Good news for hotels


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Director of business development at the Hilton Barbados, Josea Browne

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for many hotels on the island. Particularly in the south of the island as many of them report full capacity bookings.

And in spite of the gloomy forecasts for 2014, Christmas is expected to get better for them, as the few Barbados TODAY spoke with said that their Old Year’s Night festivities were set to be well patronized.

Karimah Holder, the reservations agent for New Year’s Eve celebrations at The Crane Resort told Barbados TODAY that since last week the phone had been ringing non-stop and emails were coming steadily as the “last-minute” crowd rushed to make their bookings.

Crane’s celebrations are themed The Midnight Train and entertainment will be provided by the band Brass Soul. She revealed that present bookings were up by almost 150 per cent this year when compared to 2012.

“I guess there are still major events that persons will budget for and they are still going to come out and make sure they get to enjoy, regardless of the economic recession. There are some things persons will still pay for. As long as they know it is an event that will give them their money’s worth, they will book it.

“We were having a lot of in-house guests and members booking previously to Christmas; but since Christmas has passed we have had a significant increase in local bookings or persons who are staying on the island. There is a last-minute rush –– persons who want to ring in the New Year correctly; so we have a significant increase,” said Holder as she also noted that the 252-room property was fully occupied.

At Divi Southwinds Resort in St Lawrence, Christ Church, front office clerk Victoria Briggs also said that bookings there were going steady. They will host a New Year’s Eve Dinner & Show preceded by a cocktail reception with live entertainment by Jerry Roberts and Ayana John. It will be followed by a fashion show, as well and a show by the ACE Dance Centre.

She was unable to say how many more spaces were still available, but noted Divi was getting a large number of reservations.

Ocean 2 Hotel, which is experiencing its third winter season, reported that overall the season was “promising” and continued to be good. Operations manager Paul Collymore told Barbados TODAY that since the hotel had won the Traveller’s Choice Award, was the only hotel on the island to be ranked on Trip Advisor and had received the Certificate Of Excellence for 2013, it had helped with bookings.

As a result its outlook for the next couple of months was very strong, and so it planned to usher in 2014 with the extravaganza The Roaring 1920s, which is opened to guests and locals.

“Every year . . . it is progressively getting better in terms of what we are doing for our guests. We are getting some really good feedback from them in terms of the overall experience, and not one department over the other. So there is nothing really for us to have any concern about. We are doing really good.

“I think what worked for us was the high engagement with the staff and the training development. We don’t wait until a couple weeks before Christmas. Through the year there is engagement of the overall expectations and preparing for guests to come in every day.

“So by the time we get to this period, it is a production that we are putting on for our guests; and it should be pretty much flawless,” said Collymore.

The now traditional fireworks display at the Hilton Barbados is being dubbed as the biggest yet. This Old Year’s Night display will now fire off from the Carlisle Bay side of the property, facing Bridgetown, to cover a wider area and enhance visibility from all angles, director of business development Josea Browne said.

She said: “We know our fireworks display is a major attraction for our guests, as well as Barbadians in general; and this year we are making it even more spectacular. So from Trevor’s Way in Bridgetown right up nearby Pebbles Beach, Barbadians now have even more vantage points to welcome in the New Year while viewing the most extraordinary fireworks show on the island at midnight . . . .” 

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