LOC should have told accommodation providers to market themselves at outset
-say some B&B providers
Stabroek News
March 25, 2007

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Some eligible Bed and Breakfast providers have said that the suggestion at this late stage that they should assist in marketing their own accommodation should have been made at the inception.

Recently Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Karan Singh, in an interview with this newspaper, said that providers were well advised to market themselves instead of waiting on the Bed and Breakfast (B&B) secretariat to provide them with guests for the upcoming Super Eight matches to be held here from March 28.

Singh had noted too that the committee was only a facilitating body.

Stabroek News made an on-the-ground check with a number of eligible providers who had all been approved by the LOC and their places of accommodation posted on the LOC/B&B website at www.accommodations.org.

Peter Willems, whose place was approved to accommodate one visitor and was classed as a Category 'A' told this newspaper he was yet to receive a booking. He said he was dissatisfied with the way his apartment had been advertised by the LOC and noted that while it was a single room it could comfortably accommodate three persons.

Willems also said that the LOC from the very start of the exercise should have indicated that persons would have to do their own marketing in addition to what they were doing to accommodate visitors coming for CWC.

"They asked us to come on board because of the thousands of visitors they said they were expecting for the games, and also in acknowledgement that there was not enough accommodation for those people," he said.

At no time, he went on, had the LOC indicated that the eligible B&B providers would have to pitch in with the actual marketing of the accommodation:

"They indicated that they would have to inspect the places to ensure that they abide by the standards but at no time did they indicate that we would have to advertise too."

He expressed dissatisfaction with the way the LOC was handling the issue.

Meanwhile another provider, Patrick Hazel Wood, who also received a category 'A' rating for his place at Republic Park agreed that maybe it was too late for the LOC to indicate that the providers should do their own advertising.

However he had gone ahead on his own initiative and was being assisted by colleagues in Trinidad and Barbados.

Hazel Wood told Stabroek News that he had received a call from a potential guest only on Thursday, and he was awaiting confirmation. His place at Republic Park is also advertised on the internet under the LOC/B&B webpage.

Parbhudyal Persaud whose house is still being advertised on the wepage has decided to squash the whole provider's idea.

A relative of his who was home when this newspaper called said the LOC had only approved two rooms which could be used to accommodate vistors, but according to the relative, they wanted all four rooms of the house to be utilized. So they had decided to opt out of the programme.

David Smith, another registered and listed eligible provider said he was still awaiting word from the LOC who had come to inspect his premises, and then had gone ahead and published his property as one eligible for house visitors.

However he expressed the view that the LOC had given some high ratings to some buildings and noted that this may have been responsible for the laid back attitude of some providers.

He said he had not received any feedback from the LOC and so was waiting on a definite word before he made any further investment.

Floyd Benn also shared Smith's sentiment. He too said that he was awaiting word from the LOC and claimed that he hadn't been advised as to what his next step should be.

"For me, If I get the green light I would proceed, but I have received no word from anyone and so my expectations are not high," he said.

George Blair on the other hand, has received two responses. He has received confirmation from two guests from Scotland who have booked for a 17 day visit and is awaiting an accommodation request from another.

He told this newspaper that his email address was posted on the website and this is where he received his responses.

Blair said he spent most of his time abroad and so his investment to spruce up his place had not been much although he had done some painting and other things.

Meanwhile, Sport and Culture minister Dr Frank Anthony told members of the media last week that 675 providers were providing 2,029 registered rooms.

According to him, not all the persons who have rooms registered have reported to the LOC.

"Those who have reported to us that their rooms have been taken are in excess of 100. This is our feedback based on calling up people randomly, they have gotten their rooms occupied," Anthony said.

He noted too that the number might be higher and said too that the LOC was in the process of calling persons to get a fair sense of how many of these bed and breakfast rooms had actually been taken.

LOC CEO Karran Singh had said that hotels with adequate accommodation have not been advertising themselves and noted that while the LOC has been liaising and assisting in ensuring that accommodation was up to standard, the hoteliers have a responsibility themselves to advertise their product.

However, Singh said, the B&B Secretariat would be setting up a desk at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri from "day one" to cater for those persons who may require this type of accommodation on arrival in the country.