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Poor utilities spark bad tourist reviews

By Fay Simmons

Tribune Business Reporter

jsimmons@tribunemedia.net

A Family Island hotelier says poor utility services have resulted in negative guest reviews of their Bahamian vacation experience.

Beverly Brittain, marketing manager for Hideaways at Palm Bay in Exuma, said constant electricity and water outages have forced the property to incur additional costs by operating diesel generators. Guests have also begun to leave negative reviews about the resort online.

She said: “It’s not great; it's up and down. The power goes out at least once a day and we're running our generators. So there are fuel costs to run the generators and to maintain the generators.

“It's substantial, water also. It’s got a lot better but it’s been an issue for us. Tourists are writing bad reviews because of the power going out and there’s no water.”

Ms Brittain explained that guests are hesitant to accept the hotel's explanation about the poor quality of utility services on Exuma, and are broadcasting their negative experiences in reviews and online forums, which threatens to influence and deter future business.

She said: “It's hard to explain to the guests that this is something that we're dealing with when they don't care. They just want their holiday to be seamless and enjoyable. When they can't get up in the morning and have a shower, or relax in the evening and watch television, then that starts to become a problem.

“That's where the reviews come in.. There's always the question, when the next guests want to come, and they go: 'Well, I read that there's no water and I read that there's no electricity or the power goes off all the time'. So the the services are a big issue.”

Ms Brittain said telecommunications providers also deliver sub-par service on Exuma. Telephone lines are down "most of the time" and take several weeks to repair, while there are intermittent issues with mobile and Internet services.

She said: “Telephones are down most of the time, and trying to get someone to come and repair the phone lines takes several weeks to do. The cellular service isn't much better and Internet has always been an issue.

“There's never great connectivity in a world that’s all digital. Everybody needs to be online to do every single thing - check in for their flight, to check their e-mail, check into the hotel in some cases. Everything is digital and without having Internet it can be very frustrating for our guests.”

Ms Brittain added that Exuma can also benefit from additional services such as restaurants, but is keeping "on trend" with providing guests with tours and rentals. She said: “There needs to be additional services available to travellers. Restaurants are very hard to come by so that's an issue. But as far as tour operators and boat and car rentals, those things are keeping on trend.”

The Rocky Mountain Institute last week introduced an initiative designed to lower the upfront cost of renewable energy investments for Family Island hotels. Ms Brittain said Hideaways was one of 13 Family Island hotels that participated in a survey on the initiative, and is looking forward to lowering the cost of electricity by switching to renewable energy.

She said: “There was a survey sent out which we had completed maybe six weeks ago that we, as a hotel, would very much be willing to consider that. It's worth it to reduce our energy costs substantially, and we look forward to it progressing a little bit more.

“There was a little bit more information that we needed to provide to Rocky Mountain Institute. They just wanted a copy of our electricity bills just so they were able to put in something more concrete. They were wanting a block of hotels that are all willing to consider moving towards a solar system for energy.

“They said it would be something proposed for 2024 to 2026. So, a little bit down the road. It would be nicer if it was sooner because of the energy costs in the Out Islands”

Comments

DonAnthony 6 months ago

Need to get starlink immediately and ditch Aliv and BTC.

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