their experiences it is mostly personal and anecdotal, based on feelings, and feelings are difficult to measure. Ratings are quietly built and tallied online over time. Travelers have the power and influence to rate up or rate down a tour, a resort, or an entire destination. Bad ratings can be daunting for many businesses and entire destinations wanting to meet consumer expectations but somehow fall short of the mark. As it does in sports, winning takes team work and preparation. In Belize, our tourism value chain is the entire team and a better understanding of the character of our tourism offer is a major part of the preparation.
In 2022, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) conducted stakeholder meetings in each district to understand how they believe Belize shows up and should show up in the global market place. Following the completion of our National Travel and Tourism Strategy this February, there was a call to strengthen the competitiveness of our tourism value chain. What is the Belize tourism value chain? It is the layers of goods, services, and experiences that tourism stakeholders provide to satisfy the needs, requirements, and expectations of consumers. In short, the issues limiting our sustained growth are broadly grounded in coordination, fragmentation, complacency, and a unifying characterization of what ‘quality standard’ really is. Most importantly there is a need to capture the unique characteristics of the Belize experience and the values and ethics that helps to define its character. To deliver destination quality all local stakeholders must agree on a definition for Belize and do their best to meet and maintain it.
Agreeing on our destination quality is one thing, but how will we rate it and maintain standard? The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) continues to prepare a strategy and foster team work in this area. From July 23rd– 28th the board will meet with stakeholders to review its internal pilot system for quality standards and rating system for hotels. Tourism businesses win when they coordinate, when the standard of quality is consistent across the value chain, and when the understanding of the Belize tourism offer is defined the same in all pockets of the country. This week we highlight the “uniformism” in our tourism. This –ism is for the few times that we should not deviate but remain standard and principled. On the topic of quality and what defines us as a destination, lets win by remaining staunch and deliberate in our delivery.
See you next week.
The Belize Tourism Board