‘Filling up fast’ for America’s Cup
Hotels and guest houses are filling up fast ahead of next year's America's Cup. Four guest houses told The Royal Gazette they are either already fully booked or nearly close to capacity.
Hoteliers say they are “ramping up staff” in preparation for the mega sailing event that starts next May.
Yesterday, Bermuda Tourism Authority urged visitors to make plans as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Bill Hanbury, the BTA's CEO, said: “Anyone who needs hotels, restaurants and event space during the America's Cup should be bringing their plans together right now. We expect high demand during the five-week race calendar and we don't want local stakeholders to be disappointed.”
The Rosemont, Coral Beach & Tennis Club, Oxford House and Royal Palms all told The Royal Gazette they were preparing for the showpiece, which has long been billed as a major boost for Bermuda's tourism industry.
Nik Bhola, general manager at Coral Beach, believes that the America's Cup is a “unique opportunity” for the industry and is hoping his hotel will leave an impression on visitors.
“We have been maintaining a database of our members who have expressed interest in the America's Cup period,” he said. “We announced our booking policy to our members this month, and have received plenty of positive feedback, and have started to make reservations. At this point we are still accepting reservation requests, but inquiries are very strong and filling up fast.
“Coral Beach & Tennis Club has 57 units. We have been working on physical improvements throughout the club, including our food and beverage outlets, the beach and tennis experience and now our guest room renovations.
“We are ramping up our staffing and training in order to deliver a member experience commensurate with this world-class event.
“We will also be developing customised on-water experiences for our members, and making our venue available to members for entertainment.
“This is a very positive impact to tourism and the island as a whole. We are presented with a unique opportunity and I am confident that all service providers will rise to the occasion, work together and put their best foot forward.
“We must deliver during this event, so that visitors are encouraged to return many times over and continue to experience all Bermuda has to offer.”
Neal Stephens, owner and manager of the Rosemont, said: “Right now we are almost close to being sold out. We have been booked by the organisation so the TV crews and events staff will be staying here.
“We have around five rooms left out of a total of 48. We haven't really been doing anything out of the ordinary to prepare for guests, but I believe that the event will benefit the island as a whole as the island will be full just like the Newport to Bermuda race — but for five weeks instead of one.”
A spokeswoman for the Royal Palms Hotel, added: “We are currently sold out during the time of the America's Cup. As soon as the dates were confirmed bookings were made. We have quite a few people on the waitlist so we are hoping to be able to slip them in if we can, as we only have 32 rooms available in total.”
Oxford House has been booked out following the Louis Vuitton World Series last October, said owner Ann Smith.
“We have been doing very, very well and have been sold out over the months. However, it is early yet, and we do keep rooms open for our regular businessmen as we only have 12 rooms available in total. We only just started taking bookings for the America's Cup as we didn't want to book so far ahead in case of cancellations. There is also a lot going on around that time so we are trying to be very careful.”
Mr Hanbury added: “If you haven't nailed down your America's Cup hospitality by the end of the year, you've waited too long. It will be a high-demand period for hotels and vacation rentals. No doubt about it.
“However, today there is inventory available and that's why we're encouraging people to act now because availability will become more and more scarce from this point forward. We are continuously communicating with the Ministry, the Department of Airport Operations and the airlines about capacity.
“As a result of those conversations the airlines certainly have America's Cup on their radar and I expect they will address any capacity challenges since it means additional revenue for their bottom lines.”