Sandals Diamond Team Member thankful for reopening of hospitality industry

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THE advent of the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly tough for Georgette Evans, front desk receptionist at Sandals Royal Caribbean, as having been crowned the Diamond Team Member of the Year for 2018 a few months prior, she was looking forward to a banner year and a shot at being chosen Ultimate Team Member for the entire hotel group.

Awards aside, Evans said the shutdown of the hospitality industry took a toll on her, as apart from the obvious significant financial burden, she missed the motivation provided from having her team members around and the daily interaction with guests.

“I was so looking forward to more celebrations at the annual Ultimate Awards, where I would have gotten a chance to interact with all the other Diamond Team Members from across the Caribbean and share in a week that we all would cherish, but the unexpected upheaval caused by COVID-19 dashed that dream,” she said.

The Diamond Team Member defined the reopening of the hospitality industry and the resorts in Montego Bay, including her own, as “nothing short of a blessing, as persons like me are now able to provide for our families and recover from the financial setbacks of COVID-19”.

During the closure of the industry she faced many challenges due to the loss of income but praised Sandals for still providing 40 per cent of salaries for team members for most of the lay-off period. “I missed work so much for the months I was home. COVID-19 causing work to pause took a financial toll on all of us. I missed working and earning, missed the motivation from my team members and missed making the guests absolutely happy. I kept safe and was social distancing throughout that time though,” Evans added.

Now back on the job for a few weeks, the front desk standout is elated and thankful for the opportunity to do what she does best. “Just being able to get up in the mornings knowing that my financial stability is back, my goals are back on track, and I am safe and protected while on the job, due to the company’s safety protocols, is nothing short of amazing.”

Georgette said she was somewhat apprehensive during her first few days back at work “because I didn’t know what to expect, but when I saw how frequent work areas were being sanitised, the fact that we were provided with masks, there was physical distancing taking place and hand sanitisers on the walls, and it made me so happy”, she said between laughs.

The Diamond Team Member for 2018 was full of praise for Sandals Resorts for the company’s sterling efforts at providing COVID-19 protocol training for every team member online, even before they went back to work and a week of on-the-job sensitisation before actual reopening.

“This helped my team members and me to feel safe and confident in our work environment, just knowing that the company had spared no expenses in maintaining our safety and that of our guests. It really shows that Sandals cares,” she said.

Now back to the job in the industry that she enjoys, Evans is looking to grow with Sandals Resorts and wants to be sitting in a supervisor’s chair as soon as the opportunity arises.

Evans joined the Sandals family working at the then Sandals Inn in 2016, but being fanatic for the over-water bungalows, she aspired to work at Sandals Royal Caribbean. The opportunity finally arrived when a front office position became open at her dream resort. She was successful in her interview and this marked the beginning of her meteoric rise. Since the day she set foot on the resort, she made it her ultimate goal to earn the coveted title of Diamond Team Member of the Year. In only two short years of hard work and passion, that goal became a reality.

“I was so excited to be working at the resort that I’ve always wanted to be. I was so focused on becoming Team Member of the Year that I constantly went above and beyond, every single day at work. I love Sandals Royal Caribbean and I know this is just the beginning of greatness here,” she said.

Evans is looking to grow with the company and wants to be sitting in a supervisor’s chair very soon. She describes Sandals as the best place to develop and master your skills with the nurturing environment of positive leaders.

“Don’t be put off by all the naysayers who are saying that the hospitality industry should not have opened,” Georgette says. “All the necessary precautions are being taken by Sandals, and I feel safe. Plus, without this industry I know a lot of us who depend on tourism would all be facing financial calamity.”

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