One of Barbados’ oldest companies in the travel and hospitality sector, Hertz Car Rental, drove home an award when it was voted Leading Car Rental Company in Barbados at the 26th annual World Travel Awards held in Jamaica yesterday.
On a night that saw dozens of awards being handed out to hotels, airlines, booking agencies, resorts and car rental companies, one of the island’s newest companies, Sandals Barbados, also booked its place in the ‘who is who’ of the industry, copping the Caribbean’s Leading Resort award.
Collecting the award for the car rental company was Ian Proverbs, Manager of Courtesy Rent-A-Car, who described the achievement as a tremendous one.
Courtesy Rent-A-Car is an affiliate of Hertz and a member of the Goddard Group of Companies, and has been operating in Barbados for over 40 years.
“This is a recognition of my team’s hard work over the last several years and our commitment to offering the best service, best cars and reasonable prices,” Proverbs told Barbados TODAY.
“It came as a shock to us. We got a call last week saying, ‘we need you in Montego Bay’, and that was it. It is down to the service that we offer to our customers and the recommendations of our customers for the nomination,” said Proverbs.
Adding that the company was “customer focused”, he said the aim was to continue to provide “the best service wherever possible”. And he advised other companies to always focus on what drives their operations – customers.
“Put your customer first, give your customers what they want. If you provide the best service and the best vehicles they will pay for it,” he advised.
Proverbs said the company was in the process of expanding its operations into Guyana, but declined to give details, only to say “it could be sooner than you think”.
“We are looking for some degree of expansion in Barbados as well but probably over the next 18 months or so – concentration a bit more on the luxury end of things,” he added.
Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the Sandals Resorts International (SRI) Adam Stewart told Barbados TODAY while his hotel chain was not new to winning awards, he was especially excited that one of the company’s newest properties was awarded.
Other Sandals properties across the Caribbean also received awards for various categories.
“To have this one recognized specially for Barbados it just speaks to the investment of just shy of US$400 million invested in Barbados. We are the largest single hotel investor on the island and of course the prospect of Beaches coming in the future will take that to almost double of what it is today,” he said.
Stating that the award also spoke to the strength of the Sandals brand, Stewart said it was coupled with the world-class service offered by the team members.
“The hallmark of the Sandals brand is training and learning. Sandals came into Barbados and we work with the talent, a lot of the team members working at Sandals Barbados are young – they are school leavers and bright and energetic,” he said, adding that the company spent tremendous time and effort “Sandalizing” them so they eventually developed “the kind of five-star international hospitality experience required”.
“To win an award like this shows that Barbados can achieve at any level,” he added.
Addressing the gala ceremony at the Sandals Montego Bay property on Monday night, Founder of the World Travel Awards Graham Cooke said he was satisfied the Caribbean continued to lead the way in the tourism and hospitality sector.
“The tourism sector continues to be a vital source of revenue . . . across the region and the future is indeed bright,” said Cooke.
However, he warned industry players and regional authorities to address lingering issues including concerns surrounding air link and ensuring that the growth of the sector benefited residents and the environment.
“It is up to us, the people here this evening, the leaders of our industry sector, to manage the growth in a sustainable manner and translate this into real benefits of the people of the Caribbean,” said Cooke.
With increased airlift and a number of new hotels and expansions planned in Barbados and the rest of the region, Cooke said he was confident about the prospects for 2019 and beyond.