Wins prestigious 2012 Certificate of Excellence
According to the citation of the award, tourists “consistently commend” Laico Atlantic’s property with the highest praise, hence rating the hotel 4 out of the 5 stars is an exceptional achievement.
“Only the very best in the business are awarded a Certificate of Excellence,” said TripAdvisor, a body renowned for features reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, packages, travel guides, and lots more.
Out of 508 reviews of the hotel by the guests, 148 said it is excellent, 222 said the hotel is very good and only 38 said the facilities are poor.
In a recent encounter with this paper, Pascal Demarchi, general manager of Laico Atlantic Hotel, said: “The main criterion of the award is mainly guest comments. Guests who stay in the hotel give their feedback of the hotel with regard to their experience. Each hotel has a guest comment website created by TripAdvisor where guests can log in to make their comments – positive or negative - about any hotel in the world.”
However, he said, the good thing about the website is that it also gives them, as hotel operators, the right to provide answers.
Mr Demarchi said that is something he does for every single comment and feedback, which helps the hotel a lot, as guests get to know that the general manager of Laico Hotel is very caring since he takes time to respond to the comments about his hotel – providing answers and clarifications to some of the guests’ comments and feedbacks.
He said Laico Hotel is one of the hotels with the highest number of repeated guests, which is a proof of the wonderful products and services offered by the hotel. “And we continuously keep on improving the quality of products and services year on year,” he remarked.
On year-round tourism, Mr Demarchi said that at Laico they are doing their best to promote The Gambia as a year-round tourism destination.
Key in making the country a year-round tourism destination is, having regular planes coming to the country throughout the year, even in the low season, he said, adding: “There is no other solution.”
The Ministry of Tourism and the Gambia Tourism Board are doing their best to ensure The Gambia becomes a year-round tourism destination, according to Mr Demarchi, saying even if the country cannot have a 12-month tourism season; at least “8 or 9 months is great”.
Apart from convincing the tour operators from Europe to come to The Gambia in low season, hoteliers can also try to promote sub-regional tourism, particularly with countries like Nigeria and Senegal.
However, he pointed out that with regard to Senegal, their efforts are being hampered by the poor ferry services.
Said Mr Demarchi: “We have a problem because the ferry is not working well and that is hampering our efforts in Senegal because people know that they might be stuck for two to three hours in Barra just to cross to Banjul; so they end up not coming.”
Modou Jobe, sales and marketing manager of Laico Hotel, said the award - Certificate of Excellence - is not created by someone but through the feedbacks of the tourists that stay at and sample the products and services of the hotel.
So, it’s like people who sample our facilities are the very people who judge us at the end of the day, and that is very good, he said, adding that though The Gambia hotel industry is competitive, Laico Atlantic is always on top when it comes to service delivery and product development, which are key in guest satisfaction.