To help meet the needs of small, independent hoteliers in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), in conjunction with the St. Kitts & Nevis Hotel & Tourism Association, will host its annual retreat at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino in St. Kitts from Oct. 1 to 3.

While the event's primary audience is small hotels consisting of 75 rooms or less, the conference is open to all CHTA members.

"Small and independent hotels still comprise a large percentage of accommodations throughout the Caribbean and make up a significant portion of CHTA's membership, but competing with large hotels which have vast marketing budgets has become increasingly difficult," said Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, CHTA president.

Kaluche described the retreat as a forum for hoteliers to discuss challenges and strategies. "It is an opportunity where we as a group can take proactive steps to increase consumer appeal for privately owned boutique hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean," he said.

The majority of hotels in St. Kitts and Nevis fall within the small-hotel category, ranging from plantation inns to mid-market hotels and dive resorts.

"Our small hotels need to better prepare and position themselves to serve individual niche markets with a more personalized experience," said Ricky Skerritt, St. Kitts minister of tourism.

The small-hotels retreat was first held in the mid-1980s and ran annually until 2000. After a seven-year hiatus, the conference reappeared in 2007 and was hosted by the Barbados Hotel Association in conjunction with CHTA.

To register for this year's conference, visit CHTA's website.

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