CARNIVAL 2018 recap: Hotel occupancy up in Bahamas Carnival weekend

Revelers stop for a photo during the 2018 Bahamas Carnival Road Fever march on Saturday.

Small local hotel proprieties reaped the benefits of Bahamas Carnival over the weekend and reported a significant percentage boost in room occupancy during a traditionally slow period.

Eyewitness News visited a number of proprieties that spilled over with international and local guests, who came specifically for the three-day, non-stop party event that began on Friday at Clifford park and ended Sunday on Arawak with an all-day fete.

Sonia Bain, general manager at the Holiday Inn Express said, this is the first year the hotel property has ben able to partner with organizers, as the hotel was recently rebranded.

Although there were no special offers, due to franchise obligations, the hotel was able to set a $190 nightly rate, which many customers took advantage of.

“We had a lot of persons locals and visitors come in for the event. They were really excited to participate and the rates are within their reach,” Bain said.

She added that in the local hotel market, many similar proprieties would average around 60 per cent occupancy for this time of year, but they were booked at around 90 per cent for the weekend.

“The Bahamas Carnival has really helped during this slow time and we are happy to partner with any event that helps us be ambassadors for our country, and helps us to build repeat visitors,” she said.

The Breezes Resort, which served as the artist village for the event, also boasted an increase in occupancy. Officials who spoke to Eyewitness News via phone said, the resort prided itself on being able to offer quality and private service to the entertainers. Officials added that the event has become a staple on their calendar and occupancy has increased by about 15 per cent because of it.

Other major resorts including Baha Mar and Atlantis also noted an increase in business over the weekend, however officials were not available for further comment up until press time.

Devin Cox, manager at the Orange Hill, who also spoke with Eyewitness News by phone yesterday, reported a 100 per cent occupancy rate, noting that guests began booking from early February for the event. He said he believes the event – now in its forth year – is gaining popularity internationally, which bodes well for business.

“The event has really caught on,” Cox said.

“It’s something that our locals and guests have begun to expect and we of course reap the benefits.”

“Events like this give us that extra push to carry us over and we support it.”

This is the first year that Bahamas Carnival has been void of government funding, which also meant lack of advertising from the Ministry of Tourism.

Now fully privatized and operated by Polantra Media, the hotel operator opined that the event has already created a name for itself.

“Even without government, the interest from previous years was still here and I think this year we had even more international guest,” he said.

“We had guests from Jamaica, Trinidad and New York.  I think we tapped into something special that we should continue.”