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Small-hotel rescue plan

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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A three-pronged approach could be the key to improving the operations of small hotels in Barbados, says chairman of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados Kashka Haynes.

In an interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, he said that while he and his board of directors will be meeting soon to chart their way for the next two years of their tenure, increasing hotel occupancy, devising an improved marketing strategy and reducing the cost of doing business in Barbados could see an improved bottom line for the group’s more than 40 members.

“Occupancy within the group, Intimate Hotels, I think kind of reflects the industry overall. We have about a 60 per cent occupancy through the year, which is not bad when you think about it from one perspective but from another perspective, that means that 40 per cent of the year there’s nothing but wind blowing through the rooms so we need to boost occupancy,” he said.

“[One way] to do that is to focus on our marketing initiatives. We need to double down on our marketing particularly what we do online and also with what we do with our on the ground opportunities.

“The second thing we have to do is to improve our guest stay retention. We have to make sure that sure that when we have guests that come in any hotel in the Intimate group that when they leave, we’ve done such a good job that there’s a very high chance of them repeating coming to Barbados and repeating coming to one of our hotels within the intimate group. The best way to achieve that is by setting very high standards and sustaining [them] both from a service perspective and the operations,” the small hotelier added.

Haynes emphasised that the hoteliers really have to work hard on improving the economic framework in which business is done, which the industry has been seeking to do in collaboration with the Government.

“We have to find way to drive down the cost of doing business. That is absolutely critical. It’s the model that works, you don’t have to look any further than what Mr. [Gordon ] “Butch” Stewart has been able to do with his Sandals product. It’s a fabulous product, it seems to be highly profitable and one of the keys to his success is to have the lowest possible cost model,” Haynes said, adding that a low tax model would allow for profits to be reinvestment in the business. (Green Bananas Media)