With registration lagging, the Tourism Department has opened up its third annual Small Hotels Conference to all businesses.
On St. Thomas, the free conference will be held Thursday at the Sugar Bay Resort and Spa. The conference will be held Friday at The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix. Times for both events are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We didn’t have as much turnout as we had hoped,” Tourism Department spokesman Allegra Kean-Moorehead said.
Tourism needs to know by Monday if hoteliers and others plan to attend the one-day conference. The agenda is set, and in particular, the morning sessions should interest anyone in business.
“We want to maximize participation given what we think is a great opportunity for local businesses to learn how to enhance profitability and efficiency,” Kean-Moorhead said.
The conference begins with a panel discussion scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on marketing and public relations led by Lisa Hamilton, who is the director of the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association. The panel includes Bevan Springer of Marketplace Excellence, Shomari Moorehead of Crucian Point and Javier Morales of Associates in Business.
A panel discussion on energy efficiency starts at 9:45 a.m.; V.I. Water and Power Authority Director Hugo V. Hodge Jr. will moderate. The panel includes Miguel Quinones of the V.I. Energy Office. At the St. Thomas conference, Doug White of Solar Supply will participate on the panel. On St. Croix, Onaje Jackson of Sustainable Systems and Design International will serve on the panel.
At 11 a.m., a panel discussion on safety and security will be moderated by Paris Nicholson of K9 On Patrol Services. The panel includes security consultant Frank Serrano and Kevin Cogan of Alert 1. On St. Thomas, Police Chief Darren Foy will be on the panel. On St. Croix, Acting Police Chief James Parris will participate.
Lunch runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. with Fatima Thompson of Smith’s Travel Research providing a destination overview.
The afternoon session is more specific to hoteliers but anyone is welcome to attend. It begins at 1:45 p.m. with a panel discussion on enhancing and updating a property.
Jennifer Nugent Hill of the Economic Development Authority is the moderator. Panelists are the EDA’s Dianne Duinkerk. On St. Thomas, Zona Corbin of MSI Interiors, Alfred Berry of Berry & Berry Landscaping, James Boschulte Jr. of Boschulte Landscaping, and Toni Jackson of Silk Greenery will serve on the panel. On St. Croix, Kiersten Peterson of Sampson House, Pat Sellergren of Sweet Lime Furnishings, and Ferdinand Abraham of Ferdi’s Forest are the panelists.
The conference wraps up with a presentation that runs from 3 to 5 p.m. on customer service called Train the Trainer. It’s led by Bryan K. Williams of BW Enterprise.
To participate in the conference, advance registration is required. Small hoteliers on St. Croix should contact Carlotta Luis at 772-0357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hoteliers in the St. Thomas/St. John district should contact Keezi Pinney at 774-8784 or email email@example.com.