Hotel Online  Special Report



Berthia Parle, General Manager of Bay Gardens Hotel in
St. Lucia Voted CHA President Elect and Recognized
as the 2003 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year
Bob Troni, Managing Director International Sales and Marketing,
American Airlines, Recognized as "Allied Member of the Year"

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic (June 25, 2003) - Berthia Parle, general manager of Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Inn in St. Lucia, made history during the 2003 Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC).  At the organization's Annual General Meeting during the four-day conference, Parle was voted President Elect of CHA, the first female to do so.  In addition, she received the coveted Golden Conch Award presented to the "Hotelier of the Year."   The prestigious award recognizes superior hotel management, as well as the ability to nurture the intricate elements that lay the foundation of success, not only for a specific property, 

Berthia Parle
but the Caribbean hospitality industry at large.  It is sponsored by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell and American Express.

"Berthia is a role model for young hoteliers, an admired boss to her staff, and a respected peer among the members of the Caribbean Hotel Association," said colleague and CHA President Simón Suárez.  "She is also the personification of Caribbean style," he added.

As President-Elect, 2003 Hotelier of the Year Berthia Parle will spend the next twelve months preparing to assume the presidency in June 2004, for a two-year term.

Following her first professional experience at the St. Lucia Government Treasury, Berthia Parle entered the world of hospitality as a trainee at the Steigenberger Cariblue Hotel, a five-star, 102-room property in St. Lucia.  She then received a CIDA scholarship to pursue a diploma course in middle management and hospitality studies at the Barbados Hotel School. After graduation, she returned to St. Lucia to the Cariblue Hotel, where she became Assistant Housekeeper and was soon promoted to Executive Housekeeper.   She then spent a year in 
Bay Gardens Hotel
Rodney Bay
Castries, St. Lucia
West Indies
Germany, training at the Steigenberger flagship hotel, the Frankfurter Hof.  Following her return, she quickly moved up the career ladder, going from Housekeeper Supervisor at the Elbow Beach Hotel, to Executive Housekeeper/Trainer of the Stonington Beach Hotel in Bermuda, to Resident Manager of the Cariblue Hotel in St. Lucia.

In 1985, she took the opportunity to join a group of investors in a new restaurant venture, Capone's.  This was followed by the addition of the Sweet Dreams Ice Cream Parlour and the Patio Restaurant. Meanwhile, her husband Johnny owned and managed the La Flambé Restaurant.  Berthia Parle was a managerial force behind the success of all of these restaurants in St. Lucia.

After a successful decade in the restaurant business, she was approached by Desmond and Joyce Destang, a St. Lucian business and property management couple, who wanted to build a hotel.  Her husband Johnny joined her to run it as a
management couple - and together they created one of the finest small hotels, not just on St. Lucia, but in the entire Caribbean region.  With Parle's involvement in every aspect, from the planning, design and concept of the hotel, to the training of the staff,
and the promotion, the hotel opened to rave reviews and has maintained occupancy of over 75% since its opening.   Today, the hotel enjoys a thriving business in both the meetings and leisure markets.   One key to the success of the hotel is its intra-Caribbean promotional efforts, which have contributed to Bay Gardens' maintaining occupancy levels at a time of decreased tourism.

Parle's attention to detail and excellence extends to all areas of the staff. Her hands on approach to training and staff motivation has created a loyal, efficient group of employees at the hotel. Ongoing on-the-job training and cross-training are a priority for her, as is promotion from within. The result is low turnover among the staff, and a high percentage of staff members who started at the hotel in entry-level positions.  Guest surveys are taken on a monthly basis, and results are circulated to the staff as recognition for their efforts, or to facilitate corrective action where necessary.   Parle's dedication has paid off, as the hotel and its staff have won several recognitions, including the Best Value and Service Award from Unijet, Best Manager and Best Supervisor at the national tourism awards, and Hotelier of the Year from the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association in 1999.

She serves as President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association and with her high, public profile has succeeded in bringing the Prime Minister of St. Lucia to the table to discuss critical policy issues that affect the national tourism industry. 

In CHA, she holds the position of First Vice President and Chairperson of the Advocacy Committee, and is a former Chairperson of the Small Hotels Committee.   She is an outspoken, dynamic member of CHA - a proactive force in the struggle to raise the awareness of the economic and social impacts of tourism in the Caribbean.

