Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, respected Caribbean hotelier and owner and chairman of the award-winning Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada, addressed the importance of excellence in his keynote presentation at the 2017 Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), urging hoteliers to focus on their uniqueness and excel in service.
Introduced by Janelle Hopkin, Spice Island Beach Resort’s Deputy Managing Director, Sir Royston addressed over 400 event attendees including government officials, hoteliers, hotel partners, vendors and other hospitality professionals at the opening event on 2 June, at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida.
With an extensive and distinguished career in the hospitality and tourism industry spanning more than 52 years of contributions to his home country, Grenada and the entire Caribbean region, Sir Royston drew upon his vast experience in the industry to highlight the “power and commitment to excellence” – the theme of his keynote address.
As a former president and chairman of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Sir Royston lauded the value of the organisation: “I am here today, and have become who I am today, as a result of several factors including the positive influence CHTA has had on my career. CHTA has been for me, and can be for all of you, a university without walls.”
Sir Royston provided credit to his parents, Curtis and Audrey Hopkin, who taught him from a young age how to have the power to excel. His parents ran the successful 12-room Ross Point Inn, which quickly earned a positive reputation throughout the Caribbean region, especially as the “place to eat.”
Sir Royston said, “For 62 years my mother was one of the Grenadian and regional pioneers of local cuisine, a philosophy that continues to permeate at my resort today.” He added, “This is the environment in which I was raised and from the age of 10 I became involved and entrenched in this wonderful world of hospitality.”
Further elaborating, he said “having the power to excel is only half of what it takes – exercising that power is what will make the difference. The power of excellence is environmental, as we are all products of our own habitats and this determines the extent to which we will keep demonstrating that drive for greater achievement.”
“My emphasis has always been on training, development and promotion – I can tell you that my philosophy is based on service. If guests’ expectations are met, we have failed as a resort. People only return to your property or recommend your business when you have exceeded their expectations.”
He provided attendees with various key exercises to excel: “surround yourself with people who have the drive to work and make necessary sacrifices; recognise the importance of well-defined goals and competitive advantages including uniqueness; and most importantly, excellent service. You cannot excel if the people around you are not excelling.”
Sir Royston focused on the topic of uniqueness, describing it as a “lucrative aspect of setting out any business with a competitive advantage.” He asked the audience, “What aspect of your products and services are going to be unique that your guests’ are not likely to find in many other places at all?” He described his personal experience with “uniqueness.”
“At my own resort, in 1987, I decided that introducing Jacuzzis in all of my guest rooms would be a unique selling point. To this day, every room has either double whirlpools or double soaker tubs which are now returning as the order of the day…private pool suites continue to have their own uniqueness.”
Profoundly resonating with the audience, Sir Royston received a standing ovation after his closing line, “You have the power to excel, use it,” and was quoted throughout the conference in various sessions, on social media outlets and by CHTA’s CEO and Director General, Frank Comito, in CHIEF’s final general session.