First Lospitalite Lafyerte Sesel Award a grand success By Laura Pillay |03 October 2022
The first-ever Lospitalite Lafyerte Sesel Award ceremony saw Julio Lesperance securing the People’s Choice Award, while ultra-exclusive, private plantation house La Cigale Estate clinched the Special Award as Seychelles’ best tourism business.
The 2022 Service Excellence Award was held at Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Baie Lazare on Saturday evening as part of activities to commemorate the now-annual Tourism Festival.
Featuring two main categories, one in recognition of the best tourism businesses, with the second focusing on the industry’s best employees, the grand soirée is the culmination of eight months of the service excellence programme, launched on January 28 this year.
Tourism businesses were encouraged to register for the different categories most-suited to their operations across different sectors within the industry, and to also nominate their best tourism employees, with the night’s awardees deemed the best in excellent service-delivery, based on monitoring assessments.
Newly opened La Cigale Estate, located at Côte D’or on Praslin, is a Seychellois family-owned business targeted at the “1 percent of the 1 percent”, and was among the rest deemed worthy of the Special Award. The business values local artists and the local culture and the level of service as a “mind-blowing experience”.
According to General Manager Maxime Rachel, enshrined in the business’ genetics is a celebration of the Creole culture and experience, from the pre-arrival to departure experience. Among its biggest asset is the 90 percent Seychellois team, all of whom regularly celebrate everything that Seychelles stands for.
“I think we are one of the properties that have a special element which other properties do not,” Mr Rachel stated.
The Estate boasts nine rooms only and 22 staff, and opened its doors in November 2021.
Julio Lesperance has been employed with Constance Ephelia Resort for seven years, and attributes his win to his passion since he loves his job, and will go out of his way to please his clients. He has spent most of his career in the hospitality industry and hopes to secure a more challenging position in going forward.
Each winner was presented with an award trophy individually-sculpted by local artist Joseph Noah, representative of the passion, dedication and heartfelt customer service, as well as a certificate.
The business awards saw ten categories, with each business assessed an average of two times with a combination of both formal and mystery assessments, evaluating them against set-criteria.
Taxi and car hire businesses were assessed against five criteria, namely, cleanliness and hygiene, staff presentation and grooming, welcoming of guests, handling of client’s complaints, professional development and client engagement. Tour in Paradise and Transfer Taxi Services claimed the first place, while Daniel Mazzorcchi Taxi clinched second place. Taxi Tours Seychelles made it to third position.
Côte D’Or Cars claimed top spot in the Car Hire category, followed by Eden’s Car Pty Ltd, and Petit Car Hire in third place.
Businesses offering tour guiding services were assessed based on six criteria. Of the five finalists, White Sands Adventures topped the list, followed by Cocotier Tours, and CME Tours in third.
The sub-committee established to assess and evaluate service-delivery within tourism businesses decided on the best Hire craft businesses based on eight criteria, including welcoming of guests, monitoring of guest satisfaction, and Creole culture. Semi-Submarine Seychelles Ltd wowed the judges, while Atoll Divers Seychelles made it to second place. Seyscapes Yacht Charter made it to third place.
Restaurants, Bars and Cafes comprised one category, which were also assessed based on eight criteria. Le Jardin du Roi Restaurant claimed first place, while La Scala made it to second. Five Spice Restaurant, located at Club Liberte was awarded third place in the category.
Considering the volume of entrants in the accommodation categories, deciding on the winners was an arduous task for the committee, who had to assess large, medium and small hotels based on eight criteria. Self-catering businesses and guest houses were also invited to participate.
Kalou Guesthouse claimed first position in the Self catering and Guest House category, while Silhouette View Apartment made it to a close second. Villa Koket won third place.
Pirogue Lodge dominated the Small Hotel category, ahead of Le Repaire Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, and Chateau St Cloud in third place.
Mango House Seychelles LXR Hotel and Resort clinched first position, toppling Hotel L’Archipel in second position and Coco de Mer Hotel and Black Parrot Suites in the Medium Hotels category.
