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By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Nassau/Paradise hotel industry is aiming to "hoist" average daily room rates (ADRs) in 2012 to drive further room revenue increases, as nights sold and room revenue in December 2011 increased by 5.1 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively year-over-year.
According to preliminary statistics released by the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, the 14-major New Providence hotels showed continued improvement in December, with "increases in several key metrics".
Room nights sold increased by 5.1 per cent and hotel room revenue by 6.5 per compared to December 2010, ...
Every hotel in Nassau "will be full" come Thanksgiving 2011, an Atlantis' top executive has predicted, as the resort celebrates the Bahamas achieving NCAA 'exempt status', which will pave the way for it to host a major pre-season college basketball tournament.
Kerzner International (Bahamas) president and managing director, George Markantonis, said the 'Battle 4 Atlantis' event will boost employment levels at the resort during the traditionally slower
The world's largest online travel company is reporting more than 50 percent of its Caribbean portfolio represents small hotels, creating tremendous benefits for the region.
"It's becoming Expedia's fastest growing segment of business for the Caribbean, according to Marco Taglitti, the company's vice president of lodging for Latin America & the Caribbean.
Taglitti admitted to Guardian Business that the inventory of small hotels in The Bahamas is a bit less than other destinations in the region, but the country's growth rate is in line with the rest of the Caribbean. Out of the 90 hotels that Expedia currently offers, only 25 of them are considered to be small.
"The Bahamas doesn't have available rooms like Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. I think Bahamas ranks fourth after Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. This is driven by the number of rooms available," he shared.
"However, we are looking forward to more rooms being available in The Bahamas. Based on the growth number that we're seeing, we think that we can keep selling The Bahamas very well."
Roberta Garzaroli, director of public relationships for Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, said that Expedia has allowed the establishment to reach the next level due to the exposure and rate strategy.
"We appreciate their partnership and what the brand represents for us," she said.
Taglitti pointed out that small hotel partners are defined as hotels with 50 rooms or less. Overall, the company has 30 percent year on year increase in that sector.
In the Caribbean, small hotels make up more than 50 percent of Expedia's Caribbean portfolio and 74 percent of all 2012 Caribbean acquisitions.
"For the Caribbean, the segment is the fastest growing. The numbers are pretty favorable because with a channel like Expedia, small hotels have immediate access to an audience that they wouldn't normally have access to without Expedia," Taglitti shared.
The increase, Taglitti said, is a trend that the company has been noticing for the past two to three years for the entire Caribbean and Mexican market.
"We are seeing an increase. We started to notice after this crisis, I think maybe there is a correlation. We have seen our customers become more price sensitive. Since then, we have seen a growing interest for hotels," he explained.
"Our objective is to have a full range of products to meet the needs of our customers."
Meantime, the Expedia executive also confirmed that 2012 was a great year for The Bahamas, as the room nights portion of Expedia's business grew by 40 percent and continues to show promise in 2013.
More than 50 million travelers visit Expedia group travel sites each month, which includes more than 140 branded sites in 70 countries.