VANCOUVER — Playa Resorts’ travel agent workshops took place recently across Western Canada, with the biggest event in Vancouver on June 21.
Participating agents had the opportunity to learn how to use Playa’s award-winning travel agent site to secure sales.
Also covered: Playa’s Groups & Weddings, including training on the company’s Group Code Program.
Workshops were held in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Vancouver and Victoria. More Canadian cities will get workshops in the coming months.
Rose Cosentino, Playa Resorts VP Sales for Canada & Eurasia attended the Vancouver and Victoria events, where the energy and enthusiasm were sky-high. “Being able to engage, educate and energize with our travel partners in person felt incredible,” says Cosentino. “We had some of our tour operator sales team participate in these workshops which further supports the long-standing relationship we have with the travel community.”
Travelweek checked in with Playa’s BDM Western Canada, Freddie Marsh, to find out more about the workshops, and soaring booking levels.
Travelweek: Are agents excited to be sending their clients on Playa getaways after all this time, and what are you seeing in terms of booking levels from Canada?
Marsh: “To say the workshops across Western Canada have been a success would be an understatement. We’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm and we had to move to larger venues to accommodate the large number of travel agents attending, which of course is a fantastic problem to have. Many travel agents said the Playa workshops were their first in-person event in over two years.
“Our first round of workshops was held in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Vancouver and Victoria. Workshops in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic provinces are planned for later this summer and fall – stay tuned.
“Travel agents are excited to be selling travel again and we are seeing this with the tremendous number of new bookings coming in across all our brands.”
Travelweek: What do you want travel advisors to know about the functionality and great tools on Playa’s travel agent website?
Marsh: “A big focus of the workshops was on Playa’s three pillars of hospitality; Wellness, Entertainment and Culinary, as well as in-depth training on AgentCASH+ (Playa’s travel agent website, www.agentcashplus.com).
“The AgentCASH+ site is where travel agents go to ‘report their bookings’ and they will accumulate points to use for free nights and/or gift cards. In addition, the site also has a learning centre, media library, webinar recordings, travel agent rates, groups and weddings as well as direct booking option to earn a minimum of 12% commission.”
Travelweek: What’s your message to agents about Groups and Weddings, and what can you tell us about Playa’s Group Code Program?
Marsh: “We are seeing a massive increase in group business, whether it be destination weddings or just friends & families wanting to travel together. Playa Resorts offers contracted groups (direct and via tour operator), but we’ve also launched our Playa’s Group Code program, an innovative way to book a group without a contract.
“With Playa’s Group Code program, travel agents can make individual FIT bookings and then 15 days prior to travel, email a list of the reservations and we will create the group on the back end and any comp rooms are refunded to the travel agency after travel is completed.
“One important note is that all of the bookings must come through the same source, either direct on our travel agent site or with ONE tour operator. For more information on our Group Code program, we are recommending travel agents to reach out to their BDM.”
Main photo: Freddie Marsh, BDM, Western Canada, Playa Resorts; Ana Vazquez, Area Sales Manager, B.C., ACV; Rose Cosentino, VP Sales for Canada & Eurasia, Playa Resorts; and Marigold Frontuna, General Manager, Sales, Western Canada, ACV