Published On: Wed, Jun 28th, 2017

Enroll into “the university without walls”, hotel legend urges

Vision, excellence and staff are keys to success, says Sir Royston Hopkin

HopkinsMIAMI - Hoteliers and aspiring young hospitality professionals need to appreciate the critical role which the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) can play in their success, asserts respected Caribbean hotelier Sir Royston Hopkin.

Describing the association as "the university without walls for us Caribbean people - and that includes all of the emerging leaders," Sir Royston called for more tourism stakeholders to become actively engaged as he addressed the opening of CHTA's Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) in Miami earlier this month.

Sir Royston described growing up as a child helping his parents operate a small guesthouse as the basis for his understanding of hospitality. He credits his involvement with CHTA for broadening his knowledge of the industry, building lifelong professional relationships and friendships and leading to the success of his award-winning Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada.

"The message I'm giving you ... is that the involvement in CHTA is immeasurable. What you take from it, universities cannot give you. Because, if I was not involved in CHTA I would not ... be sole owner of Spice Island Beach Resort."

Delivering the keynote address at CHIEF, Sir Royston encouraged participants to leverage CHTA's educational opportunities to "exercise the power of excellence" in their work. "Working all day is a pleasure if you have the passion for excellence," he said, speaking about the industry to which he has dedicated his entire professional career.

The former "Caribbean Hotelier of the Year" urged owners of Caribbean resorts to develop a vision as a roadmap for achieving goals: "That vision will carry you as far as you want to (go)."

Sir Royston recognized the importance of human resources in the success of any hotel. "If you treat your staff well, you train them well and you make them feel that they're part of you, then they'll treat your guests as number one. And that has been my philosophy and my DNA from the day I went into business."

Underscoring the need for constant attention to excellence, Sir Royston said it was not enough to merely meet guest expectations. Exceeding guest expectations, he contended, "can only be achieved if you treat your staff and you train them and you recognize them."

The former CHTA president acknowledged that even those at the top of their game can find room for improvement: "Last year for the first time, after 10 years, I got the Virgin (Holidays) silver because you can't win (gold) every time. Yes, that's the reality. We slip and slide and then we regroup. But you know what I did, when I got that I was in Miami ... I still had a celebration for my staff to celebrate (the) silver that we got."

Sharing the credit he said was a key to his success "because Royston Hopkin does not create what he has for himself ... humility is my strength. It is my staff who I give all the credit to, all the recognition that the hotel gets. And that's the only way we, as owners and managers, can perform."

Sir Royston concluded his address by reminding hotel owners and managers of the value of staff training. "It is not a cost to send your staff and train your staff ... and get them involved in forums such as this. It is an investment."

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