Lt Col David Burch, Minister of Public Works

Unionised workers in housekeeping were reminded that they leave “lasting impressions” on both visitors and patients, at a workshop held on Thursday at the Bermuda Industrial Union.

Organised in conjunction with the International Union of Food and Allied Workers, the workshop theme was ‘Make My Workplace Safe’.

Jokingly, Public Works Minister, Lieutenant Colonel David Burch, who was also Acting Minister of Tourism and Transport, said he was there “as a new hotel owner”.

“I own that brand new hotel soon to open on the South Shore in Warwick — the Bermudiana Beach Resort — actually — we all own that hotel — those same buildings that some said would fall into sea, but yet they are still standing!”

But he said: “It is even more important that you understand that while your job may not always be the easiest, the most pleasant or the most exciting it is however, very important in the grander scheme of things and the much bigger picture of our hospitality industry.

“Whether it is the hotel or the hospital, you are assisting in creating an experience for whoever walks through the door and every guest or patient that is on the receiving end of your services, is a walking and talking advertisement … … not just for the establishment that you represent, but Bermuda as a whole. Your efforts will help to create and leave lasting memories with tourists, guests and patients alike.

“There is no better feeling than walking into a hotel room — as a paying guest — to find it immaculate and spotless — that is exactly what is expected and you are the ones that provide that first impression. None of us wish to be hospitalised — but in the event that we are, we want to know that we are entering a clean and sterile facility — that is where the housekeeping team at King Edward comes into play.

“I can personally attest to that being the case during my own brief hospitalisation earlier this year,” he added.

While noting that the participants “will hear and learn all manner of information”, he said: “It will be important and beneficial to you in carrying out your duties — but please remember you are a very important and essential player on the team striving to keep our hospitality business successful.

“It is that team effort that has always propelled the Bermuda Industrial Union to successfully represent its members.

“Hospitality is making your guest feel as if they are at home, even if you wish they were!

Using a quote by an unknown author, he concluded: “If you treat people well, the way you would like to be treated, they will likely do the same.

“And a word to employers: that famous 2014 quote from Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Hotels — ‘Train people well enough so they can leave — treat them well enough so they don’t want to’.”