April 6th, 2021, marked the 15th anniversary of Joe Najjar, General Manager, La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino. The celebration at the resort included a giant balloon arrangement that followed Joe as a shadow everywhere he went on his special day.
Joe was also the guest-of-honor at lunch at the Chit Chat café, and in the afternoon he was celebrated at a special Associates’ Meeting, sharing a toast and receiving heartfelt congratulations.
Joe was hired as the new General Manager of the resort a few months after La Cabana’s separation from the Villas wing, at the end of 2005.
As the new GM he encountered many challenges, some legal, attached to the separation, and some practical: The 15-year-old property needed a comprehensive renovation, the reserve account was depleted, the F&B operation generated losses and the resort was overstaffed, in view of becoming smaller.
With his extensive F&B experience and the resort management expertise, Joe took a deep breath and dove into La Cabana’s unique Timeshare setup.
Restructuring F &B, creating peripheral revenues from stores and room rentals in order to maintain the operational fees affordable for the timeshare owners, Joe worked diligently with the Board of Directors to plan renovations in 2008, against a backdrop of a global financial crisis.
Things did not happen overnight, but Joe never lost his focus to elevate La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino to its next level of service, enhance its vacation product, invest in energy savings, cost control, reserve provisions, associates’ development, improved productivity and efficiency.
Over the years, Joe made sure that La Cabana maintained enough resources for learning, and development of all La Cabana’s associates. The resort acquired a great reputation for celebrating achievements and organizing creative activities, involving associates and their extended families.
Joe’s belief that taking care of La Cabana’s associates will result in them taking good care of owners and guests, paid off. Timeshare owners immediately saw the value and benefit of their vacation investment increase, and they returned frequently, converting exchange guests into owners.
Together with the team La Cabana’s Vision & Mission were put into action and evolved over the years, becoming sacred values, filling the operation with purpose. With his eye for details and his frequent walks through the property, Joe ensured the resort delivered on its promise, and continuously created memorable vacations.
Joe ‘s leadership inspired many, and spilled over to other areas, including leadership roles at the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, and the Aruba Timeshare Association, and the community in general.
It is obvious that Joe cares about animal welfare, arts and culture, children, education and environment. Joe loves Aruba above all, and enjoys nature, biking, swimming, and dancing in Aruba’s yearly Carnival Grand Parades, letting some work related stress go.
They say that time flies when you are having fun. La Cabana has been Joe’s passion these past 15 years and it is indeed amazing how fast these 15 years have passed.
The most challenging year? Hands down, 2020. Joe, and his team had to deal with the Island’s shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The resort closed its doors, but work continued, from home, and with a minimal crew on site. Strategic plans were made and under Joe’s leadership the resort navigated the storm of lost income to find savings, and maintain all full time associates working for a better future, for the resort, the island and the world.
Joe, Pabien cu bo 15 aña y danki pa tur loque bo a haci pa La Cabana. Let’s celebrate. May the Good Lord Bless you with great health, and the energy to go on working many more years.