LOWER SACKVILLE, NS — The rollout of vaccinations and the spring weather have many in the industry feeling a bit more optimistic about restarting travel in the months ahead.
But it can still be tough for travel agents to strike the right tone when promoting vacations to their clients, when there’s still so much uncertainty.
Getting creative helps. Kim Hartlen with Kim Hartlen Travel TPI in Lower Sackville, NS had good results from an online event she hosted recently with Beaches Resorts.
Hartlen is a Certified Sandals Specialist and has been named to the elite Chairman’s Royal Club, which recognizes the top-tier retail partners for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.
Hartlen’s ‘Follow Me to the Beach’ online event showcasing Beaches Turks & Caicos took place Saturday, March 13 “and it was a huge success,” said Hartlen.
Hartlen is hosting a group to Beaches Turks & Caicos in October 2021.
The March 13 virtual tour was led by Beaches Turks & Caicos’ GM, Jamie McAnally, and sales manager Tanya Swann, with a special appearance by none other than Sesame Street’s Elmo.
“We toured a few rooms in Key West Village,” says Hartlen. “Chef Colin did some wonderful samples to show us from the Sky Lounge and they even made Nanaimo bars for us Canadians. We had Bishop, one of their best bartenders, do a ‘Bishop Special’ and he made us a drink with Canada’s colours, white and red.”
The Beaches Turks & Caicos team ended the event with staff holding up a Canadian flag, “and on their t-shirts it said ‘We Love Canada’.”
Says Hartlen: “My phone and emails were blowing up after the event, with clients asking for information on rates.”
Hartlen had reached out to her contact at Unique Vacations Canada to get the ball rolling on setting up the virtual event. “This was my vision and I called my contact at Sandals and discussed it and they were onboard right away,” she says.
Even in these challenging times, it can be worth it to get creative and give clients ideas, and inspiration, she says, adding that she recommends online events like this for every agent.
“I had such great feedback and bookings from this event, and it was so nice to feel like I was back in the travel game again,” says Hartlen.
“I found it so rewarding even just for myself.”