84 85 MAGDALENA GRAND BEACH & GOLF RESORT, TOBAGO of the hotel.We had a history of opening hotels that had been closed throughout the Caribbean. It was a natural fit in a niche area that we focus on.” Today, the property is owned by the govern- ment of Trinidad & Tobago and the owning company, E TecK Technologies based in Trinidad, oversees it as asset managers of the hotel. They initially employed efm Hospitality Solutions to work for six months to get the hotel open. That meant engaging architects, marketing companies, and contractors in conjunction with the owning company. They remodelled the restaurant, refurbished all the rooms, upgraded all internal and external areas of the property and opened it in May 2012– on budget and in record time. “They recognized the value we brought to the table,” says Murphy, “a full-service package of hospitality elements.We were able to renovate the hotel, position the property, hire and train the staff, put all systems in place to operate a four-star, 200-room hotel, and also promote it in the various feeder markets, of which the number one local market is Trinidad.We also had the U.S. and Canada and were very heavily connected in Europe with the U.K. market be- cause of the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights that come to the Caribbean. Plus, we had a lot of business from Germany. In fact, we had a charter flight come from Germany to the ho- tel. That was very successful.We also contracted the Apollo Golf Charter flight from Scandinavia that flew out of Sweden - all of that because of the golf course.We were given the hotel to manage on a one-year contract, and during that year (2013) we were also given the golf course to upgrade and launch, then integrate it fully with the hotel. Now we have a four-star hotel and an international golf course combined in one package.” It was particularly satisfying for efm to see the transformation of the property, and the hiring of 210 staff created tremendous job employment in Tobago. However, with satis- faction comes challenges, including a great deal of training, and extensive marketing to promote the hotel in what is considered an isolated destination, because Tobago does not have the abundance of airlift that other islands enjoy. St. Lucia and Grenada have several direct flights from the U.S., but Tobago has only one (Caribbean Airlines) from JFK, once a week, and a direct flight from Germany. Other than that, all flights come through other destinations, such as St. Lucia and Antigua. That makes it difficult from a marketing standpoint when you’re com- peting with other islands. On the plus side, the airport is only about 12 minutes from the resort, which is located in Tobago Plantations, a 710-acre estate with