F-A-T people get best opportunities
Published: May 31, 2013
Name: Kressville Ritchie
Position: Hotel manager, Beaches
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
Kressville: My experience in the tourism sector continues to be one that amazes me even to this day. I have gone from a houseman at the Nassau Beach Hotel to a Hotel Manager with the Sandals & Beaches brand. I am most appreciative for the people that I started my career with as a houseman: Naomi Knowles, Ben Davis, Olga Saunders and Estelle Bonamy. As my journey has continued, there are many more people who have assisted me than I can mention here. Today, my role is simply about coaching and assisting persons in understanding the role they play in the industry.
GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
Kressville: I did not choose tourism. Truth be told I was chosen to be a part of this great industry. From my first encounter as a houseman in 1995, I realized that this must be something special when individuals pay for an experience and you are the steward charged with delivering on the promise of guest satisfaction. My second revelation came in 1999 when a good friend, Clement Butler, contacted me to assist in a leadership role; it was at this point that I chose to make it a career. I had no idea that seventeen years later, it would have blossomed into such a fruitful experience.
GB: What has been your most memorable moment?
Kressville: I actually have many moments that stand out but I’ll give you two. I was in Dubai in 2009 working at the Royal Entrance of Atlantis. One day, a young man from Egypt was able to recall a returning guest’s daughter’s name. The mother came running to tell me about her experience, straightaway, the young man had a proud look of accomplishment on his face. He knew he had done something special; he knew he just delivered on the seven star service that we always spoke about and I congratulated him on a job well done. Fast forward 10 months as I was departing Dubai. He delivered a Hallmark card to me which read: “To my brother, to my friend, to my teacher, one day I want to be seven stars like you”.
It doesn’t matter where I am working in the world; the most memorable moments are when the teams I lead are able to articulate how they are able to impact the guest experience through one simple act or the willingness to create a special memory.
GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Kressville: The industry has definitely changed during my seventeen years of experience. I have seen the industry move from a person- to-person approach to a more commercial one. While great service and customer satisfaction are two benchmarks by which destinations are rated, it is the vibrant spirit of the people that makes the experience; something that must never be forgotten. Our mantra in The Bahamas must continue to be “Its Better in the Bahamas”.
GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
Kressville: In order for the Bahamas to stay competitive we must focus on promoting the varied characteristics of the many different islands. We must build an experience around each island and its history and ensure that the occupants of each island are able to articulate that experience, after all; we are 700 islands in the sun. Finally, we must commit time to studying the world’s tourism product - become world citizens of hospitality training.
GB: What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
Kressville: Remember it’s the F-A-T people who get the opportunities. Faithful people are ordinary people, who seek to serve and obey those that they are led by. Available people - are people who make themselves available each day to the task at hand. They expect change and realize that it’s a constant. Teachable people are people who learn and receive insight from their leaders. It’s all about the teachable moments… these times can’t be planned for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be seized by the student. In summation, a career in tourism is a good one to consider. Begin a dialogue with the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, The Ministry of Tourism and study the trends in world tourism.