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Atlantis prepares for the new consumer

As Atlantis contends with a new traveling public more focused on deals and bargains than before, it is gearing up to provide better service for the critical Latin American market.

President and general manager of Kerzner International (Bahamas), George Markantonis, said that consumers have changed the way they buy with a focus on the “value play”.

“The minute we are not doing a special, bookings decline,” Markantonis explained. “Everyone is doing the same thing.  Fourth night free is not the new innovation anymore, it’s the standard.”

As Markantonis spoke, the clock was ticking down on the last day of Atlantis’ “4th Night Free” promotion, which had driven strong sales in the five days running up to the promotion end-date.  It has since been extended another two weeks to November 21.

According to the Atlantis president, the company researches what the competition is doing in both the United States and Mexico, with analysis of South Florida based hotels performed weekly.

The Atlantis website is advertising a fourth night free, along with an air travel credit of up to $400.  The air credit is offered by the Ministry of Tourism and the promotion boards, Markantonis said.

Asked by Guardian Business if these promotions risk lowering the perceived value of the Atlantis destination, the Atlantis president said for now, the promotions are essential, and the long-term impact has yet to be seen.

“Can we take the air credits or companion air fare away from here?  Not right now because airfares are just so high,” said Markantonis.  “But how the customer will react in the future, we’re not sure… we’ll have to wait and see.”

For now, the company is focusing on driving business from countries that can easily access the resort, with Latin America being “critical”, according to Markantonis.  Direct service from Panama introduced this year by Copa Airlines have supported growth in visits from Latin America.  The resort is looking for more guests from Brazil, which despite being the largest economy in Latin America has less Copa travelers to The Bahamas than smaller economies such as Columbia and Panama.

Meanwhile, Atlantis is gearing up to better facilitate its Spanish-speaking guests.  Currently, there are about 70 Atlantis associates who have some Spanish language skills, though proficiency levels vary greatly.  Volunteers who are interested in gaining the second language can access teaching through Atlantis’ in-house training institute, Atlantis University.

The resort is considering wage rates for staff with the added language skill as well, according to Markantonis.

To further improve the experience for Spanish-speaking guests,there is an ongoing project examining all signage on the property, the Atlantis president said.   Key signage at the resort is likely to appear with Spanish translations soon.  All printed materials in guest rooms, such as room service menus and maps, will also be printed in both languages.

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