MSc. FIMCA. MIH
May Hinds is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of May Hinds Consulting Incorporated. She was among the first batch of students from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Hotel School Division where she graduated in 1972, with a two-year Diploma (Credit) in Hotel Middle- management. She entered the work environment and rose steadily up the management ranks until she was appointed one of two Barbados directors of Siestal Limited- a consortium of Canadian travel related companies operating two small- medium sized south coast hotels (Sand Acres and Rockley Surf).
After wrapping up the company’s operations 10 years later, she immediately founded her own consulting practice, initially catering to the small hotel niche with the vision of transforming that sub-sector. The ongoing use of the name “Intimate Hotels of Barbados” is a legacy of that vision.
A recognised expert in small hotel development and human resources development and training in the hospitality and tourism sectors, May has led and contributed to several and varied technical assistance projects in 19 countries in the Caribbean region, as well as Central and South America and Europe.
Over a period of nine years (1988-1997) she served as specialist consultant in the areas of hotel management and marketing and directed the Organisation of American States (OAS) assistance to small hotels through technical assistance projects in Barbados, St Lucia, and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The first assignment which she managed and coordinated was over a period of six years (1988- 1994) for the Barbados Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The Small Hotels Assistance and Recovery Project (S.H.A.R.P.) included 14 small hotels comprising 300 rooms. The S.H.A.R.P brought together two other consulting firms namely Peat Marwick Associates (Financial Consultants) and Selby Rose and Mapp Architects Limited (Architect/Planners). A marketing strategy and plan was developed and implemented, and a central reservations system (CRS) established for the 14 properties trading as the Intimate Hotel of Barbados. By working closely with selected travel trade intermediaries in the main tourism generating markets, revenue generated for the period the CRS was managed by the project was BDS $ 548,230.00, with maximum achieved room rates of US$ 82.
From the year 1995 until 1997 May Hinds served as OAS Resident International Consultant to the Government of St Lucia and directed a team of consultants who provided technical assistance to that government to strengthen its institutional competence for the development of small properties within the tourism sector. A 5 year plan for the development of small properties in St Lucia was developed and implemented. She also provided technical support to the Central Reservations Facility for the small properties falling under the umbrella of Inns of Saint Lucia.
Her last (OAS) assistance to small hotels technical assistance project was from 1997 – 2000. During that time May served as Regional Project Coordinator/Consultant for the OAS-funded regional technical assistance initiative “Caribbean Tourism Competitiveness and Sustainability Programme (Small Hotels)” conceptualised to assist small local entrepreneurs improve their operations. The OAS CTCS Project involved all 14 OAS member states. The comprehensive long-term assistance program attracted support from other regional and international agencies.-1200 small hotels comprising 16,700 rooms. May worked with a multi disciplinary team of regional and international consultants, in her role as Regional Coordinator. Among other roles, she was co-designer of the needs assessment approach and provided overall management for its execution.
In 1997 she served as the local counterpart working with the ARA Consulting Group Inc (Vancouver, Canada), for the Inter American Bank funded Barbados Tourism Development Programme Sub programmes A – Small Hotel Tourism Sector. This study component comprised audits, surveys, work on investment, timeshare, all-inclusive and Gems of Barbados experience; working group workshops, and preparation of recovery plan including policy, marketing and implementation. The following year ARA Consulting Group Inc (Vancouver, Canada), was awarded a contract by the Caribbean Development Bank to develop a strategy and program to improve the performance, profitability and long-term viability of the Small Hotels Sub-sector in Grenada. May was responsible for Project Coordination and Consultation Management as well as Hotel Programs and worked closely with the project team comprising international consultants in the fields/areas of hotel operations, physical plant and finance.
In 2000, May directed the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) funded tourism awareness and information training initiative, targeted at the members of the Royal Barbados Police Force from stations in high-density tourist locations, the Regional Police Training Centre Recruits, Island Constables, other Security Personnel employed in the hospitality/tourism sector and Immigration and Customs Officials.
She designed a training module and materials, and delivered the training workshops for approximately 109 persons.
Between 2001 and 2002 the initiative was sustained by the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport. This second series targeted approximately 93 members of the RBPF, and Representatives of the Media. During this period, the Ministry of Tourism commenced its Safety and Security Programme aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of Security Officers working in the accommodation sector as well as in the ports of entry. Approximately 64 Security Officers were exposed to this training which was conducted by May and members of the RBPF.
Since 2000 May has managed and coordinated several service quality interventions for Caribbean enterprises to nurture a business culture where providing exceptional service is a pleasure and not equated with debasing servitude. Through a service diversification and corporate repositioning strategy which extended the consultancy’s focus beyond the initial client market of small hotels, May has been instrumental in leading the core team and associate consultants in designing, implementing and evaluating service quality interventions for the public sector and private sector companies in the Caribbean region across productive sectors (Tourism, Manufacturing and Retail) and educational institutions.
Between 2001- 2005 May directed the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s partially funded Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council Customer Service Strategies by May Hinds training programme designed to improve the quality of customer service delivered by workers at all levels of the tourism sector.
600 tourism workers were trained, representing 33 BHTA member organisations.
In pursuit of her own personal development and professional excellence In 2004, May was among the first cohort of Senior Practitioners in the Hospitality and Tourism industry in the Caribbean to obtain a work-related, project-based Master of Science degree (Hospitality and Tourism Management) through the unique professional mastery programme based on the authentic Action Learning concept run by the International Management Centres Association (IMCA) and Revans University. Her Research Topic entitled “Achieving Service Excellence: Customer Service Strategies for the Hospitality/Tourism Industry in Barbados”, spawned discussions that eventually led to the creation of the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE).In recognition of her outstanding record of service to Barbados and the Caribbean hospitality and tourism industry, she was invited to join IMCA & Revans University Honorary Court and received the honorary professional Doctor of Management degree in 2006.
Subsequent to 2004 May managed and coordinated the OAS funded tourism training and certification programme for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the goals of which were to improve the service levels in the tourism industry and broaden the Federation’s appeal as a preferred quality tourism destination. The key objectives of the Tourism Training and Certification Programme were to establish national standards, best practices and training programmes to ensure the growth and sustained development of the tourism sector. Among other roles, she was co- designer of the needs assessment approach and provided overall management for its execution.
Some of the service quality interventions she is currently managing and coordinating are in the restaurant sub-sector. These interventions involve strategic planning, institutional strengthening, operations systems and the developing of service standards all aimed at organisational development and bottom line improvement for the majority of these enterprises which have in the past or are presently award winning restaurants.
In the accommodation sub-sector, May manages and coordinates a service evaluation programme for the AAA Five Diamond Rated Sandy Lane which comprises measuring customer satisfaction at the Port of Entry (Grantley Adams International Airport) and across departments which include Reservations, Reception, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage, Recreation and Gift Shops. She also facilitates the Service Leaders Forum, a forum which brings together the Coaches (Managers) who are accountable for the delivery of quality service in their department to evaluate results.
She is a fellow of IMCA and a member of the Institute of Hospitality (MIH). She is also a member of the Executive Council of the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT) where she is also serves as a Business Mentor.
In 2006 May served as Chief Judge for the inaugural Barbados Tourism Awards and in 2007 also served as one of nine Judges comprising the assessment team.
She is frequently asked to speak on or facilitate events where the subject matter is service quality or a related topic and has also authored several articles on the hospitality industry.