For those of you lucky enough to have visited a Central American country, you know the first trip is often not the last and you leave wanting to come back time and time again. Something about Belize’s blue waters, Panama’s warm climate and Nicaragua’s delicious food keeps you hooked and wanting more. The unparalleled experience of visiting or even living in a tropical paradise is at the heart of what ECI Development strives to accent within our resort communities and we are always looking for ways to make that experience more unique, memorable and enjoyable for you.
We recently made the announcement that the Grand Baymen Gardens Resort is joining the Best Western Hotels & Resorts family as the first Best Western property on Ambergris Caye and only the second in Belize. In addition, you may recall that in 2018 we announced that we partnered with Marriott International to develop the Belize Marriott Resort and Residences also on Ambergris Caye. We are extremely proud and honored to have the opportunities to work with such well known global brands. But often we get asked a lot of questions about what this means for our valued guests and residence owners as well as the developments and communities at large. Let’s explore what the benefits of these partnerships provide to each.
What does an international brand mean for the country and community?
The first questions we get asked are focused on the particularly important concerns about what internationally branded development projects on an island like Ambergris Caye mean for the people, unique charm, and natural beauty of the land. First, international brands developing in new countries provide employment and training opportunities that will benefit the local labor force. These international brands are also moving towards eco-friendly processes and that concept is applied from the beginning, even before construction, all the way to the end in resort operations. This ensures steps are taken to preserve the natural elements of the countries they operate in and even augmenting them in some cases.
Why go global? Won’t you lose your personal charm and become more corporate?
Don’t get us wrong, we have always been proud of what we could accomplish as an independent entity. The smaller hotel experience featuring personal touches and tailored outreach is what has championed the growth of our resort communities for years and will continue to do so for years to come. But the question came up; “How can we do even more for the people we serve?” Hotels now need to be able to adapt to the new digital landscape and offer unique, memorable, and high-quality experiences to guests, which is sometimes difficult to achieve on a small and independent scale. However, by taking advantage of the opportunity of being part of global brands like Marriott and Best Western, our guests and owners will be given the ultimate unique experiences of receiving services, amenities and rewards normally available exclusively with top tier luxury resorts, but with that same personal, small hotel touch that they know and love.
How are you confident that this is the best move for your business?
If we simply look at it from a numbers perspective, having a brand name greatly increases your odds of being discovered by travelers looking for the next experience to immerse themselves in. Most searches made on Google (62%) are for branded terms; meaning that travelers are looking for the brands they know, trust and recognize first rather than a new property where they might not experience the same level of comfort that they have become accustom to. Being a part of Best Western and Marriott means we are already being positioned to entice those travelers into vacationing at our locations.
Both brands we have partnered with pride themselves in their practices and quality control, therefore they have those return travelers who practice brand loyalty and trust that their experience will be a pleasant one with these brands.
Now, even if you look at those travelers who do not start the search with branded terms; what happens is that even when beginning their searches with unbranded terms, they see a brand-name company that they know in their results, and they gravitate towards it. Brand familiarity plays a large role in what people end their travel inquiries with, whether they start out with it in mind or not.
We always want to do better
At ECI Development evolving and learning how we can do better for our guests, our residence owners, and ourselves is a fundamental core element of our operations. We pride ourselves in delivering high quality resort communities, unmatched vacation experiences, and top tier service to the people we serve. The opportunity to partner with world-renowned names in our industry ensures we are meeting our promise to those people we serve.