When Sandals Resorts International rolled into Toronto last night (Nov. 15) for the 18th stop on its Overdrive unveiling tour, the message was clear that travel agents are vital to the company’s success.
“The goal tonight is really to thank the travel agents in Canada for all the work they do to make Sandals and Beaches Resorts such a strong company. With the help of travel agents, we’ll always be successful,” Gary Sadler, senior vice-president of sales for Unique Vacations Inc., told PressToday. “We’re telling you about the new updates that we have for our products, all the brand new things that are coming on stream, but a key to it is that our chairman is present, our CEO is present, and they’re here to send a very simple strong plain message that the travel agents in Canada are extremely important to us.”
With a strong showing of nearly 50 executive staff and members from its properties across the Caribbean and representatives from all of its destinations in attendance, including Saint Lucia’s tourism minister Dominic Fedee, agents got an overview of the latest product news like what’s in store at Sandals Royal Barbados, set to open Dec. 20 complete with a bowling alley, Beaches Turks and Caicos, which will be re-opening Dec. 14, the development of more over the water suites, this time at Sandals South Coast, and the newly announced Sandals Wedding options, which allow clients to customize their weddings, all of which are commissionable to agents.
“We’ve had this desire to out perform our best work. Sandals is not in competition with some of the other all-inclusives out there, Sandals is actually in competition with itself, with its last project, with what it did before, prior, how do you keep elevating the bar?” said Adam Stewart. “And then as you elevate the bar in the new hotel, you’ve got to go back in the existing hotels and make them better.”
The CEO of Sandals Resorts International also confirmed to the crowd of roughly 450 industry personnel and agents that the luxury all-included vacation provider has officially signed a deal with Trinidad and Tobago to simultaneously build a Sandals and a Beaches resort.
During the evening David McClung, president of Baxter Travel Media, presented Sandals with the 2017 Agents’ Choice Awards for favourite All-Inclusive Hotel Brand, sweeping the category since its inception 18 years ago, and favourite Responsible Travel Company.
“We try our best to provide what we call a bullet-proof product, meaning you go there and everybody enjoys themselves and if there’s ever a problem we’re going to look after you,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, accepting the award. “This is a beautiful award, it fits into my hand to hit Gary Sadler with when he doesn’t perform… we love Canada, we love the travel agents, they’re our backbone. Thank you!”
More to come in the next edition of Travel Courier.
Pictured at top with the 2017 Agents’ Choice Awards are (l-r) David McClung, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Maureen Barnes-Smith, and Adam Stewart.
Pictured below are Unique Vacations Inc.’s Gary Sadler and Maureen Barnes-Smith.