-- With an eye aimed squarely at the potential represented by the
group market, officials of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association
(Ahata) launched Meet Aruba, its group marketing division.
Ahatas president and CEO, described the move as a bold step for our
He said that the
divisions goal is to be recognized as the best group-marketing
entity in the Caribbean.
We aim to have a
direct sales focus with clear accountability in terms of leads,
bookings and room nights, he said.
The formation of
Meet Aruba represents a clear commitment from Ahata that we are
serious about this market segment and intend to seriously go after
it, he said.
described the group, meetings and incentives market as a very
different type of market, one in which relationships are built on a
The market has
the potential to double room night totals in Aruba, according to
success will be determined by its ability to deliver quality
service to meeting planners, to become experts in enhancing the
quality of each event and to increase attendance, he
destinations that already have a strong toehold in this market,
according to Pesquera, are Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.
The Puerto Rico
Convention Center will be the largest facility of its kind in the
region when it opens next month. Officials there report convention
business already booked for the next five years and
facilities in Aruba, while much smaller, include new ballrooms at
the Marriott and Wyndham properties, a convention center at the
Renaissance Aruba and several smaller venues. Pesquera said a
comprehensive overview of existing facilities is
now constitutes about 10% of the total revenue for the large hotels
in Aruba, he said. We see great potential for growing that revenue
By way of
comparison, Puerto Ricos group and meetings business accounts for
approximately 30% of hotel revenues.
The Meet Aruba
division plans to target the midsize meetings market, representing
between 50 and 200 rooms per event.
If we use
multiple hotels, we could offer between 200 and 800 rooms per
event, Pesquera said.
The Meet Aruba
team includes Scott Wiggins, executive director, who also will
maintain his main post as Ahatas senior director of sales and
director of business development based in New York, will promote
specific niche markets for meetings, including the
African-American, Hispanic, religious and educational
Donna Del Gallo
will work with association and corporate markets in the
Northeast. Mayline Menendez will focus
on corporate and incentive markets in the South.
formulating a strategic business plan now and have a new Web site
under development to support this initiative, Pesquera
The Web site also
will provide planners with another channel of information and
communication with our members, said Pesquera.
The Web site,
when launched, will be at www.meetaruba.com.
on Aruba, including hotels, attractions, restaurants, water sports
and shopping, visit www.aruba.com.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].