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High occupancy in Intimate Hotels

The Intimate Hotels of Barbados are reporting high occupancy rates, despite the current economic recession.

The good news came this morning from outgoing Chairman of the grouping, Jeffrey Kinch, as he delivered his brief report to the annual general meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

“In spite of the challenges in a depressed economic environment, a good number of our … members experienced instances of high occupancy for the period from November 2011 until April 2012. Too many of our members have experienced troughs in low occupancies as they continue to persevere and contribute the best they can in their properties and the economy of Barbados,” revealed Kinch.

He said though that due to the difficult times, the association has had to trim its sales, resulting in major changes that included the termination of their market representatives.

“Our marketing budget from Government has been cut by 60 per cent from the period before. This action turned out to be a blessing as we did most of our marketing on the Internet. As a result of this exercise, all of our members have had the opportunity to access Wide World Internet Marketing from their own offices,” announced the Chairman of the Presto Caribbean Group of Hotels.

Kinch observed that consequently, the Intimate Hotels of Barbados was now a “tighter operation”, having achieved some significant objectives with a limited marketing budget “and our members are achieving brand awareness in a way that we had never anticipated”.

The newly-elected chairperson, Renee Coppin pledged to make the sustainability of the association her priority, particularly in light of a reduction in Government’s subsidy to the body and its inability to continue to provide support as it did in the past.

“I need to focus on how we are going to bring revenue into the organsiation to ensure that our marketing arm is still strong. There are a number of ideas I have in my mind, which I have to flesh out with the board, but I don’t want to discuss them right now. But certainly the Internet and our booking engines are going to be foremost in that effort. We want to ensure that we are maximising our revenues to the organisation from that vehicle,” Coppin explained.

The new IHB leader also noted that one of the challenges facing the sector was access to funding to reinvest in hotel plant. However, the business owner of Pirates Inn reported that membership in the organisation had grown over the years in the face of ongoing problems affecting the industry. She said the goal was to capture all of the small hotels in the island, but this target was limited by the fact that they were budget properties.

The new board, which was elected this afternoon, comprised Coppin, Deputy Chairman, Dennis Tull, Secretary Pamela Alleyne and directors Soni Kessuram, Kavita Sandiford and Marcia Yarde. (EJ)

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