A Pioneer Called Nancy

The Aruba Caribbean’s First Sales and Marketing Executive, recognized

Palm Beach, Aruba – 3/30/2016. The Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, had conducted a search for historic photographs in the past few weeks. The images collected will be transformed into new artwork for the elegant rooms and the freshly designed public spaces, as part of the renovations this upcoming summer.

Nancy Maceachern submitted interesting photographs and a good personal story:

In Aug. 1959, as a young woman, she was hired as assistant to the ARUVEN Director Jeffy De Veer, at the Aruba Caribbean Hotel. It was shortly after the opening of the 120 room property, on Palm Beach. Famous American architect Morris Lapidus was commissioned by ARUVEN, a joint venture between Aruba & Venezuela, to design a gorgeous building to the tune of Awg 3 million, but the non-believers kept asking, who would stay there? The goats?! Who would want to come to Aruba on vacation?

As you can imagine, times were tough. There was no business, and Nancy was also asked to oversee sales and marketing, and see what she can do to promote the resort in Venezuela and Puerto Rico. With a stroke of creativity she came up with the “Aruba Bonus” program. It took off slow, then spread like wild fire. Nancy travelled to Caracas herself, and knocked on the doors of existing travel agencies explaining that each Aruba-bound passenger would get an 80 Bolivar refund, for a minimum of four vacation nights at the Aruba Caribbean.

Apparently, not much has changed since 1959, because the Venezuelan Government at the time penalized its citizens for leaving the country by taxing them 80 bolivars each. It still does, in many other ways. The Aruba Bonus program, promised to refund that amount, and that just started a long and successful love affair with Venezuelan tourists. Nancy managed to secure a two page spread in the Caracas Daily describing the treasures of the island, and the double spread was printed a number of times, supported by local adz by Kan Jewelers and Spritzer & Fuhrman, promoting Duty Free shopping.

Nancy worked at the hotel for five years in various positions. She travelled tirelessly to promote the Grade Dame in New York and created adz in the local newspapers for the Klompen Klub, the Papiamento Room, the Bali Bar other hotel outlets, such as the 41 slot machine casino and the Divi Divi pool bar.

The actual hotel management company, Executive Offices Inc., was a Chicago based operation. It was the one who accepted the offer of the Aruba Government to run the hotel in the middle of nowhere, and add it to its hotel collection which included the Condado in Puerto Rico.

Nancy was born in Aruba to American parents, her father worked at Lago Oil Refinery and she went to school here, then pursued a higher education in the US. Upon her return armed with a diploma, she worked for De Veer & Sons, then became the first sales and marketing executive on the island.

She recalls business became so good, that she had to take the reservation system over. At certain holidays the overflow of guests would be accommodated in the ballroom and the in the cabanas, because everyone wanted to come here, stay at the Carib, and shop for duty free bargains in Oranjestad, “because in Aruba, every day is Perfect for a Sunbeach Fiesta.”

Nancy still lives in Aruba, dividing her time between her home in Oranjestad and California USA.

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