Adrian Loveridge, Peach and Quiet

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Closing Dover Convention Centre Was a Mistake

conference roomI was recently involved in helping an overseas organisation source a meeting space and accommodation for around 25 persons for later this month and was surprised just how complicated it became, even though it is taking place in our softer summer period.

Despite decisions taken in the past as to where to geographically locate conference and meeting facilities, the vast majority of organizers and attendees overwhelmingly prefer to have accommodation within close proximity, if not an integral part of the lodging offering. That’s why the closure of the former Dover Convention Centre was probably one of the most unwise policy decisions made by any government during our tourism history in my humble opinion.

By virtually any standards, accommodation and a suitable meeting space for a small number like 25, should not present so many challenges, but in this case it necessitated contacting ten different hotels. Only six responded at all, and of the ones who did we ended up with a shortlist of one, within the clients time lines to allow sufficient time to invite and make travel plans for the possible and confirmed delegates.

The Dover Conference Centre gave so many options with a huge range of accommodation choices at nearly all budgets within easy walking distance. It also gave the stand alone restaurants and bars in The Gap the chance to benefit. This is particularly attractive, especially to first time visitors.

When the proposed Hyatt and Westin finally open both with extensive incorporated event spaces, of course there will be more possibilities to attract larger conferences and events. But there still remains a void in the smaller meeting facility offerings and I wonder if we should not be looking at this, if it is the national intention to support the small hotel sub-sector.

Our current 100 plus small hotels (under 75 rooms) are already under a considerable trading disadvantage, when compared to the new construction larger entrants into the accommodation pool, even if you dismiss the extraordinary tax concessions granted to a tiny few.

Few can doubt the employment these massive hotels can generate, but surely this should not be the only consideration. A question that still has to be answered is where are we going to find the hundreds of staff and management who are trained to at least a 4 star standard to protect the integrity of these global brand names?

Will a systematic programme of training be put into place shortly, recruiting and exposing employees to a level of service taken for granted by guests attracted to these established groups?

The clear danger is that if this does not take place prior to opening, once again our cherished visitors will be exposed the word ‘transition’ which regrettably was repeated time after time to justify below par service when we stayed at one the recently re-opened big name south coast hotels.

For a long time our small hotels have dominated the highest guest satisfaction ratings in forums like TripAdvisor and other critical decision making social media sites.

Presumably, that also relates to the repeat level of returnees to our shores.

Should we not question what exactly differentiates us as a destination from others, when they also may offer a large proportion of identical concrete slabs of rooms, but which are totally devoid to the architecture of their environs?

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19 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Closing Dover Convention Centre Was a Mistake”

  1. Anthony Davis September 5, 2016 at 4:03 AM #

    How come you are so sure that the Hyatt will be built? No permission has been given yet. Do you want more “concrete slabs” on our beaches? I don’t!

    Like

  2. David September 5, 2016 at 6:27 AM #

    @Adrian

    Surprised you were not able to find a solution at Savannah,Mariotts,Radisson etc.

    Like

  3. Adrian Loveridge September 5, 2016 at 7:57 AM #

    David, two of the three you mentioned did not even bother to respond. When I think of the three decades we have spent enticing guests, it hugely disappointing.

    Like

  4. chad99999 September 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM #

    Am I missing something?
    For twenty years, the Barbados government has supported a Hospitality Institute at the Community College. Why is there a shortage of trained managers and staff for new hotel projects like the Hyatt and Westin?

    Like

  5. Artax September 5, 2016 at 10:22 AM #

    A few weeks ago I wrote in a contribution to BU that Sandy Lane Hotel advertised a vacancy for a Chef de Cuisine and would subsequently advertise they did not receive any suitable applicants.

    And it came to pass that on page 4 of the Friday, September 2, 2016 edition of the Weekend Nation, there was a notice from Sandy Lane indicating:

    “Having received no suitable applications to our advertisement for the position of Chef de Cuisine, it is our intention to submit an application for a work permit for a non-national to fill this position.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David September 5, 2016 at 10:40 AM #

    We should admit that international brands and hotels operating at the highend will always want to bring their people in to monitor standards. Of course it would not be tolerated in Singapore where work permits are issued on condition of the local understudy taking over.

    Like

  7. ac September 5, 2016 at 11:32 AM #

    Few can doubt the employment these massive hotels can generate, but surely this should not be the only consideration. A question that still has to be answered is where are we going to find the hundreds of staff and management who are trained to at least a 4 star standard to protect the integrity of these global brand names?

    Why now at the eleventh hour should barbados have to make quick and fast decision.? the fact being that barbados was warned and being prepared for an onslaught of the global community and some here snickered and laugh to scorn the impact which the global community would have on this island and some still do with a smack of arrogance and a need to feel that barbados can live in a world of isolation.
    Well the global tide has rolled in and barbados is not feeling the effect our great teaching drawn from the books of pessimism and procrastination has done us no good we are feeling the pinch of a world progressively moving forward while or failures and weaknesses stick out like a sore thumb as we continue to drag our feet
    Arrogance ! pessimism and unpreparedness has all but put us in free fall ,When will we ever learn

    Like

  8. Bush Tea September 5, 2016 at 11:52 AM #

    @ Chad99999999
    Am I missing something?
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    Think Boss!!
    If you found yourself being BEGGED to come and take control of another man’s home….
    Would you then turn around and put that same man (or any of his retarded family) in charge of your place..? ….for him to turn around and give it away again…?

    …think the people are brass bowls too?
    If you find a jackass
    …you ride him….no matter how long he has had ‘education’…..

