Bermuda hoteliers predict poor occupancy levels
Hoteliers have predicted poor occupancy levels this winter, but are hoping special packages will entice tourists and locals to their resorts.
Between January and March 2010 the largest seven hotels on the Island reported 35 percent occupancy, down from 37 percent in 2009. That low figure was attributed to large winter storms in the US, which caused several flight cancellations, as well as a weak US economy. The 2011 occupancy levels for the first three months of the year could be lower than last year, hoteliers said last night.
Shelley Meszoly, regional director of sales and marketing for Fairmont Bermuda, said: “Unfortunately our bookings for The Fairmont Southampton in January and February 2011 are substantially down compared with 2010, which was not a good year to start with. “We have been bolstering our occupancy levels by running incredible room sales.”
Both Fairmont hotels are participating in the Bermuda Department of Tourism's Compliments of Bermuda sale where every third night is free.
“While our room sales have been successful, selling rooms at such low rates is not something that makes sense financially over the long-term,” she added.
General Manger of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Jonathan Crellin agreed that the winter season would be weak, however he said he believed hotels would not have to offer as many incentives this coming summer. “We have already seen group bookings increase for the 2011 summer season,” he said.
Stronger group bookings would help hotels increase their occupancy levels and reduce the number of packages offered during the Island's peak season, he added. Frank Stocek, general manager of Elbow Beach Hotel, said he too believed December to March would be quiet and “at similar levels to last year”.
He added: “A proper economic recovery in our prime markets is still a ways off and appears to be slow in coming.”
Regarding the hotel's focus on the boutique cottage market, he said: “We are pleased that our new business model has been so well accepted by our guests and allows us to be more efficient and offer better value to our guests and keep us strong as we move forward.”
David Dodwell Jr. said the Reefs is predicting similar low occupancy levels for the winter but has seen interest in their residents' rate from locals, which covers one night in a room with breakfast and dinner for $299.
The hoteliers who spoke with
The Royal Gazette are offering various incentives to attract locals and tourist to their hotels.
The Fairmonts and Elbow Beach are involved in the Compliments of Bermuda offer, and the Fairmonts are also offering package deals for various New Year's Eve events at the hotels with special room rates as well.