Caribbean tourism brands, including destinations, organizations, and businesses, must put people first in order to come out of the global Covid-19 pandemic stronger. That’s the advice from Carla Santiago, the general manager of the Miami office of Edelman, a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations.
“It is critical that brands are able to sustain, remain and build their trust during this time. What is most critical that will impact brands in the short and long term is that brands are expected to put people ahead of profits during this pandemic,” Santiago says in a new podcast series produced by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), entitled, COVID-19: The Unwanted Visitor. The series, which is available on several platforms, including Anchor, Google Podcast and Spotify, as well on the CTO’s Facebook page, looks at how the Caribbean tourism sector can cope with, and recover from, the coronavirus crisis. The first episode, which aired last week, featured clinical psychologist Dr. Katija Khan, who provided insight into how to cope with working from home while dealing with the pandemic.
In this week’s podcast, Santiago makes it clear that the welfare and well-being of Caribbean tourism industry employees and potential visitors must be given top priority.
She recommends simple acts like compiling free resources to help workers maintain emotional and physical well-being or encouraging employees to use the time to learn new languages skills.
The global communications expert also stresses the need to give potential visitors the confidence that their entire experience is going to be safe by reforming all aspects of the tourism operation.
“You need to put yourself in those [travelers’] shoes. For example, when people arrive at a hotel, is there going to be a luggage disinfecting zone before that luggage gets carried throughout the entire property? Are people going to have to present a medical certificate? Can you do your entire check-in process with your mobile key card and not have to interact face to face as much? When you show up at a restaurant, have you built a hand-washing station at the entrance of the restaurant and every single person has to wash their hands before they sit at the table? Can you provide wipes when they sit at the table and people have the confidence you have sanitized their space where they are going to enjoy their food? You need to think at that level of detail to provide safety and security for guests,” Santiago stresses.
She predicts that there will be much anxiety among travelers for a considerable period post-COVID-19 and advises that the recommended measures to put people first be put in place now in order to reassure visitors.
“You want to be first to show the world you are thinking of them for when this [crisis] passes and that you are ready to welcome them before anyone else,” Santiago recommends.
To view the podcast series, please visit https://anchor.fm/onecaribbean.