Creole Travel Services beat Mason’s Travel and 7 Degrees South to claim first place in the Destination Management Company (DMCs) and Tour Operators category. They were assessed against seven criteria.
Constance Ephelia Seychelles made it to first place in the Large Hotels category based on service-delivery. The hotel beat Paradise Sun Hotel in second position and Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa.
The Best Tourism Employees who have impressed their employers, colleagues and Lospitalite assessors were grouped based on business categories, and were all assessed based on attitude and commitment, interpersonal skills, work performance, personal traits and service excellence. In addition, individuals topping their categories received other prizes, sponsored by different businesses.
There were only two finalists in the Hire craft category, and Ivan Sinon of Seyscapes Yacht Charters claimed first place. David Guntensperger of Safari Ventures came in second.
Elvis Azemia of La Scala won first place in the Restaurant, Bar and Café category, followed by Mohammed Allaudin from Chez Jules Restaurant in second position. Club Liberte’s Veruska Jeane from Club Liberte claimed third position in the category.
As for the Self Catering and Guest House category, Annia Constance of Côte D’or Footprints made it to first place. Nathalie Morel of Villa Koket clinched second place, followed by Marie-Celine Dubignon from Le Villa D'Or.
In the Small Hotel category, Bernardette Bellard of Pirogue Lodge claimed first position, while Chateau St Cloud’s Lise-Neige Pierre made it to second spot. In third place was Audrey Pouponneau from La Cigale Estate, the recipient of the Special Award.
Samantha Esther was deemed the best in the Medium hotel category. She is employed at Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas. Esther was ahead of Francesca Suzette of Carana Beach Hotel, and Edward Maura from Hotel L'Archipel.
The category for DMCs and Tour operators was dominated by Christopher Ithier of Mason’s Travel. Nigel Maria of 7 Degrees South made it to second place, while Masons Travel’s Vincent Bresson made it to third position.
Anthony Banane of Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa Large hotel claimed top spot in the Large Hotels category, followed by Carlos Agathine of Hilton Northolme Resort and Spa, and Norita Richemond- Kempinski Seychelles Resort in third position.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, in his opening address noted that Seychelles’ products and natural assets are insufficient to develop the tourism industry and make the destination stand out from other destinations boasting similar products and assets. As such, he called out to sub-par players in the industry to elevate service delivery, adding that complacency, negative attitudes and the inclination to take advantage of clients are a disservice not only to the industry, but also to the country.
“Product enhancement and diversification, coupled with a cultural experience, vital as they are, are not enough in themselves to get the winning formula that will make Seychelles’ tourism industry thrive. We need to give great service, excellent service, and surpassed service. It needs to be something that becomes embedded in our mindset and attitude. It needs to be effortless,” he said.
“Excellent service leads to customer satisfaction. It is about providing a total customer experience that meets or even exceeds customer expectations. This is what is needed to increase customer satisfaction, visitor spending, and to encourage them to consider second, and why not, a third or fourth visit to our country,” Minister Radegonde stated.
He also seized the moment to commend the vast majority of players who are giving their utmost best to enhance the experience of visitors flocking to Seychelles’ shores, and who strive to add value to the customer experience, extending his congratulations to all nominees and winners.
Tourism is the number one pillar of the Seychelles economy. Almost thirty-years ago, in December 1993, at the then Reef Golf Club Hotel, the U-first campaign was launched by then Minister for Tourism and Transport. The campaign aimed to highlight the importance of the tourism industry, and recognising the contribution and excellence of workers across tourism establishments, and officially came to an end in 2005.
The Lospitalite campaign was launched as a programme for service excellence, focusing on nurturing a culture of service excellence. It is based on three main pillars, namely, sensitisation and awareness, education and training, as well as service monitoring and award.
The second edition was also launched on Saturday, with registration open until December 31.
Photo credits: Tourism Seychelles