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#536694 06/07/19 06:41 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Join us on Wednesday July 3, 2019 for our Annual General Meeting, where you can hear what the Association has been doing for you for the past year and new projects for the upcoming 2019/2020 membership year.

Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Mr. Manny Melendez, Field Marketing Director of TravelClick, will be discussing Revenue Management and how to make it work for you. The morning seminar, hosted by Expedia and ADARA, will focus on Data Driven marketing and new marketing strategies that can improve the way you do business. Guest Speaker Raphael Saul will inspire you on how to enhance your business approach and increase sales.

Call us at 223-0669 or email us at [email protected] to confirm your attendance.

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The Belize Hotel Association holds its Annual General Meeting on July 3rd at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. Our guests talked to us about the growth of the industry. On set:

Ted Tejada - President, Belize Hotel Association
Sherry Constantino - Board Member, Belize Hotel Association

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BHA Talks Improving Efficiencies

The focus for this AGM was all about revenue management, and how to increase the annual earnings of all hotel owners - an an era when services like Airb'nb are cutting into their overnight market.  

So, to help them be more efficient, their executives invited some of the top performing tourism experts from around the world, to offer some of their tried and tested advice. 

7News stopped by the Biltmore today were we spoke with the Association's President, who told us that the local tourism industry is now adapting the use of technology to be more cost efficient:

Ted Tejeda - President, Belize Hotel Association
"Building in Belize City, and San Pedro is very expensive. In Belize City, it would cost you around $100,00 to complete a room. So, if you have an amount of rooms, and you're not building this year, you want to increase your revenue every year, at least by the inflation rate of 3.5%. So, with the same amount of rooms that you have, we brought some experts to tell you how can you increase your revenue, without having to build. One of the things that we need to do is actually study the pacing. What is the pacing? You have to look at the historic information. What are the events that are coming to Belize City, or what is coming to San Pedro, or example Costa Maya coming into San Pedro. Historically, you know that your rooms will sell out 1 year in advance. So, if you know those rooms will sell out because of the event coming up, you need to increase your rates. Because, even if you increase your rates, you will still end up selling those rooms. So, those are some of the tactics we have, the software that these people have that predicts and tells you, ‘People are shopping. Your inventory is selling very fast, you need to crank up your weight by 5 - 10%. So, it's using software to predict what's coming tomorrow, so that you can take advantage."

"So you guys are now incorporating technology into the way the hotel business is running."

Ted Tejeda
"That is correct, as this technology was actually invented by the airlines. Presently, a lot of our members - because 50% of our hotels are very small in the country of Belize. They do not have the revenue to invest in marketing. So, what technology does - they are practically using actual physical human being, to shop online, and make these graphs, which takes hours and days, when you have technology that might cost you a fraction of what that salary is, and will help you make better decisions."

Tourism Thinkers Dig Deep For Crime Solution

We also took the opportunity to ask the Hotel Association about a joint press release that they and the Belize Tourism Industry Association sent out today, urging the government to take specific actions to reduce crime.

The situation has become a huge and costly issue for the tourism industry over the last 2 weeks after the US Doctor, Gary Swank, and his well-known, island tour guide, Mario Graniel, were both murdered while they were out on a fly fishing tour. 

All that negative publicity in the international press caused visitors who had tours booked for later in the year to start mass cancelations of their trips to Belize.

Both the National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and the police department have outlined steps they intended to take in the hopes of decreasing crime and violence on San Pedro.

Well, the Belize Hotel Association and the Belize Tourism Industry Association sent out a joint statement urging the Government and the law enforcement authorities to take additional measures.

In their press release, they say, quote, "1. Take immediate steps to increase the size, effectiveness and professionalism of policing at all major tourism destinations nationwide; 2. Focus more closely on the eradication of the international drug trade which lies at the heart of Belize's crime problem. Devote significantly increased resources to improve the administration of justice at the level of police prosecution, Director of Public Prosecutions, Magistracy and Supreme Court; and 4. Initiate an ongoing media campaign to urge citizens to partner with law enforcement with the aim of making criminal behavior unwelcome and unacceptable to the larger Belizean society." End quote.

That's a tall order, but the President of the Hotel Association told us that if the authorities would wish, they and the BTIA are willing partners who want to help:

Ted Tejeda - President, Belize Hotel Association
"I was looking at the statistics from the statistics department. The tourism sector for January, February, and March contributed over 44 million dollars to the economy of Belize. It is a significant amount of money. We also employ, just in the hotel industry, about 10,000 employees daily. That's not including the tour guides, the shops, and everything that we buy. So, if we were to look at the macro picture, it's a huge amount of employees that employ every day. We depend on tourism. So, it is important that the Government do immediate steps to try to mitigate the problem we have with the crime, so that we do not damage our image internationally. It just takes one incident for a country like ours, that is very small, in order to be viral. And it takes millions of dollars to create what we have created. Wherever you go - last 2 weeks, I was in London, and I had 80 who stopped at my booth. And what was the surprising thing is that the 80 people who stopped at my booth, did not tell where is Belize. They said, Belize is my bucket list. We have changed the perception. We have invested a lot of money to do so, and we need to continue in that marketing campaign, and try to mitigate the crime that's happening."

