One question that should be asked with more frequency is what will the impact of the raft of new hotels really do to our tourism industry? Do we have enough people to work in these hotels? What is the quality of service from the hotels we already have? Is more competition a good idea? Will raft of new hotels do more to ruin tourism than improve it?
It is already becoming more and more apparent that hotels are having employment troubles and worker shortages. The decline of the US dollar combined with difficult immigration policies, the long distance required to attract foreign workers and the lack of Bermudians willing to work in the industry are starting to take their toll.
According to TripAdvisor user reviews, here are rankings of level of service out of 5 for Bermuda Hotels
Fairmont Hamilton Princess, 626 rooms, service? 3.5 out of 5
Fairmont Southampton Princess, 593 rooms, service? 3.5 out of 5
Wyndam Bermuda Resort and Spa, 252 rooms, service? 3.5 out of 5
Elbow Beach Bermuda, 235 rooms, service? 4 out of 5
Grotto Bay Beach Resort, 201 rooms, service? 3.5 out of 5
So, of the 5 largest hotels, measured on service levels alone we’re scoring between 3.5 and 4 out of 5. Could this have anything to do with difficulties surrounding achieving adequate staffing levels?
What will the impact be of the raft of new hotels coming online? Two properties, Southlands and Grand Atlantic purported to be of similar size to the Fairmont properties? What will they do to attract employees in an island where there is already low unemployment? Will they pay more to steal workers away from other properties, further decreasing our overall levels of service? Will they be able to attract in loads of foreign workers given the constraints listed above? What if they cannot and then become unprofitable?
What impact will this added competition have on our overall quality of service and will tourists be willing to pay a high price for poor service? Will this do more to ruin our reputation than improve it? Do we really have enough workers? Can our infrastructure handle a mass influx of more? Can we even attract them?
There are simply too many unanswered questions and I fear that too few people are asking them.