Aruba’s tailor-made quality seal ensures excellence in its tourism industry
Mrs. Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, CEO of A.T.A., explains the purpose of creating the program.
The Aruba Quality Seal is a business development tool that establishes the desired tourism professionalism and hospitality industry standards expected by current-day guests. The seal proactively encourages local businesses to continuously enhance their quality standards. It represents one of the latest, tailor-made programs of its kind and forms an integral part of the strategic vision for the destination as a whole. Besides the basic quality requirements such as customer service, hygiene, safety, and operations, the AQS also considers and includes (sustainable) environmental aspects, as well as
the Trip Advisor ratings of the participating companies.
Aruba Quality Seal collaboration
The A.T.A. CEO informs Entrepreneur that preparations for the introduction of the seal started as early as 2015. The AQS was designed with quality institution QESH Services. After evaluation of a selection of possible appraisal institutes for the process, the A.T.A. selected QESH Services due to its extensive reputation in this field, which stretches over more than 25 years, with experience in several types of quality appraisals, a.o. the ISO certification, HACCP and more. As such, QESH functions as an independent and unbiased accreditation body within the Aruba Seal Program.
Why an AQS
“Aruba offers high-quality as a destination, targeting tourists who are willing to pay for its services” says Mrs. Tjin Asjoe-Croes.
This value proposition entails continued focus on guest expectations.
Despite the fact that visitors grade Aruba very favorably, the A.T.A. is always striving to upgrade the quality of the islands’ tourism product offering, in order to keep its competitive edge and to be able to meet the demands of our guests.
As per Mrs. Tjin Asjoe-Croes:
“The satisfaction level of Aruba’s tourists is eminent. A customer satisfaction survey among 7.500 departing visitors in 2019 demonstrated that between 80-85% graded the satisfaction with their Aruban experience as very high.
We want to preserve and enhance this standard, which means that we have to continuously improve our service and product, and keep up with new trends and demands of our guests. The AQS helps us to support and improve the service and keeps us attentive”.
The AQS currently targets three types of businesses for the program; restaurants, tours (activities) and retail. The AQS is especially important for Aruba’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) that provide most of the services/products to the islands’ tourism industry. The AQS was created with partners in the different industries, therefore tailor made to their needs and capabilities making it more feasible to implement.
The accreditation trajectory looks at several aspects of the business processes and performances. The AQS pilot phase emphasized the importance of digitization to make the process user-friendly and accessible for businesses interested in getting certified. To encourage the adoption of the AQS, the A.T.A. developed a simple process for application, assessment and acceptance,
making use of online tools for registry, payment and a preliminary AQS online assessment. After an on-site visit by an auditor, the company may earn the Aruba Quality Seal after complying with the criteria set forth. In the case a business does not comply with AQS criteria immediately, it shall get support/ recommendations to make the necessary improvements in order to eventually receive the seal.
The accredited companies should deliver consistent, high-quality experiences to each guest. Possible guest complaints about an accredited company may be filed through the AQS website (www.aqs.aw). As part of the assurance and quality provision aspect of the Aruba Quality Seal program itself, mystery visitors ensure all seal holders continue to follow the leading principles and comply with the determined criteria of the program.
Benefits of the AQS
The benefits of being awarded the Aruba Quality Seal are greater guest satisfaction, trust in the accredited businesses, improved quality of products/ service, more revenues, overall increase in cost-efficiency, increased stability, improved employee morale, stronger leadership, reliable decision-making processes and greater sustainability. In addition, the A.T.A. commits to promote, market and educate visitors regarding the AQS program and its awarded businesses as part of a high-quality product and service destination.
Similar programs tend to be costly and thus not easily affordable for SME’s to use and apply. The value of the AQS program, both tangible and intangible, is apparent in the fact that businesses learn to be more efficient, remove operational bottle necks, become more structured and comply with international standards that are appraised by visitors. In addition, participating businesses enjoy the promotional benefits by the A.T.A. and in general are considered to be among the best within their field due to their commitment to high-quality product offering and service.
Mrs. Tjin-Asjoe-Croes: “We encourage all businesses that cater to Aruba’s tourism sector, directly or indirectly, to make use of this opportunity, since benefits are measurable in short, medium and long term.
Economically, the destination as a whole should benefit from consistent high-quality service and product offerings in its tourism industry.
For more information about the Aruba Quality Seal, visit their website at: www.aqs.aw or contact email@example.com or call +297 524 8585.