In the competitive market of all-inclusive hotels and resorts, how must one stand apart? Being consistent, reliable and having the support of travel agents is a good start, says Playa Hotels & Resorts. In this week’s Take Five, we sit down with Rose Cosentino, Vice President Sales – Canada to learn more about the brand, how far it’s come in just 10 short years, and how it’s planning to build and nurture its loyal agent base.
1. For those who are still unfamiliar with the brand, can you tell us a little about it?
Playa Hotels & Resorts has a brand-led portfolio that includes a range of options to accommodate a variety of guests’ preferences. We’re best known for our strategic partnerships with Hyatt, Hilton and lifestyle brand Panama Jack. Our resorts can be found on the best beaches in the best locations and have several key product attributes including world class service, best-in-class food and beverage offerings, professional fitness and spa facilities and oversized, well-appointed accommodations. If you ask any agent what Playa Hotels is known for, they’ll tell you consistency, reliability and the services we provide. It’s what we pride ourselves on both on-resort as well as on the-ground here in Canada.
2. Can you give us an idea of how much Playa has grown over the years, and what’s in the pipeline in the next 5 years or so?
What you may not know is that Playa, while still new to agents, was launched over a decade ago as an investment company. But it wasn’t until 2014 when we announced our partnership with Hyatt, and we made the commitment to change the future of all-inclusive resorts. In the past 5 years alone, we grew our portfolio of owned and managed properties from 5 to 20 properties. We became the first publicly traded company dedicated to the all-inclusive sector in the US. That was followed by an alliance with Hilton.
Our strategy and approach to business is unlike any other in the industry and we believe in it. So as for the future, we’re dedicated to debunking any misconceptions regarding what all-inclusive means while introducing millions of loyal EP customers to upscale, all-inclusive vacation experiences through our partnerships with Hyatt and Hilton.
3. How does your all-inclusive product differ from others? What sets Playa apart?
In a world full of uncertainty, there’s a level of comfort knowing that you trust the brand or resort you’re traveling to. As a U.S. company we are more in-tune with the Canadian and U.S. all-inclusive market. We provide our agents with options that can align nicely with what their customers are looking for with our unique attributes of each resort; so, this really varies based upon the brand.
• The Hyatt All Inclusive collection is known for a robust selection of wellness offerings and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
• Panama Jack Resorts offers a fun and casual setting from the time you arrive through your entire stay. If you’re looking for a resort that has a sense of spirt and embraces flip flops and “insta-moments”, this is it.
• The Hilton All-Inclusive properties within the Playa portfolio offer an upscale atmosphere with cultural ties to each one of the destinations.
• Jewel Resorts are nothing short of their namesake. Each is a gem, and each offers incredible locations, service, food and beverage and so much more.
• Sanctuary, which is located in Cap Cana celebrated its grand reopening less than a year ago following a complete renovation and expansion. This resort is the undisputed Queen of luxury and is the essence of refinement; including its own Castle experience.
4. How important is the Canadian market? And how do you plan on targeting Canadians in 2020?
We would not be where we are today without the steadfast support of our travel agents and Wholesale partners. Our support of the trade is unwavering, and they are and will continue to be the backbone of our success. Travel agents know the best thing we can do for their clients and our guests is to provide a wonderful vacation experience that has them returning home happy and ready to book again. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when an agent has a client, there a client for life. If we can play a role in making that happen, then we’ve succeeded. With our Business Development team of three (3) covering the country with Freddie Marsh in Western Canada, Amanda Morris in Ontario and Christian Roussin in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, we make sure we maintain our high visibility working with our travel agent partners year-round.
5. Any plans to work with Canadian agents in 2020? And what role do agents play in Playa’s growth plans?
We’re near days away from completing major projects with Hyatt and Hilton in the Dominican Republic which gives agents additional options within the destination that didn’t exist until now. This is only further complemented by the updates that are near completion in Playa del Carmen so we’re excited to have a robust portfolio of new and updated resorts for agents to sell going into 2020. This coupled with solid commissions, comprehensive training program and cash/room redemptions through Playa’s Agent Cash Plus program, we’re making sure we set our partners up for success.