TORONTO — Sandals Resorts is no stranger to the power of home-based agents. Specifically, the selling power.
Last week’s ‘Game Changer’ unveiling event for Toronto area travel agents included a Sales Recognition Award for Flight Centre Associates’ Caitlin Lajeunesse. One of six retailers honoured with the award, Lajeunesse is part of a strong trend in home-based sales for the Luxury-Included all-inclusive leader.
“There is tremendous growth and potential from home-based agents in Canada,” says Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing, Canada. One of the Top 10 producing agencies for Sandals Resorts in Canada is TPI, she adds.
Successful home-based agents are marketing experts, both by necessity and because they’re naturals at promoting their own businesses. Barnes-Smith says more home-based agents are opting in for Sandals Resorts’ car-wraps. “Their vehicles are often their mobile offices so it’s excellent branding and advertising for them.”
Many home-based agents were among the 500+ travel agents at the ‘Game Changer’ event, one of 22 unveilings taking part in cities across Canada and the U.S.
Agents heard about the latest new game-changing initiatives available at Sandals and Beaches Resorts. The new ‘Honeymoon Hop’ program allows couples to wed at one resort and honeymoon at another, said Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Brown, Director of Weddings and Romance. It’s an ideal fit for clients with multi-generational wedding guests, who want to honeymoon on their own at a Sandals resort. There are now 18 Sandals and Beaches Resorts on eight islands across the Caribbean.
Couples can also check out a resort pre-wedding with a short-stay ‘Test Drive Your WeddingMoon’, and qualify for a US$500 honeymoon credit. “We need agents who are serious about growing their business exponentially,” said Donaldson-Brown.
She said Millennial couples especially are looking for “fun, memorable and exciting” weddings. Couples getting married at Sandals Resorts gave Sandals wedding planners a 96% satisfaction rating in a recent survey, she added. The Sandals wedding department can help agents “paint a picture, mixing and matching” not just the wedding elements but also the destinations and resorts, she added.
The WeddingMoon Specialist 2.0 Program teaches agents how to book the brand, all about free weddings and free honeymoons and how to work with existing clients who want to ‘ReTie the Knot’.
Also at the event, Patrick Huey, Director of Spa & Fitness took agents on a ‘trip’ from the conference room across a bridge to a Red Lane Spa. Spa visitors are savvy travellers, interested in their physical and emotional health, he said. “They’re looking for authenticity, meaning, depth and fun in a spa experience.”
Spas are no longer loss-leaders, he added, noting that one-third of resort guests will spend on spa services than on F&B. Spas often drive the decision to visit a resort, he added. Sandals and Beaches is the largest spa provider in the Caribbean, with 23 spas, 600 team members, 200 treatment rooms and over 300,000 services performed annually.
Teens and tweens at Beaches Resorts can relax with ‘Ginger Lily’-concept treatments as part of their Red Lane Spa experience. The Ginger Lily lineup includes the Slumber Bar massage, the Scrub-A-Dub-Dub, Quench Bar smoothies and the Bling Bar for nail services. Red Lane staff are now receiving over 1,000 hours of training, said Huey.
Agents also heard about Sandals’ and Beaches’ ‘Gourmet Discovery Dining’ program, now offering over 168 restaurants across all 18 resorts including new concepts such as Indian food, tapas and Southern Table, and top-shelf menu items like Blue Mountain coffee, Wagyu beef and lobster.