One year later and Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia still sparkles like new. The five-star resort by Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts debuted in Punta Cana in November 2016 as part of the Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort, a sprawling complex that comprises seven resorts in total. Fantasia is its newest addition, and the company’s only property under its Fantasia Bahia Principe category, a family-friendly concept that offers thematic hotels. While a second Fantasia property is set to debut in Tenerife, Spain in late 2018, Fantasia in Punta Cana will always be the benchmark for all future ultra-luxe family options in Bahia Principe’s growing portfolio. In this week’s edition of Friday Five, we catch up with Liuisa Salord, Senior Vice President, Global Sales, Contracting & Distribution at Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts to discuss how the resort is doing after a year in business, what its top selling features are, and how Bahia Principe works with travel agents.
1) The Bahia Principe complex in Punta Cana is already so big. Why did the company decide to open a seventh resort? And are there plans to add more resorts to the complex?
Punta Cana is an amazing vacation destination. It offers miles and miles of idyllic beaches and the locals are welcoming and charming. It has a unique natural setting with turquoise waters and beautiful, verdant sceneries and opportunities for active travellers and culture buffs abound. The addition of Bahia Principe Fantasia was a way for us to complete our robust offer in the destination. We are not planning to add any additional hotels to the Bavaro complex.
2) What would you say are the top 3 selling points of Bahia Principe Fantasia? And the top 3 selling points of the entire complex as a whole?
The top three selling points at Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia are that it is truly family-friendly, with a kids club, waterpark and three fairytale castles; it’s a luxury property where guests can enjoy butler service and 24-hour room service; and that Fantasia guests have access to the full Bavaro complex.
The top selling point of the complex as a whole is its ability to provide personalized experiences based on guest’s preferences. Hotel guests can find adults-only, luxury, oceanfront and family-friendly accommodations within the same complex. And since there are Luxury and Grand properties, we can accommodate various price points. Guests travelling in groups can stay at adjacent properties without sacrificing their personal preferences.
3) How important are Canadians to Bahia Principe? How much of its annual Caribbean bookings come from Canadians?
We proudly serve and welcome travellers from around the world each year to our properties and the Canadian market is the top market in the world for us. It is a market that accepted the brand from the beginning and we think it is because we’ve provided a product that fits well with their needs. Canadians love to travel, and they prefer warmer destinations with over 3 million visiting the Caribbean last year alone. These travellers seek convenience and value. To Punta Cana alone, Canadians have plenty of nonstop air carry options from major gateways including Toronto, Montreal and Quebec, Punta Cana is an obvious choice.
4) What do you think is Bahia Principe ’s strength as a brand, and as a company?
Bahia Principe is a family-owned business that values the importance of curated experiences based on budget, interest and needs. One of our biggest strengths is our ability to appeal to a variety of market segments such as adults-only or family-friendly, travellers seeking a vacation hotspot or wanting to venture off-the-beaten-path. Our guests can be confident that whichever of our properties they select, they’ll experience an elevated all-inclusive experience: excellent service, high-quality food and beverage offerings, endless entertainment and a vacation where their needs are placed above all else.
5) How does Bahia Principe work with travel agents?
For travel agents, less than a year ago we launched our loyalty program, Bahia Principe Rewards. We felt we had a missing link when it came to thanking our travel partners and with this program we hope to show our appreciation. Awards are based on bookings, including 100-125 points for each room booked, and can be used for free stays, spa discounts and other perks. We have plans to continue to expand the program in 2018 with new benefits and right now, we’re offering 250 welcome points for agents who sign up for the program.
Also, we have a representation agency based in Toronto, with two BDMs exclusive to Bahia Principe who support us and assist in all the trade shows.
Our marketing departement also negotiates with tour operators in Canada in order to update the travel agents and make them learn about Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts