Atlantis Resort Bookings Up 25%


Atlantis' room bookings are up near 25 per cent year-over-year for January, the resort's senior executive said yesterday, despite group bookings showing no sign of a short-term turnaround.

George Markantonis told Tribune Business that bookings for the first two months of 2010 are up marginally over 2009 levels, indicating Atlantis is expecting a slight drop in February, but March at the Paradise Island property is expected to exceed expectations.

According to Mr Markantonis, Atlantis has been maintaining its business through leisure bookings after losing the important group booking market last year, due to the economic downturn. Though, he does not expect group bookings to be strong again until 2011, the Kerzner International (Bahamas) managing director is confident that reservations could still come in this year.

"They do book in the year for the year," said Mr Markantonis.

He added that the US, the resort's largest market, was still feeling the effects of the recession due to high unemployment, so Bahamas hotels were feeling the pinch from lower than normal occupancies.

Mr Markantonis said Atlantis has been running marginally ahead of last year, the increase coming from the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Invitational and the Jerry Seinfeld comedy show, which drew 2,700 attendees.

He added that the resort, as a part of its marketing, tries to put on 'one-of-a-kind' shows and concerts designed to draw guests from abroad.

"Our goal is to do at least one a month," Mr Markantonis said. "We pick and choose, and do specific high-end, one-of-a-kind shows that you must come to the Bahamas to see."

The resort is also involved in a promotion introduced by the Ministry of Tourism that allows the second of two passengers to fly to the Bahamas for free, based on a vacation package deal.

Mr Markantonis said the resort has already seen positive bookings from the recent promotion. "It's a fantastic offer that the Government, through the Ministry and promotion board, was able to collaborate with us on to pull this off," he said.

An intense marketing campaign is also ongoing in the US, with Atlantis spending millions on television and print ads, as well as radio spots.

The resort also reopened its Seagrapes Buffet in December, and added a multi-million dollar Kids Adventure facility, which together took on almost 150 new employees.

"If anything, that is something positive," said Mr Markantonis.

He said Atlantis' marina had continued to do well throughout the downturn, while many cruise ship visitors have been routed to Atlantis as a shore excursion option.

"There has not been a slowdown in the yacht traffic, and cruise ship passengers have been heavy," Mr Markantonis said.

"I'm very optimistic about 2010 being better than 2009, and 2011 onwards will be great. We have become smarter in the last two years and have learned how to operate better, how to manage resources better and how to market better."

He added that timeshare inventory was sold out, with very little vacation blocks left to sell.

"We don't have very much capacity left," Mr Markantonis said.

Source: The Tribune