Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Bahia Principe’s first-ever travel agent appreciation event took place in Toronto last night, with close to 100 of its most loyal agents in attendance despite the city’s first major snowfall.
But the snow simply added to the night’s festivities, which also included a glamourous photo wall, photo props, prizes and hors d’oeuvres at Labora restaurant. Bahia Principe’s top supplier partners, including Transat, were also in attendance to thank travel agents for their continued support, particularly during a year marred by hurricanes and tropical storms.
“This night isn’t about us, it’s about you,” said Dennis Vondenhoff, Regional Sales Director, Caribbean & Mexico at Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts. “We want to thank you for your support this year, which may not have been an easy year.”
Helen Montijano, VP Sales & Marketing, USA & Canada, also told Travelweek that nearly 90% of Bahia Principe’s bookings are done through travel agents.
“Travel agents are so important to us as that is where we get the majority of our bookings. The support we receive from agents in Canada is tremendous, and to thank them we have launched a rewards program. We want to thank agents as well as want them to come and stay with us,” she said.
Through the BP Rewards program, Bahia Principe offers incentives via its proprietary points system, with awards based on bookings. For example, 100-125 points are given for each room booked, and can be used towards free stays, spa discounts and other perks.
To entice agents to join the program, Bahia Principe is offering 1,000 welcome points simply for signing up.
“The rewards program offers partners the information and tools necessary to be provide their clients with exceptionally planned vacations, and the opportunity to ‘experience happiness’,” said Montijano. “It is the best tool we offer to keep the travel agent community informed, and to show them our appreciation for their continued loyalty.”
Bahia Principe also offers a brand centre that holds brochures, fact sheets, presentations, logos and more, which agents can download directly from its site. “Additionally, we are constantly coordinating and hosting interactive webinars to discuss brand updates,” Montijano added.
For winter 2018/2019, the resort company is reminding agents of its four newly launched hotel categories and experiences aimed at differentiating properties to cater to differing client needs. These include: Luxury Bahia Principe, the brand’s most luxurious properties; Grand Bahia Principe, which features five-star hotels; Sunlight Bahia Principe, featuring all of the brand’s Spain-based properties; and Fantasia Bahia Principe, family-friendly themed hotels.
“The goal of the reorganization was also to simplify the selection for guests,” said Montijano. “We urge agents to take advantage of this new breakdown when advising clients and to familiarize themselves with it.”
In addition to categorizing resorts by their individual personalities, Bahia Principe further defined its offering by ‘experience’, emphasizing the specific characteristics that make them unique:
During a short presentation, the Bahia Principe team also encouraged agents to keep its various properties top of mind during the winter booking season. These include Fantasia Bahia Principe Punta Cana, a family-friendly themed resort, and Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar, a fully renovated resort for adults only in Punta Cana that features modern rooms, newly added swim-up suites, refurbished restaurants, and a new coffee shop, sports bar and gym. The newly rebranded Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine in Punta, an adults-only property, also offers updated amenities and revitalized entertainment options.
Bahia Principe also offers four additional properties in Samana: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, Luxury Bahia Principe Samana, Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa, and Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo.
For more information go to bahia-principe.com.