The Intimate Hotels of Barbados group is celebrating 23 years of providing service excellence in the hospitality industry. This membership association of 40 hotels started in 2000 under the trading name Small Hotels of Barbados Inc. and represents the best of the island’s small hotels, apartments, guest houses and villas.
To celebrate its 23rd anniversary, Intimate Hotels of Barbados is taking its valued public behind the scenes to learn some of its history and meet some members of the group; the fourth of which is the Dover Beach Hotel.
The 59-room hotel is in Dover, Christ Church and has been in the Kinch family for over four decades. The hotel, which was founded by Robert ‘Jeffrey’ Kinch, opened in 1977. ‘Jeff’ as he was affectionately called, unfortunately passed away on May 14th, 2021. Since 2014, his daughter Adua Kinch has been the Managing Director and the General Manager is Marcia Yarde.
Marcia, who is loved by all the staff, said she has been involved in the hospitality sector for most of her professional career after leaving the Barbados Hotel School, where she studied Front Office Management and Sales. She started at the Dover Beach Hotel in 1997 as Supervisor of Accounts and worked her way up to become the General Manager in 2005.
“I started to work here as the Supervisor of Accounts, Reservations, and Front Desk. There were a lot of changes that happened at the hotel as it faced some financial challenges and I said, ‘We had to overcome this!’ I went through all the accounts and reconciled the finances for the hotel. I also set about contacting some existing tour operators and new tour operators [to try to get] some more business. We had to remain viable. We went full steam ahead,” she said.
Yarde, whose passion for the day-to-day-operations can be seen in her ever-present smile, said over the past 18 years as General Manager she has seen the hotel continue to grow from strength to strength.
“I have seen many changes not only physically but operationally as well. We went from putting tape on the board for reservations to having a digital system. We continue to upgrade our physical plant, as in the hotel industry, you must continue to modernise in order to have the competitive edge. Over the years, we have become a green hotel and we encourage our visitors to become a part of our green initiatives,” she added.
Yarde said the hotel also seeks to inspire and motivate those from within their community. They host clean-up campaigns and invite members of the nearby schools to learn the ins and out of working in the tourism industry. They are also actively involved with the nearby senior citizens’ home Love and Care.
She noted the hotel has won a few awards since being involved in the Dover, Christ Church community including Apartment of the Year (2007), Outstanding Property of the Year (2008), Friend of the Environment (2009), Friend of the Community (2010), Environmental and Sustainable Award (2018) and the Humanitarian Award (2022).
The hotel has been a member of Intimate Hotels from its inception since the late founder Robert ‘Jeffrey’ Kinch was one of the founding Directors of IHB. Marcia Yarde said the company joined IHB not only because the former owner was Chairman and Deputy Chairman but because they realised there was strength in numbers.
“IHB does marketing on behalf of the small hotels, they lobby the Government for changes and revenue to assist with the small hotels as well as bring them together as a body so that they can exchange views and learn from Intimate Hotels of Barbados,” she said.
Yarde believes the Dover Beach Hotel is one of the best-kept secrets in the area. “Our repeat customers from the US, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean come to this property year after year, and it is almost like they are coming home to family. I enjoy the growth of the hotel and how we are now a force to be reckoned with,” she said.
The General Manager had some advice for young persons wanting to get into the hotel industry: “Be prepared to work hard. You must come into work with an open mind. Be careful of your attitude and once you have that in place, you can reach the stars. There are a lot of opportunities out there awaiting young persons in the hospitality industry if they are prepared to work hard, have an open mind, and have a pleasant attitude,” she said.
(Write Right PR Services)