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Baha Mar ‘wows’ in NYC with simulated visit to resort

Event draws top corporate, media and travel industry executives
  • Connecting Baha Mar and The Bahamas to the world. From left: Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar chairman and CEO; Obie Wilchcombe, minister of tourism; Denise Godreau, Baha Mar chief marketing officer; Sir Baltron Bethel, senior policy advisor, Office of the Prime Minister and tourism development consultant, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, and Tom Dunlap, Baha Mar president.

Published: Oct 15, 2013

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Baha Mar “wowed” New York’s top corporate, media and travel industry executives, rolling out the “blue carpet” at an innovative series of interactive “reverse upfront” events that provided an insider’s preview of what executives have promised will be one of the most compelling and exciting destinations in North America.

Attendees comprised an A-list of top executives from travel consortia, major networks and publishing companies such as Viacom, Facebook, CNN, Microsoft and Universal, according to a release issued by Baha Mar yesterday.

“Baha Mar is connecting The Bahamas to the world with all the glamor and style of a bygone era. They are doing something that will change our hospitality industry and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is proud to be an ally of Baha Mar,” said Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who was also a guest at the event.

“We immersed potential New York sponsors, advertisers, editors and meeting and travel planners in vivid demonstrations of just how Baha Mar will revolutionize leisure and group travel opportunities. They were awed by our entire three million-square-foot campus on 1,000 acres featuring 2,200 hotel rooms and suites, 100,000 square feet of gaming, 200,000 square feet of combined, flexible, state-of-the-art convention and meeting space, more than 50,000 square feet of high-end retail and shopping, 18 holes of championship golf, over 30 restaurants, bars and lounges, and 20 acres of beach, pool and lakeside experiences including a 3,000-foot beachfront. The result? Baha Mar will dominate major business, promotional and editorial channels, supporting thousands of new jobs and a thriving economy,” said Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar chairman and chief executive officer.

“The inspiration was to take a page out of what the networks and cable companies do when they preview their next season’s lineup for advertisers at their annual ‘upfronts.’ Here, we gathered together an impressive collection of potential partners to show them what we will offer and invite them to come back to us with surprising and creative opportunities for the future,” said Denise Godreau, Baha Mar chief marketing officer.

Invited guests arrived at the events in Chelsea, entering a simulated airplane boarding gate. They traveled through a jet fuselage-styled passageway overlooking beautiful Bahamian waters and arrived a glamorous "terminal”, where a 52-inch flat screen displayed stunning video imagery of Baha Mar, The Bahamian Riviera. Images of the four hotels, Mondrian, Rosewood, Grand Hyatt and The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, as well as the Jack Nicklaus golf course, spa and pools told the story of what would await the guests at this new resort destination.

After this imaginative welcome, guests emerged into a contemporary salon gleaming in signature Baha Mar blue and white. Near the softly illuminated architectural model of the resort campus, the Baha Mar logo etched in white marble and highlighted with gold leaf was a striking beacon adjacent to distinctive food and drink with the flavor of The Bahamas, such as Rum Dums by visiting Bahamian mixologist Wilfred Sands.

Baha Mar presenters were the visionary Sarkis Izmirlian; President Tom Dunlap, responsible for making this $3.5 billion vision a reality, and Chief Marketing Officer Denise Godreau, who orchestrated the New York reverse upfront events with Las Vegas-based advertising firm SK+G and New York-based WCMG Events.

In addition, guests met Paul Pusateri, newly appointed chief operating officer and general manager of Baha Mar Casino & Hotel; Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands, Baha Mar senior vice president, administration and external affairs; Greg Saunders, general manager, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar; Cate Farmer, general manager, Mondrian at Baha Mar; Luis Fernandes, managing director, Rosewood at Baha Mar; and Dianna Wong, Dianna Wong Architecture & Interior Design.

Serving as master of ceremonies for the morning editorial breakfast was Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS-TV and host of The Travel Detective, the new series airing on PBS.

The luncheon for 100 top travel and industry meeting planners showcased all of the resort’s new amenities, but especially the state of-the-art convention facilities including an art gallery with the largest collection of Bahamian art in the country.

The glittering grand finale was the evening “reverse upfront” for sponsors and advertisers featuring David Verklin, the charismatic operating partner of Calera Capital, known for always being on the leading edge of media innovation, as the master of ceremonies.

“CMO Denise Godreau challenged partners to think outside the box, to innovate, to be bold, to be daring. It was a great challenge to lay out and one we at Viacom are very excited to take on,” remarked Neils Shuurmans, chief marketing officer at the global mass media company.

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