Be prepared for an adventure
Published: Oct 11, 2013
Name: Beverley Laramore
Position: Wedding Planner
Company: Weddings by Beverley
Location: Cockburn Town, San Salvador
1. Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?
My experience in the tourism sector has and continues to be an adventure that has allowed me to see and share my country for all the treasures it encompasses and to experience it through the eyes of the people I come across.
Working in the tourism industry has called upon my people skills as well as my communication capabilities. As a wedding and events planner, I have to literally make dreams come true. Persons envision a tropical paradise where nothing goes wrong and all their dreams come true, and I have to make that happen gladly accepting all challenges. I ensure that tourists have an excellent and memorable stay and want to go back home and tell everyone about the great time they had on their trip, and come again and again.
2. Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
I chose to work in the tourism sector because I enjoy making people happy and I am good at planning events, so I am told. Also I get to meet a variety of persons and personalities, which is rewarding within itself, as well as learn about different places and cultures, make new friends, show off my beautiful country, culture and people, and help grow the economy.
3. What has been your most memorable moment?
I had a couple who came to have that magical experience of getting married in The Bahamas. When they arrived they had so many complications with their travel arrangements they thought they would miss their own ceremony. They were frustrated with everything and didn’t care for much after that. After speaking with them and reassuring them that everything else would go smoothly, and then sharing their first sunset on the beach, all seemed tranquil.
The next day they became man and wife on the beach and watched another beautiful sunset with lanterns floating away in the sky with best wishes from family and friends. What made this wedding most memorable was that when I first met them, they didn’t care for my beloved country but after a lot of prayers for excellent weather and a flawless execution of their wedding, they called me the next day and said that The Bahamas is a magical place where no matter how angry you get, there is always a beautiful sunset at the end of the day to make all the bad things just go away.
They wished they were as lucky as me to get to experience a breath-taking sunset every evening.
4. Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Yes, the industry has changed since I started my career. There were positive and some negative changes that I have observed.
Good changes would be: The industry becoming more technologically advanced allowing persons to be able to find more resources online; more promotions are available to bring persons to the Family Islands rather than just Nassau and Freeport provided by the ministry; the focus on eco-tourism increased.
A negative observation would be: Workers not being trained properly on protecting our brand due to a decline in Bahama Host and S.M.A.R.T. program participation from workers and companies.
5. What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
Utilize our natural resources more effectively – we have some of the largest or rarest natural resources and sites in the world, for example, blue holes, dive sites, forests, birds that we can make more available to guests. Expand eco-tourism. Make sure that hotels keep the standards and quality of service that they are charging for. If you pay for a $300 room, it should look and smell like a $300 room. A lot of tourists complain that they are paying for lavish rooms that are not up to par. So when we say “It’s Better in the Bahamas” we can then say, “see”.
Invest in Bahamians to provide more attractions and services to tourists rather than just the hotels capitalizing. When we are held accountable and our livelihoods depend on our success we tend to work harder. Promote more Family Islands. Each island has something unique to offer so no matter how many times you visit The Bahamas each time would be a first time.
Finally, reintroduce programs like Bahama Host and S.M.A.R.T. which will train persons of the importance of tourism and why it is crucial to keep our guests happy. Knowing proper communication and acceptable behaviors are vital to our success.
6. What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
Love what you do and it will never feel like work, know why you are proud to be a Bahamian, always smile and be pleasant, it goes a long way; learn to read people and anticipate problems so you can find the solution, be the best at what you do, and last but not least, be prepared for an adventure.