"We are ready to partner with the Government. The industry - we need technology. Go back to technology again. The Belize Tourism Board has now committed to buy 10 cameras, 10 high definition cameras for San Pedro. We're going to place [them] in strategic areas, in order to defer these criminals that are playing in those areas. We're asking the industry, the hoteliers, to invest in the same cameras, or similar cameras, and place them on the street sides, on the beach sides, so that we can start covering bigger areas. Our job, the Belize Hotel Association, the BTIA, is marketing. Our job is to put heads in beds, to put people to sleep in our beds. We are  not professionals in the security aspect. We are willing to partner with them, but they are the professionals in that area. We want them to work. We are willing to work with them."

We also asked the Hotel Association's president about its latest information on those cancelation of pre-booked tours, and if the industry should prepare for a financial hit at the end of the year. He gave us an update:

Ted Tejeda
"I got concrete evidence today from the biggest wholesaler for the country of Belize that when that incident happened, the cancellations spike to 26% that week. The normal for the country of Belize is 14%, but people have realized that we, Belizeans, we love tourists. We love our industry, and it's not our people. There are a couple of those individuals doing the harm. And as of today, that company can secure that it has levelled off to 9%. It has normalized."

The BHA president told us that the association looked after the accommodations for Dr. Gary Swank's family while they finalized all arrangements that comes with the passing of a loved-one. 

Channel 7

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Belize Hotel Association Hosts Annual General Meeting

Hoteliers were joined by other stakeholders at the Belize Biltmore Plaza to take stock of the tourism industry as well as to find new ways to enhance business in a highly competitive market. While tourism numbers have been setting records, there is still room for hoteliers to adopt new strategies to grow business by attracting more visitors to Belize. A number of high profile speakers were invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Belize Hotel Association. One was Vivian Teddi Mur of ADARA who focused on Data Driven Marketing.� Here is News Five Isani Cayetano with a report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Belize Hotel Association, a non-profit and Belize's oldest private sector tourism organization, held its annual general meeting today.� On hand were accommodation providers, including hotels, resorts and lodges.� The event was also opened to tour operators and other businesses that provide ancillary services to the hospitality industry.� Ted Tejada is the president of BHA.

Ted Tejada, President, Belize Hotels Association

"Every year we do to two events: the biannual which is six months after we have been installed as the board and an AGM at the end of the year.� So this is our annual general meeting where we update our members on what's happening in the industry, what's happening in Belize.� And in this particular case, our theme is "maximizing revenue and revenue management".

Isani Cayetano

"Now I notice that quite a number of stakeholders are here as well.� What has been the tone of the discussion or the presentations being made to the broader membership?"

Ted Tejada

"This year, we were able to, with some sponsors, bring in some top level speakers.� ADARA, for example, just presented on technology.� How are people looking for Belize?"

According to Tejada, who is also general manager for the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, the local overnight sector is looking at ways to attract visitors who are searching for hotel stays in neighboring Cancun.

Ted Tejada

"There are fifty-eight million people searching for Cancun, but there are only one point four million people searching for Belize.� And that has to do with the relevant flights to the country of Belize, with the price tag to come to Belize as compared to Cancun.� But we want to tap into that market, Cancun is just six hours away from Belize.� How can we tap into that fifty-eight million that are searching for Cancun to come to Belize?"

Isani Cayetano

"That perhaps has to do with marketing as well, in terms of creating and presenting Belize's visibility to the rest of the world.� How does that tie in to what you're discussing in the AGM?"

Ted Tejada

"We also brought Travel Click which is another technological company that has some of this data.� What are the sites, what are the areas that we need to tap into to have that visibility?� We also have Expedia who has shown a sixteen percent increase from January to June this year in the sales for Belize.� So they are also showing us, because they have different markets, they have a world market, they know what's happening in Costa Rica, in Guatemala.� So they are sharing some of those ideas that are very fruitful in these countries that we can tap into and make Belize very popular."

A feature of today's stakeholder gathering is an expo where other businesses that are indirectly connected to the hotel industry can showcase their goods and services.

Ted Tejada

"Our idea, because at the Hotel Association we also have allied members, we have people that do not have a hotel but they sell to the hotels.� So we invited them and today we have seventeen allied members who are connecting directly with our hoteliers.� For example, I just spoke with Heritage Bank.� They are one of our members.� They have an online platform, so if you have a website but you need to connect it to the bank so that they can pay you directly, they are right here to set you up today, so that when the person books the room online then immediately you are getting payment in your bank account."

Channel 5

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