TORONTO — At Playa Hotels & Resorts’ VIP Showcase & Reception in Toronto this week, there were sips, shucks and sweets – plus all the latest news travel advisors need to know to sell Playa, and of course, immense gratitude for everything agents have done over the past 2+ years.
Taking place at Constantine restaurant at Anndore House in the heart of downtown, the event drew an enthusiastic and high-energy crowd of Playa’s travel advisor partners, and everyone was in a celebratory mood as bookings continue to soar.
“I think it’s incredible for us to be here tonight, and to acknowledge what you have all gone through and the fact that you’re here supporting us. For me, personally, it does mean a lot,” said Rose Cosentino, VP, Sales, Canada for Playa Hotels & Resorts.
The dynamic duo of Cosentino and Amanda Morris, Director of Sales Canada, hosted the evening – and that’s fitting because during the pandemic, the two women kept everything on track for Playa in the Canadian market during the long years of the pandemic.
“It was just really Amanda and I holding down the fort, if you will, during COVID,” Cosentino told agents. The VIP event toasting travel’s rebound, and allowing Cosentino and Morris to re-connect with Playa’s retail partners, was a must-do, she added. “When Amanda and I first talked about it, when to do it and what to do, it was no-brainer. We’re going to do this and make it happen.”
PLAYA’S 3 PILLARS
During the pandemic, when Canadians were still in lockdown, “the rest of the world was still travelling, and Playa was welcoming guests with all of our protocols at the resorts in place. And what we also decided to do was look at what, can we do better? If something was broken or not working, let’s see what we could do and make that guest experience even more enjoyable,” said Cosentino.
“We decided to focus on what we call the three pillars, and those are: enhancing the culinary delights / F&B at the resorts and across all of our brands; our entertainment – we really want to reimagine what that would look like so that guests are not just getting that typical entertainment that normally you would get at a resort; and health and wellness, especially post-pandemic whether it’s having a specialty smoothie or a relaxing session of yoga.”
On this key emphasis on health and wellness, Cosentino said with a laugh: “Our chairman is a runner, so you know it’s all about what happens at the top filters down, right? We embrace that and that’s quite important to us as a company and our culture.”
All the resorts were mandated to come back with what they could they do to focus on these three pillars to make the type of guest experience even more enjoyable.
Cosentino spoke to travel trends: “What we’ve seen and what we continue to see, is that people are travelling and they’re travelling for longer durations. They’re wanting a nicer room category, not the lead-in we’re used to seeing. People are paying that little extra typically for a suite, or for a one -or -two-bedroom villa. We’re seeing this more and more consistently from the Canadian market. Canada has a diverse group of travellers. And with our brands, we’ve got all different price points, from our Wyndham Alltras, to our Jewel Resorts, to our Hiltons and our Hyatts, and now of course with the Marriott Sanctuary that is part of the Luxury Collection.”
Cosentino also had some breaking news: the company’s first Kimpton resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. “This is new and exciting for us, it means that there will be more of these types of hotels in our portfolio. So when I say that we are still a growing company, that’s a perfect illustration of what that looks like.”
The Kimpton Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa & Nature Park will be operated by Playa Hotel & Resorts and is expected to open in early 2024. The renovated property will offer 255 rooms, 11 culinary venues, five swimming pools, a spa and fitness centre, a kids’ club and 26,200 square feet of meeting and events space.
“WE KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO BE WITH US”
Morris had some words for agents at the VIP event as well. “This has been amazing,” she said. “The idea of being here tonight was really and truly like Rose said, just to get us all together to celebrate what we’ve been through and to celebrate where we’re going. We know that you’re going to be with us and there’s a lot coming.”
“Our biggest selling feature for us, and why we’re so successful, is because we’re in the three main destinations that all your clients are looking for,” Morris added.
And keep an eye out for Playa’s newest addition: the Wyndham Alltra Riviera Nayarit. Says Morris: “We take it over October 10. We’re really excited to have a new addition to our Pacific Mexico product.”