The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas
- One Ocean Drive, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Director of Sales and Events
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2017
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Independent Consultant and Event Stylist, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida; St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Florida; Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida; Walt Disney Company, Washington, DC; Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Maryland; Eden Rock Renaissance Resort & Spa, Miami, Florida
- Miami, Florida, USA
- Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
Nancy Brenner is quick to admit that she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life until she finally did it. “I went to college to find a husband,” she quips with a laugh that makes one think she’s not totally exaggerating. Funny, then, that Brenner now spends much of her time and talent giving couples the time of their lives on the most wonderful day of their lives at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas.
As Director of Sales and Events, Brenner leads a strong team filling the calendar of the resort’s stunning function spaces and ensuring that corporate meetings, social gatherings, and weddings alike unfold as picture-perfect and memorable as the destination itself.
The job is a multitasker’s dream. There is constant outreach to clients, vendors and Resort ownership, as well as networking and travel to build relationships and secure referrals. She also keeps in close contact with onsite food-and-beverage and guest-services talent to create experiences that please on every point and enhance the Resort’s reputation as the premier destination for weddings and events in the Bahamas.
Brenner and her team stay focused on upcoming trends. “There’s always something new in the market,” she says, citing her regular trips to trade shows and the value of social media in staying up on and ahead of things. Brides and vendors are all over Pinterest and Instagram looking for the latest in colour schemes, tablescapes, and food-and-beverage, so the Sales & Events staff is too. “It’s a constant dance: They clue us into what’s hot, and we make it happen. It’s fascinating to see how things change year to year.”
Among the hottest things Brenner has noticed of late is the trend toward incorporating the natural environment into matrimonial occasions. That plays right into The Ocean Club’s strengths, with pastel sunsets sinking into the shimmering blue ocean; the terraced Versailles Gardens bursting with greenery; and the renowned Cloisters, a favourite setting for exchanging vows surrounded by stonework and statuary from a 12th-century French Augustinian monastery that were once owned by William Randolph Hearst.
“We offer something no other resort does, and we can do so much with our setting: fireworks, confetti moments, live bands and more.” One popular option for onsite events is a junkanoo parade, a Bahamian tradition dating back centuries, with costumed dancers getting everybody going as they lead guests to cocktails, dinner or the after party. Local delicacies – such as Sky Juice served in top-chopped raw coconuts from an island farm, and live-action conch salad stations – take things over the top. “Everybody loves those things.”
Of course, destination weddings are about so much more than getting hitched. Brenner’s team works closely with departments throughout the Resort to offer an array of activities for groups and wedding clientele to enjoy over a typical three-day stay: Morning yoga on the beach, sunset cruises in the fading glow of a day, movie nights on a beach deck with glow-in-the-dark pastries and truffle popcorn, and more
Whatever the occasion, clients know what they want and Brenner’s job is to see that they get it. “Nothing is by the numbers these days. We’re fashioning intimate events with restaurant-style dining and personalized details that fit like a glove. It’s our client’s big day – perhaps it’s their biggest. We want them to leave with memories that last.”
Sunshine State born and bred, Brenner “fell into” the hotel industry after a college friend told her about training she’d received at a Hyatt property in Orlando. “That’s where I got started, behind the concierge desk.”
In between guests, she would watch the hotel’s conference services and sales managers walking around with clients by their sides and binders in their hands, having lunch and cementing plans. “My father told me, ‘Whatever you want to do, follow your dreams.’ So I told myself, ‘that’s what I want to do.’”
At the time, such positions required a strong knowledge of hotel operations, so Brenner got into a management-training program and worked her way up. She got started in catering at a hotel in St. Louis, and has been in the field ever since. She joined The Ocean Club in 2017, not long before Four Seasons reflagged it.
With its unique settings, intimacy, and cherished location, the property is a dream sell. “You don’t feel like you’re at a Resort here; you feel like you’re at a private residence.” She points to the arrival experience on a tree-lined driveway, butler service with every room, and how everyone remembers your name. “That’s all standard,” she says. “Clients feel authentically pampered throughout, and it starts with the very first site tour.”
With her crazy-busy schedule, what does Brenner like to do in her downtime? “Sleep.” No, seriously. “Yes, seriously! No, just kidding.” Actually, she counts a great circle of friends, her golden retrievers Starsky and Hutch, and her “dream job” among things that keep her grounded. “The field is constantly transforming itself with new ways to celebrate and make clients feel welcome. Seeing their smiles never gets old.”