Boardroom with a view
It’s a tantalising prospect for any CEO or corporate executive — the opportunity to escape to the beach after a long day spent in meeting rooms or at a conference.
It is made all the more compelling when described by Elbow Beach Bermuda’s Heather Lamb.
“We have board of directors meetings here. They come to Bermuda in private jets and then they are stuck in meeting rooms all day. The greatest thing to do after that is to walk down to the beach and put their toes in the sand,” said Ms Lamb.
As the resort’s new corporate and group sales manager, making the hotel enticing to corporate clients is all part of the job. But while the meeting rooms-to-beach scenario might sound like a piece of wishful marketing, it is hard to ignore when you stand on the balcony outside the conference and meeting rooms as realise how close you are to the resort’s half-mile of private beach.
Elbow Beach, on South Shore Road, Paget, is positioning itself once more as a resort destination able to accommodate corporate events, meetings and functions. It recently reopened 4,500 square feet of meeting space, bringing its total to 9,000 sq ft.
“We have everything from small board rooms to the mini ballroom that can accommodate up to 120 people,” explained Ms Lamb.
Some of the conference rooms, including the large Ocean and Paget suites, have direct access to a wide balcony that has commanding views over the resort’s swimming pool and the ocean beyond.
The meeting rooms can be used for training seminars, strategic planning meetings and the like, said Ms Lamb.
“CEOs sometimes want to take meetings outside the office to remove people from distractions, such as e-mails, and put them in an environment where they can think outside the box,” she added.
However, the resort faces some stiff competition as it seeks to attract clients in the local and overseas corporate meetings and travel marketplace. The Island’s two Fairmont hotels, particularly the Hamilton Princess, have a significant presence in the corporate events sector.
Elbow Beach is targeting small to medium-sized groups of up to 150, explained Ms Lamb, who is a Bermudian and has extensive experience in sales and hospitality. She said enquiries from larger groups would be referred to bigger venues on the Island.
When looking to attract small to medium-sized groups, Elbow Beach has “more of a competitive edge”, she said.
“We have things such as the balconies with the views, the sunshine, and we are only seven minutes away from Hamilton and 20 minutes from the airport.
“There is enough business out there for all of us. I believe we will be competitive.”
In 2009 the main hotel building was closed to allow the property to be a revamped.
In April last year the resort shed its Mandarin brand label and launched as an independent hotel. The ground floor in the main hotel building, which includes the meeting spaces, lobby and library lounge and bar, has been reopened. The guestrooms in the upper floors remain out of use, awaiting a decision on their future use.
The resort’s cottages are open, offering 98 guest rooms. Also open is the Lido complex of restaurants overlooking the ocean, the swimming pool and spa, fitness centre and beach amenities. Elbow Beach also has complimentary, resort-wide Wi-Fi, which includes the beach area.
Ms Lamb pointed out that Elbow Beach’s location, natural surroundings and ocean views were ideal for the staging of high-profile events. Last month a media conference for the America’s Cup was held at the resort.
Team-building exercises have also been accommodated.
In the next few weeks Elbow Beach is to launch a marketing programme to highlight its offerings. Expected to feature in this will be packages that include incentives such as spa discounts or select tee-times at Island golf courses.
Ms Lamb has previously worked in hotels in the US, and in Bermuda at the Cambridge Beaches Resort and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.
When asked what she felt the future holds Elbow Beach Bermuda, she said: “It has been a long road since 2009 when the hospitality sector was hit.
“When I walk around the hotel I see smiles on the faces of the maintenance staff and the housekeepers. There is a new revitalised energy. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Rehanna Palumbo, director of sales and marketing at the resort, said Ms Lamb’s appointment “shows Elbow’s beach commitment to being the first choice for companies or individuals planning meetings and events at our beautiful resort or staying here to do business in Bermuda”.
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