Ugandan hoteliers have been challenged to increase their hospitality and enhance their quality of service, as a way of attracting more tourists into the country.
With great hospitality and customer care, the hoteliers were told, Uganda will not need to spend money on advertising its tourism, since those that have had the experience will become the country’s ambassadors.
The advice came out during a retooling conference organized for local hoteliers by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) in partnership with the Global Leadership Summit (GLS).
The GLS, an annual event which originated in the US, brings together leaders from around the world who come together to be impacted on different aspects of leadership.
Addressing dozens of hotel owners and tourism stakeholders at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday, Mr Horst Schulze the former Chairman of Capella Hotel Group and co-founder of the Ritz – Carlton Hotel Company, took them through the good practices that helped him build two globally recognized companies that won numerous accolades.
“What customers want is simple; it’s the same thing that we all want when we buy,” Mr Schulze said.
“We all want the product to be defect free…we want it to be delivered on time and the people who deliver it to be nice to us.”
“Being nice is the greatest driver of customer satisfaction and eventually customer loyalty. That’s what a customer will remember most,” added Schulze who was once branded the “corporate hotelier of the world.”
Schulze, who arrived in the country on Wednesday night, warned hoteliers to avoid dissatisfied customers.
“Dissatisfied customers are like terrorists,” he said. “They are dangerous; they will take away from your organization. They will enjoy working against you.
Speaking at the event, Tourism Minister Prof Ephraim Kamuntu emphasized the importance of tourism in Uganda and her hopes for development.
“Our economy today is dependent on how many tourists arrive in the country, how long they say and whether they want to come back,” he said.
“If you can persuade an extra 100000 leisure tourists to come to Uganda, that adds 1% to the GDP. If we want to grow the economy by double digits, we have to do everything possible, work harder to attract more tourists.”
On his part, the CEO Uganda Tourism Board Mr Stephen Asiimwe thanked Mr Schulze for his inspiration to Ugandan hoteliers.
He noted, “I brought you here so you could help our hotelier improve their service, but after listening to you, I am your first covert.”
Betty Byanyima, the head of the Global Leadership Summit in Uganda said they partnered with UTB to bring Mr Schulze to Uganda to help Ugandan hotels improve their service.
She said the celebrated German- American hotelier was also invited by the Minister of Education Hon Janet Kataaha Museveni to address Ministry officials.
He will also address officials at the Ministry of Health as well as church leaders before going on a tour of Ugandan national parks.