    Like

  9. chad99999 September 5, 2016 at 2:29 PM #

    Incidentally, both the Mona and St. Augustine campuses of UWI offer advanced degrees in hospitality and tourism management.

    Like

  10. William Skinner September 7, 2016 at 2:33 AM #

    @ ac
    You stated:”Why now at the eleventh hour should barbados have to make quick and fast decision.? the fact being that barbados was warned and being prepared for an onslaught of the global community and some here snickered and laugh to scorn the impact which the global community would have on this island and some still do with a smack of arrogance and a need to feel that barbados can live in a world of isolation.
    Well the global tide has rolled in and barbados is not feeling the effect our great teaching drawn from the books of pessimism and procrastination has done us no good we are feeling the pinch of a world progressively moving forward while or failures and weaknesses stick out like a sore thumb as we continue to drag our feet
    Arrogance ! pessimism and unpreparedness has all but put us in free fall ,When will we ever learn”
    You are absolutely correct. I would go further and say that no industry has dragged its feet more than those in tourism. They have been nothing more than whiners and sophisticated beggars and parasites with their blatant acts of racism and other negatives. They have blamed: successive governments, the union, the hotel workers, the beach vendors and everything and everybody for their perfect lack of vision. I maintain there is a reason why after sixty years plus , we cannot produce a Butch Stewart or a brand such as Sandals.

    Like

  11. ac September 7, 2016 at 6:13 AM #

    Any one who read Butch Stuart biography would see that the man started out in humble beginnings was not privileged to free education , at the age of seventeen he became a salesman but he had the determination and drive to be successful. His success should be a teaching in school for the upcoming entrepreneur.

    Like

  12. ac September 7, 2016 at 6:24 AM #

    The reason why Barbados cannot produce a Butch Stuart is for all the same reasons made mentioned in my earlier comment ac September 5, 2016 at 11:32 AM #.Also one can apply Jealousy never wanting to hear or engage alternative views or ideas , In other words barbadians in general are an unteachable bunch set in their ways and determined to stick to old plans and formulas
    In barbados no one in the educational system would see Butch as a source from which they can draw upon his knowledge to the advantage and advancement of the young entrepreneur. However in international countries where business is appreciated he would be a welcomed source and a textbook example for success

    Like

  13. David September 7, 2016 at 7:09 AM #

    A pity Barbados was so eager to let our local brands fritter away to nothing by selling out to others. The Almond brand comes to mind. Other brands like Barbados Shipping & Trading and Barbados National Bank etc tells an even bigger story. We need to support homegrown like the Jamaicans, Bahamians, smaller islands in the Eastern Caribbean. B

    Like

  14. ac September 7, 2016 at 8:09 AM #

    Well the fritters started with inept management which goes back to a lack of a good indepth business planning which was destined to fail and in the long run financial ruination reared its ugly head giving no other options but to sell.
    A business needs more than capital but good management which can steer the ship in good times and bad.The almond brand lacked all

    Like

  15. millertheannunaki September 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM #

    @ ac September 7, 2016 at 8:09 AM
    “A business needs more than capital but good management which can steer the ship in good times and bad.The almond brand lacked all..”

    Such an assessment would be deemed to be more than a rare scintilla of brilliance if it were not being regurgitated from the guts of a feckless bare-neck yardfowl.

    Let me plagiarize your ‘erudite’ statement by making a few adjustments:
    “A [Government] needs more than [Taxes] but good management which can steer the ship [of state] in good times and bad. The [current DLP administration] lack(s) all”.
    Bingo! What Truth has now been spoken by the hypocritical ac consortium.

    BTW, when is your administration going to implement its much propagandized privatization programme to bring the hundreds of millions of foreign exchange over the next 3 months as boldly announced by Stinkliar?

    But it seems as if DLP twisted twine of lies and empty promises are indeed longer than Time. Now tell us what is the difference between your deceitful lying party administration and the so-called inept management of the former Almond?

    When are the people of Barbados going to have the opportunity to invest in the GAIA as promised by the MoF in his June 2012 presentation of empty promises:
    We the DLP administration will:
    “Undertake an Initial Public Offering of 30% of the shares of Grantley Adams International Airport Inc, the Oil Company and Barbados Port Authority, and the listing of these companies on the Barbados Stock Exchange. Over the next few months, a valuation of the entities will be undertaken and the IPO process initiated. The listing of these three major entities on the stock exchange will serve to inject some much needed life in the exchange. The IPO process will be undertaken in a manner that will ensure broad share ownership which promotes economic democracy and market liquidity.”

    Like

  16. ac September 7, 2016 at 10:42 AM #

    @miller
    Only a political yardfowl would plagarize a comment and brand it with political fowl s. hit to persuade

    Like

  17. millertheannunaki September 7, 2016 at 11:06 AM #

    @ ac September 7, 2016 at 10:42 AM #
    “Only a political yardfowl would plagarize a comment and brand it with political fowl s. hit to persuade..”

    Lol! I like that riposte real bad, ac. I can see you are fully covered in persuasion.

    You are getting ‘good’. Keep it up.

    Like

  18. Artax September 7, 2016 at 1:04 PM #

    millertheannunaki September 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM #

    “Let me plagiarize your ‘erudite’ statement by making a few adjustments: A [Government] needs more than [Taxes] but good management which can steer the ship [of state] in good times and bad. The [current DLP administration] lack(s) all. Bingo! What Truth has now been spoken by the hypocritical ac consortium.”

    @ millertheannunaki

    Brilliant!!!!!!

    The consortium has a way of being “truthfully critical” of this inept DLP administration, but direct the comments elsewhere.

    Like

  19. Tanner Stam September 10, 2016 at 6:26 AM #

    travel advice

    Like

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