Business in Barbados
By Laura Blake
Unsurprisingly, business in Barbados is conducted in a similar way as it is across the western world.
Operated in a formal manner, businesspeople should opt for a smart dress code as this is considered to show your counterpart that you value the opportunity to meet them. For men, a dark coloured suit and tie are normal attire, whilst women should choose conservative clothing with sleeves, as sleeveless garments are deemed inappropriate.
Whilst deadlines are flexible, punctuality is expected. Meetings are usually conducted in English, the native language of the island, and it is considered good manners to introduce yourself to a Barbadian first rather than waiting for an introduction. Traditional welcomes involve a hand shake, a polite greeting and the exchanging of business cards, whilst hugging or kissing should not occur as this is strictly reserved for family members. You should always use first and last names when introducing yourself and ensure you greet your client in the same way, as the use of first names on their own is considered disrespectful, especially if the client is older. Finally, remember to smile - Barbadians are incredibly friendly people!
The Best Venues for Business Meetings
Meetings over lunch or dinner are not uncommon in Barbados as they are used to either cement business relations or simply fit you into your associate’s schedule. If meetings do occur in a public environment, make sure you acknowledge all service men and women encountered, such as drivers, shop assistants and waiters – including those you pass in the street – as Barbadians consider it a sign of rudeness to not acknowledge those they come across. One final Bajan custom to be aware of is that the person who proposes the meeting is expected to pay the bill. Home to a number of many well-established restaurants and hotels, it is incredibly easy to find a suitable venue for business meetings and negotiations.
Cin Cin by the Sea
A hot spot defined by elegance and modern décor, ‘Cin Cin by the Sea’ is the perfect setting for negotiations. Combining a white décor, spacious seating and furnishings in neutral cream and grey colours, this ocean-front restaurant successfully creates an atmosphere of absolute professionalism. With the choice of air-conditioned indoor dining or an alfresco experience beside the water, the only likely distraction here is the panoramic view of the west coast; made available for all through the glass panelled wall separating the two areas.
Based in Prospect, Saint James, Cin Cin has lunch, dinner, and dessert menus serving Mediterranean style dishes with a Caribbean twist. From spice seared salmon in citrus banana butter and pan-baked chicken breast with tomato raisin chutney among the choices for a main to traditional dishes of tiramisu, chocolate fondant with coffee crème anglaise, and mango and apple crumble for dessert, those feeling peckish during their meetings will find themselves spoilt for choice. Ideal for those seeking privacy or a venue suitable for both formal and informal situations, allow yourself to mix business with pleasure by reserving a table at Cin Cin by the Sea. With its name referring to the Italian toast, raise your glass to future success.
Sandy Lane, St. James
Catering for different group sizes and meeting styles, ‘Sandy Lane’ is one of the foremost venues for meetings and a long-standing favourite among royals, celebrities and the world’s lead business entrepreneurs since its opening in 1961. Housing three reception level meeting rooms as well as private suites around the resort, the hotel is able to accommodate different group sizes no matter how big or how small they may be. The St. James Conference Room situated in the main building is ideal for those engaging in small or large meetings, whilst group banquets can also be held on the meetings floor of the spa building. Whether you’re holding a board meeting or a conference during your stay, the staff members at Sandy Lane are dedicated to ensuring all of their guests personal requirements are met, whilst its versatile attitude allows you to tailor the facilities to your own personal level of satisfaction. All meeting rooms are equipped with projectors, plasma screens, portable public address systems, tape recorders and flip charts, with the complimentary services of video conferencing and Wi-Fi also being made available. With exceptional service designed to help your meetings run smoothly, Sandy Lane is strongly recommended to those engaging in business in Barbados.
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre
Labelled as being “brilliant for business”, The Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre is Barbados’ premier conference centre. Opened in 1994 the centre has 11 meeting rooms with small ones designed for intimate meetings and larger halls for conferences, meaning the LESC is able to cater for groups as minimum as 10 and maximum as 1,200. Located just outside Barbados’ capital Bridgetown, this conference centre is ideal for all businesspeople, as the central location is approximately fifteen minutes from the airport and even closer to luxury hotels, shopping centres and sandy white beaches.
With in-house catering services and dining areas overlooking the surrounding gardens, this venue is both practical and pretty as it allows visitors to take in the view whilst occupied with business affairs.
In addition to the basics of WIFI and video conferencing, the use of wireless audio controls and modern infrared conference discussion equipment allows the LESC to provide interpretation services in six languages; a service available for all meetings and conferences. Declared the ‘Caribbean’s Leading Conference Centre’ by the World Travel Awards in 2003 and 2009 whilst also receiving the ‘Achievement of Excellence-Support Services’ from the Barbados Tourism Awards, the LESC is a centre that strives to serve all of their clients.
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