TORONTO — A word of advice for travel advisors from AMR Collection? Book early, book now.
And this even with longer booking windows and a wider selection of resorts, said Carolina Bellina, AMR Collection’s Senior Director of Canadian Sales at yesterday’s ‘A Taste of Endless Privileges’ event at Park Hyatt Toronto. With the all-important winter season looming, Carolina told Travelweek that bookings have already returned to pre-pandemic levels, and that the most luxurious rooms are selling out first.
“It’s not only the fact that bookings are pacing higher, but also that people are booking higher categories,” she said. “We’re not surprised that luxury was the first to rebound after the pandemic. We were expecting it. That’s why we’ve been working on extending our Secrets brand with Secrets Impression because people want something more upscale and to be pampered after two years of being locked down.”
To meet this increased demand for luxury product, AMR’s Secrets Impression brand, which Bellina says is the most upscale in its global portfolio, will be welcoming two new additions by year’s end: Secrets Impression Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun, and Secrets Impression Moxche in Playa del Carmen. Also opening in late 2022 is Zoëtry Marigot Bay St. Lucia, marking AMR Collection’s entry into the island of Saint Lucia.
This massive growth, said Bellina, was part of the company’s ambitious five-year plan, which, incredibly, was completed within a year.
“Pre-pandemic, we had 50-plus hotels. After the pandemic, we’ll have double the number of hotels that we have. We’re expanding our footprint in places like Mallorca, Tenerife, PortAventura, Greece, Cartagena, Saint Lucia and more,” she added.
Helping to fuel this growth is Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which acquired Apple Leisure Group, AMR Collection’s parent company, in August 2021. The deal, said Bellina, helped AMR Collection go from just 100 hotels in its management portfolio to 1,000 worldwide.
“We give them the all-inclusive presence that they didn’t have previously, and in return they give us access to destinations that we had already planned on opening in, but not as fast,” she added. “So it’s a perfect match for both the all-inclusive and the corporate side of things.”
Karen Nakai, Global Sales Director – Luxury, Lifestyle & Leisure at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, also told Travelweek that the new partnership has been a great marriage.
“It’s given us the ability to expand into regions that we haven’t been in in the past, and also put focus on our leisure guests by bringing in more resorts,” she said. “With AMR having so many brands that are all so different from each other, it really helps us cater to and complement our current Hyatt properties and clients, giving them a reach to vacation now versus just going for meetings and events.”
A message for travel advisors
With Canada being AMR Collection’s #3 market, Bellina stressed how important it is to work with travel advisors, now more than ever.
“Throughout the pandemic, they were the ones who were answering phones and resolving issues, so we appreciate them and all that they do,” she said. “
Bellina encourages advisors to reach out to AMR Collection’s Canadian sales force and to participate in the brand’s webinars and fam trips. There’s also a monthly newsletter that’s sent out to travel advisors featuring up-to-date information and exclusive perks, and the AMRewards travel agent rewards program that allows advisors to earn points for each room night booked and paid.
And coming up on Dec. 1-4, 2022 in Punta Cana is the annual Amazing Agents Celebration where 100 of AMR Collection’s top-selling travel advisors – 20 from Canada and 80 from the United States – will be recognized.
“My main message to travel advisors is to book in advance to ensure availability, and to keep trusting us,” said Bellina. “With our partnership with advisors, the future is bright and together, we’ll have a great 2023.”