Different business models: Sandals vs Royal Mill

Praise Jah for Sandals. Though it does not need saying, I am delighted to say it: Finally, a resort that delivered. Bless them.

Sandals went about business at Buccament with laser focus and unrelenting commitment, inadvertently making a mockery of Royal Mill’s odyssey at Ratho Mill.

Sandals is the epitome of seriousness, professionalism, and discipline, while the cartoonish, low-temperature experiment at Ratho Mill is making Royal Mill look like a motley bunch of wankers who would not get off the pot.

Having said that, I could be well wrong about Royal Mill. They may indeed not be wankers at all but are proficient at the thing they are quietly doing.

Here is a brief timeline for each man. Sandals got serious at Buccament around mid-2020, amid the havoc of COVID and the disruptions in the supply chain. With that to consider, they were cautious and prudent, refraining from announcing an opening date. It was only after navigating their way through those problems that they announced the opening date for March 27 of this year. It should not go unmentioned that even before opening, Sandals has had an early positive impact on SVG, evident in the considerable increase in the minimum wage.

In contrast, Royal Mill started their US$60 million project six months ahead of Sandals and shamelessly predicted, cowboy style, that the 12-storey building would be completed by the end of 2020. Twelve storeys in 11 months! On this island? That is truly funny. To be fair, the confusion caused by the pandemic could justify delays—just as it did for Sandals. What I would like somebody to tell me though, with the restricted access to the Ratho Mill site, who can, and with what equipment, operating in SVG under perfect conditions, achieve that gargantuan feat in 11 months. Only in China, suckers. Only in China.

The science behind their slapdash 11-month completion computation was a hurrah to lure whoever wanted to be lured into their alternate reality, while it left the rest of us in brain befuddlement. Whatever Royal Mill is doing at Ratho Mill has been largely overlooked and under-covered, which suits them and their groupies just fine.

Fast forward to all now so. After googling their website, getting my tenses right was like performing anachronistic summersaults. For instance, saying that in January 2020, Royal Mill was predicting that construction would be completed by the end of 2020 was straightforward enough. But consider this tense twister. The latest is that Royal Mill is now predicting that the resort will be finished four years in the past—by the “end of 2020.” Will deliver in the past. They are predicting the past. FACTS! Don’t watch me you know, it is there. In writing. On their website. That is how serious these wankers are.

The construction at Ratho Mill is a case of arrested development and their inattention to their own website is a case study of sloth and apathy. A website is designed to showcase credibility and professionalism; to promote and build the brand; to encourage customer engagement. The dated information, like a Freudian slip, tells another story. And it is a simple one.

The website is in its fourth year, yet it has never been updated. No one investing that kind of moolah, a whole US$60 million, in a new business could be that utterly negligent—and survive it. So, why never update? Perhaps they did not think about it because no one reminded them. Earnest inquiries would have made them sit up and look at the site. Another reason could be that the site is just eye candy. You are expected to look at the pretty pictures, not read the blurb. And damn if it isn’t pretty and fanciful.

Ralph better start paying attention to that square inch the same how he does pay attention to Black Sands square inch. And how he tended to the inch belonging to Dave Ames of ill-repute long after he should have.

Now that the felon’s name has come up, I hope Ratho Mill does not bestow on us a situation of déjà vu.

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