As part of its ongoing efforts to provide marketing and technical support to the territory’s small hotels, the Tourism Department will sponsor the third annual Small Hotels Conference in late September.
On St. Thomas, the conference will be held Sept. 27 at the Sugar Bay Resort and Spa. The conference will be held Sept. 28 at The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix. Times for both events are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Supporting our destination’s small hotels with marketing and training is an important part of our strategy to enhance our tourism product and assist local businesses,” Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty said. “We are pleased to continue our support of our territory’s small hotels as part of our dedicated marketing plan for this segment.”
Tourism defines small hotels as those with 50 rooms or less. According to Tourism spokesman Allegra Kean-Moorehead, there are about two dozen hotels each on St. Thomas and St. Croix that fit that category, with another dozen on St. John.
She said that villa owners and managers are also welcome to attend the conference.
The conference will offer four panel discussions, a lunch presentation and one customer service session, providing small hotels with important marketing techniques and operational information to help enhance their businesses, a Tourism press release indicated.
The first workshop, Marketing Your Small Hotel, will focus on how hoteliers can utilize public relations and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to increase awareness and build customer loyalty.
The next presentation, Energy Efficiency for Small Hotels, brings together representatives from the V.I. Water and Power Authority, the V.I. Energy Office and local solar supply companies to provide energy and money-saving tips and tools to conference participants.
The hospitality research experts at Smith’s Travel Research will also report on the industry’s current trends and forecasts.
Security experts from the Police Department and the private sector will offer tips on safety and security measures that small hotels can implement in the Safety and Security for Small Hotels panel.
The session on Enhancing and Updating Your Hotel Property will address the importance of property enhancements and beautification. Interior designers and landscaping experts will discuss creative ideas, while financial experts will speak about loan and investment opportunities available for small hoteliers.
Concluding each day will be a “train the trainer” seminar, which will be led by Bryan Williams of BW Enterprises and will focus on helping hotel owners to motivate their teams to deliver exceptional customer service and improve the guest experience.
In 2009 the Tourism Department launched a comprehensive marketing plan to promote the small hotel segment, which included the development of the continuing Inntimate Treasures package, a dedicated ad campaign, a small hotels section on Tourism’s bimonthly newsletter, separate identification for the small hotel segment on Tourism’s website, www.visitusvi.com, and a small hotels brochure featuring photos and descriptions of all of the small hotels in the territory.
To participate in the free conference, advance registration is required.
Small hoteliers on St. Croix should contact Carlotta Luis at 772-0357 or email email@example.com.
Hoteliers in the St. Thomas/St. John district should contact Keezi Pinney at 774-8784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.