TORONTO — Travel agents at Sunwing Travel Group’s annual holiday industry lunch gave a big round of applause in support of RIU Hotels & Resorts’ recent decision to get rid of restaurant reservations at their properties. For guests, the tedious task of waking up at the crack of dawn while on vacation to secure a coveted dining reservation was getting a bit much and agents were getting an earful from clients.
“We removed the restaurant reservation system in the Americas. Thank you for the feedback,” RIU’s Director of Business Development & Partner Marketing, USA & Canada, Hugo Aguilera, told agents at the lunch.
There was another round of applause when Aguilera came out strongly against the time-share side of the industry. “We’re a no time-share company. We are total supporters of the travel agent community.”
Aguilera said RIU keeps its ear close to the ground when it comes to comments and input from retail partners. “We listen to your comments. And we’re constantly looking for new destinations to send your clients.”
Coming off a record run of resort openings and renovations, RIU is showing no signs of slowing down with even more resorts popping up in new (for the company) vacation hotspots.
In 2018 RIU will open its first property in Huatulco and in 2017, Riu Dunamar, also in Mexico. Aguilera said renovations for Riu Bambu in Punta Cana and Riu Palace Paradise Island in the Bahamas will both undergo renovations in 2017.
Looking back on RIU’s busy 2016, openings included Riu Republica in Punta Cana and Riu Reggae in Jamaica. Opened just days ago, the positive buzz on Riu Reggae is so strong that the new resort is already booked up for January and February.
Meanwhile the company’s urban-focused Riu Plaza Hotels brand is making its mark in major cities around the world. “International expansion has been the key to RIU’s success,” said Aguilera. New urban properties include the Riu Plaza New York Times Square and the Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin.
RIU’s meteoric growth wouldn’t have been possible without its travel agent partners, including the many top-producing agents present at yesterday’s Sunwing lunch. “Thank you for your business, your support and for trusting your clients to us,” said RIU’s Vice President Business Development & Partner Marketing, Sergi Ruiz Pique.
He encouraged to join the RIU Specialist Program, with a new chapter coming early next year covering all the new resort openings and renos, “so stay tuned.”