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SPOTLIGHT ON Audrey Oswell, President, Atlantis Paradise Island

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
17 January 2022
4 min read
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Audrey Oswell

Oswell talks about the strength of the Bahamian spirit though the challenges of the pandemic and the importance of empathy, adaptability, listening, learning and innovation to ensure her team feels supported and valued.

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to face as the return of travel has been so unpredictable?
We welcome the return of travel as we continue to see the number of guests to the resort increase, but it has not been without its challenges this year. Earlier in the year there were constantly changing travel restrictions and regulations, which caused confusion for tourists. However, the travel protocols have been relatively consistent since the summer and it has made it much easier for travel to and from The Bahamas. We monitor any changes very closely so we are equipped to communicate to guests and our team members, and ensure they are clear and comfortable with what health protocols are necessary to travel to The Bahamas and the resort. One of the most important things we do here at Atlantis is to provide complimentary return home Rapid Antigen Covid-19 tests that are administered right in the lobby of the hotel. It is safe, easy and convenient.

At Atlantis, we follow all government safety protocols, in addition to employing our Atlantis Clean & Safe Promise. We are encouraged by some increased airlift, including new flights from the UK this fall, but we still need more.

Despite the challenges we have all faced – personally, economically, and emotionally – one thing we are particularly proud of is how incredible the Bahamian spirit is and how the culture and passion of the people and island shine through in the travel experience.

Atlantis Paradise Island

What leadership skills have you had to draw on? How have you connected with your team the most?
It has been important to draw on empathy, adaptability, listening, learning and innovation during this time. I am so proud of our Atlantis family and team members and want to make sure they feel valued, supported, and heard. I am always open to different opinions, feedback, and new ideas, and to continue learning myself so that we can work successfully as a team. Effective and efficient communication has been a priority, providing clear, honest, and consistent information to our guests and team members.

Being flexible and adaptable has also been extremely important with the state of the travel industry in flux this last year. We have needed to act swiftly by updating our protocols, services, and guest experiences to adapt to changing regulations as well as increasing demand. Innovation and developing creative solutions have also been a focus, and we have introduced a variety of reimagined guest experiences to adapt to the new normal.

Atlantis Paradise Island

ESG is a strong trend in recovery. What initiatives are you working on?
A significant portion of our ESG work is with our non-profit organization, the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, which protects and cares for marine life and their extraordinary habitats throughout The Bahamas and the Caribbean. We are particularly focused on research and protection of endangered species and reefs throughout the region. Through the BPF we fund scientific research, conservation, and education programs. The Foundation is responsible for a variety of initiatives including the successful reproduction of critically endangered animals, growing and harvesting coral to restore reefs, rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals in our onsite animal hospital (the Caribbean’s first), sea turtle conservation, and nest protection, establishment of marine protected areas and more.

Dolphin Cay, our marine habitat, opened in 2007 to provide a haven for 17 stranded dolphins and 10 sea lions whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and is now one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated marine-mammal habitats. In addition to Dolphin Cay and the animal hospital, the resort maintains an on-site laboratory, pharmacy, and operating suite to treat injured and stranded marine life, including sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. Once the animals recover, the goal is to safely return them to the wild and back to their natural habitats.

How are you preparing for 2022, which is anticipated to grow stronger with every quarter?
We are seeing strong demand for 2022. Atlantis will debut property updates and renovations, travel incentives and new guest experiences next year. Our Atlantis Clean & Safe Promise protocols are in place and are evaluated to ensure all of our guests and team members are safe.