Covington Meetings & Events (CME) had the pleasure of arranging a special trip for a group of 48 people to celebrate the host company’s 10th anniversary. In January, Synergy Technical treated all employees and their families to a four-night trip to Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. During a surging COVID-19 variant and ever-changing international regulations, this was no small feat, but it was a huge success! CME Manager, Christi Ruddy, escorted the group to the Bahamas to make sure everything went smoothly. Here is her trip report.
Working together is the secret to success.
We had two great partners in this endeavor – the resort and our client. Atlantis let us know that they wanted the group to come – not cancel or postpone. As a deposit date approached in October, Atlantis offered to waive attrition (the penalty for unused rooms) if Synergy Technical filled at least ten of the 30 rooms we contracted on their behalf. Our client was committed to giving her employees and their families a wonderful trip to say thank you for their hard work. She did not back out, even in the face of the ill-timed surge in the Omicron variant. As it turned out, the group booked twenty-two rooms and saved $8,000 in attrition penalties.
Traveling today is not easy.
With hundreds of flights canceled around the holidays due to low staffing, I admit to having a few sleepless nights before the trip wondering if we would encounter airline delays and planning options if we did. Thankfully, although the flights were very full, they all operated on time.
On December 19, the Bahamas changed its rules on COVID testing prior to arrival. This caused all sorts of havoc as most people had to reschedule appointments at a time when tests were very scarce. My own appointment was canceled because the pharmacist didn’t show up to work. After a three-hour wait at a drive-through location, I got my precious negative results. From there, I applied for my Bahamas Health Visa ($40) which automatically gave me an insurance policy in case I tested positive and could not return to the USA as scheduled. Flexibility and adaptability are uber important for today’s travelers.
In fact, that adaptability and the Bahamas Health Visa were vital to one family in the group. Despite a negative test before travel, they tested positive in the Bahamas and had to remain in quarantine for a week before returning to the U.S. The Atlantis medical staff was kind and efficient in handling this unexpected wrinkle.
Atlantis Paradise Island exceeded expectations.
First and foremost, staffing was plentiful and on the ball. The dedicated resort contact worked with me to secure a discount on the group’s food and beverage contract. The chef suggested some wonderful additions for our vegetarian guests. Atlantis even assisted me in arranging an impromptu 40th birthday celebration during the stay. Part of my job as a trip director is to advance-check on all meal functions to ensure everything is as expected and Atlantis really came through for us.
I pre-arranged entertainment through the resort including a fire dancer and Junkanoo troop. All were excellent. As a personalized highlight on the first day, I scheduled a scuba diver in the central tank to swim by our breakfast room with a sign saying, “Happy 10th Birthday Synergy Technical.” I also manned a hospitality desk to answer questions for the group and help them book local tours and activities.
The guestroom renovations in the Royal Tower are beautiful. My room felt fresh and spacious with a desk (for those of us who work while in Paradise), an easy chair, and large TV. All rooms have safes and refrigerators. Housekeeping service was offered daily, although I chose not to use it to reduce my exposure to COVID. A discreet ‘Do Not Disturb’ button by the door let me advise the housekeeper without having to fight with a door hanger.
Atlantis has entertainment for everyone.
The group had families with kids of all ages, and everyone found an activity that appealed to them. Guests are free to explore eleven pools as well as enjoy three beach areas and the large on-site water park. For those that dared, the water slide and lazy river were extremely popular. Dolphin Cay is one of the largest and most sophisticated marine-mammal habitats in the world. I enjoyed watching from a deck as guests, trainers, and dolphins interacted. It was free entertainment!
The Chihuly glass sculptures in the casino are spectacular. We had a few winners and predictably a few losers in the casino, but everyone had a good time. The lack of cigarette smoke was refreshing and made the space a more attractive place to hang out.
There are two signature restaurants and a steakhouse, as well as some more casual pizza and hamburger spots. The fish tacos at Lagoon Grill were my favorite.
Kicking off 2022 by escorting this group to the Bahamas was a fabulous experience. It felt good to help our client and their fantastic employees celebrate this important milestone. One guest wrote, “I had an AMAZING time and we’re all still talking about the fun memories. 😊 Thank you for everything you did for us to make this trip so special.”
Covington Meetings & Events executes all kinds of group travel for businesses – board or sales meetings, incentive travel, team training, and even company birthday celebrations like this one. To explore how we can help your company have a successful off-site event, contact CME.