Taking Sri Lanka’s hospitality to the next level

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • The Kingsbury sets the pace with a service ethic founded on honesty and integrity
Sri Lanka has a reputation for hospitality because our social orientation hinges on a tradition of care and empathy. Often, Sri Lankans are credited for their warmth and friendly nature, and inevitably this has had a positive association on the nation’s hospitality industry. Whilst in the past our hospitality industry has managed to sustain itself on the “Sri Lankan smile,” our progressing reputation and of course positioning, as a high-end travel destination calls for a service standard that goes beyond amiability. In fact, with city hotels and resorts pitched at the upper-end of the star category and with competitive frameworks shifting – entry of international hospitality chains have redefined the service expectations – the need of the hour appears to be to formulate service ethics that are top notch. Indeed, Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry needs to prove itself with standards that go beyond face value to ones that are integrated and embedded into their overall operations as a way of life. It is indeed encouraging, therefore, to witness this evolution at one of Colombo’s finest five stars. The Kingsbury which was launched in December 2012 under the stewardship of Hayleys Group – one of Sri Lanka’s oldest conglomerates and one that basks in a legacy of ethical business practice – now sets the pace for hospitality service standards with a service ethic that is firmly founded on the precepts of honesty and integrity. With service standards aligned with those of top-notch hospitality providers the world over, The Kingsbury has successfully integrated service best practices to be a way of life at the Kingsbury. This is demonstrated by The Kingsbury’s commitment to service quality. Integrity of service offer and its commitment to live up to The Kingsbury way of life, at all times, manifests into a consistent desire to push the boundaries, offering the very best in service, be it in the quality of ingredients for cuisine, to the very best of creature comforts from the luxurious lather of Bvlgari cosmetics to the lavishness of Frette linen. But most importantly, it seems more than apparent that the service ethic permeates deeper than the tangible luxuries. The key service differentiation at The Kingsbury is the integrity of the people who make up The Kingsbury team. Truly, hospitality experts have expounded over the decades that the foundation of hospitality is founded on people. Without the right people, the right attitudes and the right commitment to serve, hospitality becomes jaded and a mere term. It is heartening to note then, that The Kingsbury has quite rightly identified these core drivers as the foundation for its service philosophy. The Kingsbury lifestyle encapsulates every aspect of the service spectrum and the core values of quality, integrity and honesty courses through The Kingsbury team, creating a culture and ambiance that is secure, comfortable and welcoming. A Code of Ethics defines the ethical expectations from the team and most importantly, constant and consistent reference to the Code inculcates the practices and principles continuously. A reward and recognition scheme in place serves as the main catalyst in perpetuating the service values and the Code of Ethics. This program recognises the achievements and dedication of the team to the realisation of service excellence. In ending, it is fitting then to quote a team member from The Kingsbury as he verbalised his interpretation of the service ethic: “We will strive to understand our guests needs by listening to their requirements and responding in a competent, accurate and timely fashion. We will design and deliver our services and products to address their needs. In fact, we are committed to exceeding their expectations by surprising them with our ability to anticipate and fulfil their wishes.”  If Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry changes its focus towards service excellence, in the same manner in which The Kingsbury has, then the future of the destination and the hospitality industry will remain not only sustainable but also viable.