Veteran hotel executive has come full circle
Things have come full circle for Bermudian Rehanna Palumbo who has returned to the hotel property she first started her career at as the new director of sales & marketing for Elbow Beach.
She started at the beginning of February, leaving a 14-year career at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess where she held several positions prior to being promoted to the director of sales and marketing there.
The veteran hospitality executive, who has more than 25 years experience, has replaced Randy Wilcott who moved to sister property Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas in October.
“I’ve always loved the hotel,” said Ms Palumbo of Elbow Beach. “I started my career here when I graduated Bermuda College in hotel management. I’m pleased to come back as the director of sales and marketing. It’s a beautiful property to be representing and a great brand to be working for.”
The hotel, managed by the Mandarin Oriental and offers 98 rooms in the garden area, has been closed since January but will reopen this Friday for the high season, which really kicks into gear from May until October.
Ms Palumbo’s main goal is to drive “business into the hotel and to the Island,” she said. She adds that she is bringing her extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry and her relationships with both local and international clientele to the job.
She will oversee a local sales team, which consists of six staff members as well as a sales representative in Washington, DC.
Ms Palumbo is excited for her new role and says she’ll be using Elbow Beach’s advantages to help draw new and returning clients back to Bermuda.
“There are so many opportunities here — Elbow Beach has the best beach on the Island,” she said. “Mandarin is a luxury brand, known for the properties they represent. Taking advantage of the Mandarin connection will definitely help.”
She acknowledges that as a destination, Bermuda is struggling because of low-cost competition around the world but she welcomes the challenge.
“We’re going to go after that luxury clientele and really selling an experience for guests coming to Elbow Beach,” she said.
The hotel has recently partnered with several maritime partners in Bermuda to offer guests a complete package of activities.
Whereas other destinations guests are gated in and don’t travel the country, Elbow is selling “the entire Island as the resort.”
Elbow Beach’s target market is primarily the East Coast of the US but also Europe and the UK, both individual leisure client but also business and group sales.
While reunions and weddings are significant business for the hotel, so too is the honeymoon experience.
Elbow Beach is near and dear to Ms Palumbo’s heart in that regard and she can offer guests a unique perspective.
“I’ve always had a special part of my heart here — this is where I had my wedding,” she said.
Her first round of guests is arriving Friday, which is an incentive group. Ms Palumbo and Elbow Beach are planning on rolling out the red carpet and providing extra special attention.
“Absolutely,” she said.