Resort Bookings Lower In 2009

Kerzner's managing director is pointing to Atlantis seeing the lowest convention business bookings in over five years, with leisure bookings down 25 percent.

"Compared to 2007, we're probably trailing by about 25 percent, the biggest impact is not in leisure business even through we're trailing [there]," George Markantonis, also the president of Kerzner International Bahamas, told reporters yesterday. "The issue that we are facing, as all of our colleagues in The Bahamas are, is the convention business... the groups.

"If you were to look at our history over the last five years I can tell you that statistically 2010 has the lowest amount of bookings of what we term definite for conventions."

He notes, however, that people are booking their travel plans much closer to the date.

"So it's quite possible that we will pick up most of that percentage," Markantonis added. "I can tell you it's the highest number of groups that we've had in [the] tentative [category], which means they are thinking about us.

"They'll probably come, but they haven't signed that contract. So all of our effort is to make sure that we figure out ways to get them to sign."

The hotel is now gearing up to launch what Markantonis called "interesting tactics" to attract groups to stay at Atlantis. They include offering more value for money that will see those tentative bookings be converted into actual reservations.

His statement comes as hotels in New Providence and Paradise Island project low revenue in the month of November, even as they prepare for higher occupancy rates than those seen last year as the North American Thanksgiving travel season picks up.

"Projected hotel occupancies for November are slightly above last year," Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) President Robert Sands told Guardian Business in an earlier interview. "While we expect higher occupancies, room revenue will be down."

It's a factor coming as a result of aggressive promotional packages now being offered to travelers, he said, in an effort for this destination to remain competitive in the marketplace. That move follows continuous declines in the amount of stopover visitors winging their way into the country.

This year a tough U.S. economy has stymied vacation plans for cash-strapped Americans, contributing to a more than 13 percent decrease in air arrivals to this nation compared to the same period in 2008.

Source: The Nassau Guardian
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2009 08:20