Business

Caymanas seeks midweek sweet spot

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 13, 2018

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A year after the divestment of Caymanas Golf & Country Club, new operator Caymanas Acquisition Group Ltd (CAG) wants to host more midweek corporate events in an attempt to improve returns from the 141 acre-property in St Catherine.

The company — which now has in place a facility to accommodate 200 guests for banquet-style, 250 guests for theatre-style with stage, and 1000 guests for dance floor layout — has embarked on a campaign to get more corporate companies to 'Escape the City' by using its space for their next business meeting or corporate retreat.

General Manager Peter Lindo yesterday told the Jamaica Observer that while the company has it hands full on the weekend from the hosting of social events, efforts are being made to incorporate more business meetings Monday through Friday.

“Because we are a golf club, we tend to have a peak in activities on the weekend. The strategy is really to make the best use of what is sort of an underutilised asset. Everything is the same as in Kingston to host meetings; we have a state-of-the-art conference room, Wi-Fi and projector,” Lindo reasoned.

Caymanas Golf & Country Club this year celebrates its 60th anniversary. The club is owned by the Urban Development Corporation, but was divested by way of a lease agreement to CAG last April, which will operate the property for 10 years at $12 million per year.

The property is part of the wider Caymanas Estate, for which the UDC has been executing a master plan since 2009 that covers a mix of residential, commercial and light industrial developments. CAG is expected to pump $30 million into upgrades over the period of the lease, with the agreement stipulating that 80 per cent of capital expenditure should be deployed within the first three years of the takeover.

Already Caymanas Golf & Country Club has plans to build out another wedding venue on property, having booked 67 weddings last year.

“We have our fair share of weddings. I guess a lot of people would be surprised, but last year we had 67 weddings; so that's what I mean when I say we are busy on the weekends. We've ran out of Saturdays for weddings. Right now we have every Saturday booked for July and already most Saturday booked for December,” the managing director said, adding that plans are in place for a new wedding venue on property to double up on wedding ceremonies.

“There will be some more news about that later on,” Lindo said.

For years Caymanas Golf & Country Club has hosted a number of retreats and meetings for long-time corporate customers Wisynco, Hi-Pro Farm and Garden and the Lasco Group of Companies, all of which are in close proximity to Caymanas Estate in St Catherine.

The club has also served as host for the sales meetings of distributor Chas E Ramson, which has offices in Kingston and Montego Bay.

“It's convenient for people to come from Montego Bay, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, to meet here as opposed to everybody driving into Kingston. It takes 45 minutes from Ocho Rios, two hours from Montego Bay, and you don't have to deal with the traffic going in and out of Kingston,” Lindo told the Caribbean Business Report.

Now, the company wants to expand its customer base to corporate offices in Kingston looking to host events outside of the city.

According to Lindo, Caymanas Golf & Country Club has been made a more attractive destination with the development of the Edward Seaga Highway along with the widening of roads along the Mandela Highway.

“That's all in our thoughts. Once Mandela Highway is completed, it will be a 15-minute drive from Dunrobin to our parking lot. The North-South Highway opens up the tourism opportunity for us and we are already seeing tourist traffic coming from Ocho Rios,” he explained.

He added that the company recently booked a group of 24 tourists who arrived via cruise ship to play golf.

“The only reason that's possible is because of the highway. It's a nice scenic drive from Ocho Rios,” Lindo said.

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