Sunwing’s ‘Vacation Better’ shows kick off launch of new 2019/20 product offering

TORONTO — Travel agents are the driving force behind much of Sunwing’s success and the company doesn’t forget it. “We truly do appreciate your support and we don’t take it for granted,” said Sunwing’s VP, Retail Sales Deana Murphy to cheers and applause at last night’s ‘Vacation Better’ roadshow.

Deana Murphy, VP Retail Sales, Sunwing

Agents at the show were in a mood to celebrate – it was Travel Agent Day, after all – and Sunwing was one of many suppliers thanking agents with a special Travel Agent Day offer. For agents who missed the May 1 incentive, “there’s always a new promotion,” says Murphy. “It’s not about just one day of showing appreciation.”

Sunwing’s STAR rewards program, with points that convert to cash, “is the best loyalty program in the industry,” says Murphy. “There’s no limit to what you can earn, no ceiling.” Sunwing has asked agents what they spend their STAR points cash on and the answers were sometimes surprising. While many agents put their earnings towards, not surprisingly, travel, others get creative. “One agent told us she uses it for stocking her wine fridge. Another told us she puts her earnings towards getting tattoos.”

Travel agent Tanja Steinbock with her cheque for one million STAR points at last night’s ‘Vacation Better’ roadshow in Woodbridge, ON

Agents at last’s night show, held at the Paramount event venue in Woodbridge, took part in a one-hour trade show followed by a sit-down dinner and presentation by Murphy and the team. The roadshows kicked off April 30 in London, ON and wrap up May 30 in Moncton. All in all some 5,000 agents will attend the Vacation Better roadshows across the country, along with reps from 55 suppliers.

Nancy Drolet, Business Development, CTO at the Bahamas booth

Murphy outlined highlights in the brand new 2019/2020 editions of the Sunwing and Signature Collection by Sunwing brochures.

The largest and most comprehensive Sunwing brochure ever, the 2019/2020 edition includes the widest selection of top-rated resorts and excursions in over 55 popular vacation hotspots across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, including two new destinations, Tobago and Grenada.

The brochure also features a number of new arrivals including Lopesan Costa Bavaro Resort, Spa & Casino and the Adults Only Club at Lopesan Costa Bavaro as well as Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa which will feature the first-ever overwater bungalows for Royalton Luxury Resorts.

There are also several properties slated to open soon including Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun and Royalton Grenada Resort and Spa.

New for this year the brochure also includes hundreds of tips from Sunwing travel experts, from the inside scoop on the latest resorts and best rooms for families, to details about top Sunwing Experiences tours and excursions.

Jeff Clauss, Director of Air Service Development & Marketing, St. Pete-Clearwater International with Universal Orlando’s Senior Manager – Canada, Beth Fleeton

Meanwhile the latest issue of the Signature Collection by Sunwing brochure features collections with seven leading resort chains, with exclusive perks and privileges when clients book their vacation at RIU Hotels & Resorts, Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Excellence Group, Hard Rock Hotels, Jewel Resorts, Krystal Hotels & Resorts and – new for this year – Palace Resorts.

When clients book their vacation packages to these leading resort chains with the Signature Collection by Sunwing, they can look forward to spa credits, 24-room service, free WiFi, VIP check in and more depending on the resort they select.

At RIU Hotels & Resorts properties available through Sunwing, travellers can look forward to a host of exclusive RIU-topia and RIU Palace inclusions such as in-room liquor dispensers, unlimited reservation-free dining and, at RIU Palace Resorts, 24-hour room service, daily champagne breakfasts, pool waiter service and more.

All smiles at the D.R. booth

Murphy and Dave Wright, Sunwing’s Director of Sales, Ontario & Atlantic Canada tested agents’ knowledge about the brochures and Sunwing product with fun pop quizzes throughout the night, with questions on everything from family-friendly Smile Resorts (great for single parents with no single supplements) and adults-only Relax Resorts categories, to Groups perks and more.

With Sunwing’s Groups bookings (‘All You Need is 10’) the perks include the chance to earn free travel, Platinum Club, bonus STAR points, the new ‘Book 10, Hold 20’ option, price matching, price guarantees and discounted deposits.

“The more you book, the more you earn, the more you have to spend,” said Wright. Agents can check with STAR points balance, convert with points to cash and more at sunwingagents.ca.

Sunwing also recently launched Sunwing Flex, allowing agents to book clients to destinations Sunwing currently doesn’t fly to, including Hawaii, Barbados and Belize. Agents are asked to email insidesalesyyz@sunwing.ca for more details. More product is coming to Sunwing Flex in June and July.

Sunwing is also highlighting its Worry Free Cancellation Waiver, to help close sales. Videos are very effective as well, says Wright. Sunwing’s YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/SunwingTV. “Try sending these videos to your clients. It’s been proven that people are more likely to book if they see a video.”