“It’s not just a gimmick,” Maureen Barnes-Smith, director of sales & marketing for Unique Vacations Canada Inc., the worldwide representatives of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, told PressToday ahead of an intimate travel agent appreciation dinner held at the Bisha Hotel Toronto yesterday (Jan. 13). “Travel agents in Canada continue to be our No. 1 distribution channel. Our entire sales team, our primary focus is to work with travel agents and that hasn’t changed. They continue to be the cornerstone of everything we do.”
Outlining five key pillars – quality, luxury, innovation, service and trust – she used the event as a platform to explain why the brand has shifted away from being defined as all-inclusive to luxury included five-star resorts.
“We have over the water suites, love nests, over the water chapels, over water bars, luxury transfers, all of those things which kind of signify that we’re not just all-inclusive, we’re exceeding expectations,” she said. “We’re not just about building a cookie cut product.”
During the event, BDM Giselle Williams said over the next year agents can’t just wait for clients to approach them but should look into innovative ways to sell and attract more business. On that note, she recognized Lou-Anne Fradsham of UNIGLOBE Bon Voyage for her outstanding sales achievement, including a Pickleball group.
Although she alluded to more development in the pipeline, Barnes-Smith also outlined some of the latest news includes the renovations to the Sandringham block at Sandals Royal Caribbean are set to be completed by Valentine’s Day, nine new rondovals are coming to Sandals South Coast, Sandals Ochi increased its over-the-water chapel to facilitate up to 50 guests, and a fourth resort is coming to St. Lucia.