Introducing Claire Boscq, the new chief executive officer of the Jersey Hospitality Association, who wants to foster inks with the rural community. This article appeared in the present issue of RURAL magazine, where it can be read, or ‘virtually’ in the digital version of the magazine on our website’s ‘Past issues) section (Issue 37)
By Cathy Le Feuvre
The last few months have been a whirlwind for Claire Boscq, the new chief executive officer of the Jersey Hospitality Association, but she’s relishing the challenge.
Claire comes to this important job not just with masses of experience, but with a global profile.
Born and bred in France, Claire has lived in Jersey for 21 years, working first in hotels as general manager of the St Brelade’s Bay Hotel, assistant manager at the Royal Yacht Hotel and deputy manager at the Hotel L’Horizon. Over the past 12 years she’s built an internationally renowned business as an expert in ‘consumer experience’ including ‘mystery shopping’. She’s the author of three best-selling books, a trainer, presenter and facilitator and Business Feng Shui expert and consultant. Claire is also among the top ten ‘Customer Experience Gurus’ in the world, reaching the Number 3 spot and gaining an international recognition that has seen her travel the world to share her experiences.
And she brings all of this experience to her new role at the helm of the JHA, which she joined in August.
Building on the solid foundations laid by her predecessor, Simon Soar, Claire has hit the ground running, working closely with association members, with new ones coming on board all the time representing the breadth of Jersey’s hospitality industry.
She’s also building relationships and working with Visit Jersey and other agencies to ensure that Jersey hospitality grows as part of a wide ‘team effort’ to bring visitors to Jersey for great experiences and ensuring that locals also feel encouraged to use and enjoy local restaurants, hotels, cafés and visitor attractions.
Claire joins the JHA at a challenging time when many sectors are facing recruitment issues, thanks to a combination of Brexit and the effects of the pandemic.
‘The hospitality industry has lost a lot of people. It’s estimated there are 1,700 employees fewer than pre-pandemic and it’s affecting our membership at every level. There are many positions that need to be filled, including at entry level.’
So, as well as conversations about recruitment of staff from outside the Island, Claire wants to encourage locals of all ages to consider hospitality as a career path.
‘I’m already working with Skills Jersey and trying to show the diversity of jobs within the industry. It’s not just about ‘running plates’… you could be doing sales, revenue, marketing, bookkeeping, delivery services. There’s such a wide range of jobs within the sector and if you have the right attitude and you want to learn you will move quickly in the industry. We need people who are passionate, who think outside the box. If you’re in hospitality, not one day is the same. You’re meeting different people; you’re making people feel good. We have a great range of businesses from which people can choose – from hotels to the cabin on the beach, heritage sites, tourism attractions – our members come from such a wide range of business opportunities.’
With over 230 members and rising, Claire is keen to dispel the myth that hospitality pays poorly.
‘I think there’s a massive misconception. The majority of our members pay more than the minimum wage and some work on the living wage rate. Also, with hotels, a lot of our members provide accommodation, all your food, uniforms, as well as tips so it’s the package that you’re looking at, not just the wages,’ she says.
Claire is determined that the hospitality sector will embrace many different sectors and is keen to make contact with people who live and work predominantly in the countryside, in the agricultural and horticultural industries. This could include gathering information and ideas about how the Island may grow the ‘green tourism’ market – she’s already involved in conversations about issues like this and she is looking for people with ideas!
‘I’d love to do events, markets, fairs, and to encourage conversations about what is on offer, and the quality of what they produce and where it comes from. Working with some of our partners, next year I’m planning on developing training and hoping that every month there will be an event or something going on, so partnering with people like farmers and growers would be fantastic. And if people from the rural sector want to become members of the JHA that would be great because we are about creating community, sharing ideas and best practice. We can all benefit from each other’s experiences. Let’s work together because together we are stronger!’
*To contact Claire Boscq at the Jersey Hospitality Association
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07797 828950