"The Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award" was established by Jim Pepperdine, vice president of Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown (YP&B) to recognize those hoteliers who are working within CHA to help promote industry growth.  The Golden Conch honors
individuals who have maintained a successful hotel operation and participated in CHA, while also showing dedication to both their local hotel and tourism industry.

Parle joins the ranks of those outstanding executives whose accomplishments and leadership have created a new standard in hospitality in the Caribbean.  Previous recipients of the 'Hotelier of the Year Award' are: 

Ike Cohen, Aruba (1978); 
Howard Hulford, Antigua (1979); 
George Myers, Bahamas (1980); 
Heinz E.W. Simonitsch, Jamaica (1981); 
Jag Mehta, Jamaica (1982); 
Osmund Kelsick, Antigua (1983); 
Lorette Resch, St. Thomas (1984); 
Richard Williams, Barbados (1985); 
Hugh Andrews, Puerto Rico (1986); 
Ken Kennedy, Jamaica (1987); 
Dick & Joyce Doumeng, St. Thomas, USVI (1988); 
Alfred Taylor, Barbados (1989); 
John Jefferis, Bermuda (1990); 
Royston Hopkin CMG, Grenada (1991); 
Butch Stewart, Jamaica (1992); 
Betty Sperber, St. Croix, USVI (1993); 
John Issa, Jamaica (1994); 
Ralph Taylor, Barbados (1995); 
Ed Malone, Aruba (1996); 
Stephen Sawyer, Bahamas (1997); 
Frank Rainieri, Dominican Republic (1998); 
William Aguiton, Trinidad (1999); 
Peter Odle, Barbados (2000); 
Robert Sherman, Antigua (2001); and 
Ewald Biemans, Aruba (2002).

Bob Troni, Managing Director International Sales and Marketing, American Airlines, Recognized as "Allied Member of the Year"

Bob Troni, Managing Director International Sales and Marketing, American Airlines, has been recognized as "Allied Member of the Year" by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), at this year's Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC 2003).  The award is presented every year to recognize an individual who has exhibited great generosity and dedication to the Caribbean region, volunteering to work towards the betterment of CHA and the Caribbean hotel industry.  "Bob has been working with and for the Caribbean for more than 30 years," said Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of CHA.  "His efforts have reached a zenith in the extraordinary role he has had with the Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (CHACT)," he added. 

Troni is a key, active private sector member of the Trust, responsible for the 'Life Needs the Caribbean' regional advertising campaign.   A Founding Trustee of CHACT, he pledged a cash contribution of US$25,000 on behalf of American Airlines to get the program 'off the ground' in 2001.  Since then, he has been an enthusiastic private sector player, fully involved in all aspects of the Trust's work, from planning, to development, and production.

He, along with fellow public and private sector members of CHACT, were fundamental in the development and execution of the creative work for the advertising campaign and the placement of the television media plan.  With the support of American Airlines, he helped the CHACT save some $100K in travel related expenses for the production of the commercials in the Bahamas and Dominica.

As a member of the Trust, he was also instrumental in the creation of the private-label booking engine for the campaign's travel site, with Expedia.    He then chaired the subcommittee that led the development of long-term strategies to
increase membership and sustainable funding from the private sector to the program.  As a result, a significant 70% of CHA member rooms are now present on the online booking engine. 

He is currently involved in yet another working subcommittee, which is spearheading the development of new functionality that will allow tourism related businesses - fellow CHA Allied Members - to profit from the booking engine, through value-added packaging and direct sales and merchandising to the consumer. This new phase in the website is poised to launch in August 2003.

"He has been a valuable component of the Trust in establishing the foundation for a branding campaign that fulfills a regional marketing imperative with built-in levels of sustainability," concluded Sanguinetti.

Nominees for the "CHA Allied of the Year" award are evaluated taking into consideration their efforts in the following key areas:  volunteer work with CHA; membership development; fundraising activities; advocacy activities on behalf of CHA; motivation of others, work with national hotel associations, and involvement in regional tourism activities, among others.

Lorraine J. Ortiz, 
director of communications for CHA
telephone: 787-725-9139

Also See: Ewald Biemans, Bucuti Beach Resort, Aruba Named 2002 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year / June 2002
Caribbean Hotel Association Evolves from Trade Association to Developmental Agency; Commemorating 40 Years / Jan 2002

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