|Thursday, 18 October 2012|
|SANDALS CONVENTION WELCOMES MORE THAN 900 TRAVEL AGENTS|
|Full-day event includes press conference; tradeshow; lunch presentation; break-out sessions; dinner and special musical guest|
Yesterday, Sandals brought all of its resorts to Toronto. Well not really, but it definitely replicated the island atmosphere during its travel agent convention at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Toronto is the only Canadian stop for the resort giant, which welcomed more than 900 agents from the GTA, London, Kingston, Ottawa and even Nova Scotia.
The full-day itinerary included a media roundtable discussion in the morning; a trade show and marketplace; a presentation lunch; five breakout classes in the afternoon; and dinner with special entertainment.
The press conference, held at the Toronto Marriott Hotel, kicked off the Sandals Resorts 2012 Convention.
Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman, Sandals Resorts International; Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts International; The Hon. Dr. George Vincent, Grenada; and Gary Sadler, senior vice president, sales, Unique Vacations Inc., discussed the latest updates happening throughout Sandals properties with the travel media.
Butch Stewart first said that the growth the company has had throughout Canada has been tremendous.
|Gary Sadler, senior vice president, sales, Unique Vacations Inc.; Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman, Sandals Resorts International; and Adam Stewart, CEO, Sandals Resorts International
“I generally say thank you,” he said. “I come to Canada and I feel as though I’m at home.”
In reference to the company’s strategy, he said that Sandals continually strives to improve and reengineer its products.
Adam Stewart confirmed saying that what was created five years ago is not sufficient today, and what has been created today won’t be sufficient in two years.
“[We will] never stop trying to do new things. [Having] an open mind has become the DNA of our organization,” he said. “We are number one because we want to be number one… Every dollar earned by the company is reinvested into the company.”
Adam Stewart said that Sandals has even launched a corporate university to take its “team members to a higher level of training in order [for them] to provide a higher level of service.”
Butch Stewart said that Sandals' success is based on its dedication to customer service and honourable reputation that has taken 30 years to build up.
“A travel agent can send their clients to Sandals blind and they will come back recommending the product,” he said. “If in the crazy situation we have a problem, we [will] fix it like this,” he said snapping his fingers.
UPDATES AND RENOVATIONS
Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club in Jamaica is scheduled to reopen on Nov. 1, 2012, following a US$30 million upgrade.
The resort has updated its appearance with renovated rooms and suites in four distinct villages; added more restaurants; enhanced kids programs; revitalized its watersports; and added more activities and amenities.
Grand Pineapple Beach Negril will reopen on Dec. 15, 2012 in response to customer disappointment by its closing.
Fire pits and improved outdoor areas have also been added across the chain.
In accordance with Your Wedding. Your Style, launched in June, Sandals Resorts has created an online Destination Wedding Designer tool which allows couples to build their own wedding. The tool includes wedding ideas for flowers, décor, wedding cakes, entertainment and more.
First, couples select their wedding location from one of Sandals’ resorts in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia or The Bahamas. Then, they select their wedding colours from 10 distinct shades: classic white, blushed coral, romantic pink, lilac bloom, sea foam, sea glass, soft sand, kiwi, tangerine, and fuchsia.
Couples can also browse the style gallery for ideas to customize the details of their wedding with traditional, modern, tropical or romantic themes. Once the wedding details have been finalized, the couple can use Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or blogs to share the results with friends and family.
Effective immediately, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum will once again be served at all Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.
This renewed partnership marks the end of Sandals Resorts’ two-year collaboration with Demerara Distillers.
The Beaches Resorts Caribbean Adventure continues to grow with new characters and activities.
|Sandra Brousseau, the Beaches Resorts Caribbean Adventure
Some recent highlights include: Oscar the Grouch, who will be making his vacation home at Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club. Big Bird will also be appearing at Beaches Ocho Rios and Super Grover joined all Beaches resorts in April.
In addition to these characters, there are now a total of 10 friends who are part of the Beaches Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street including: Elmo, The Cookie Monster, Zoe, Bert and Ernie, Abby Cadabby and The Count.
TRADE SHOW & MARKETPLACE
After the press conference, the travel media transferred to the Toronto Congress Centre and joined the more than 900 travel agents for a trade show.
There were dozens of booths set up featuring every destination, activity, partner, airline, tour operator, chef and Sesame Street character that has a relationship with Sandals Resorts.
Guests then moved into the dining hall for lunch and a presentation.
The inside of the dining hall looked like the inside of a Las Vegas hotel. It was fully decked out in big TV screens displaying Sandals advertisements; posters of properties; neon lights; songs by Bob Marley; and even a full audio-visual crew.
The in-depth training classes began in the afternoon. Each travel agent was given a different coloured lanyard and was assigned a specific class schedule.
Topics covered included the new WeddingMoons program and the online Destination Wedding Designer tool; effective sales and marketing techniques; Sandals and Beaches groups and incentives programs; dining options; and island adventure tours and golf experiences.
During a luncheon, Juno winning musician Chantal Kreviazuk performed.
Linda Henderson • 2012-10-22
|One of the most entertaining presentation/workshops I have ever attended. Well organized and educational. Thank you for your great hospitality.|
Susan Cianfarani • 2012-10-20
|The best travel convention this year. Extremely well organized for such a large group. The trade show was very well represented and each table was overflowing with brochures and information. Having the General Managers and key staff members was a very personal touch. The workshops were full of new and exciting information and ran in a timely manner. I enrolled the majority of my staff and all were incredibly impressed with the entire event and the wealth of information they came back with. Each and everyone are motivated to put everything they learned into action and start selling Sandals/Beaches Products. Looking forward to the next one. Travel with Love and Passion, Susan Cianfarani|
Lynn Bernier • 2012-10-19
|Thank you Sandals,for always striving to do better and for being the best..... it truly was a great day.|
Roy Alvis • 2012-10-19
|Great Presentation, great sessions, in all the class rooms loved it, one of the BEST presentations i ever been too, the greatess of all i won a trip for 4 days in Sandals of my dream choice. I would love too pay for 3 more days and make it a 7 day stay. WHY you may ask December 5th is my Wife's 60th Birthday and i would love to give her a Romantic birthday in Sandals in Turks&Caicos.It will be a Dream come throught. I WILL BE SELLING SANDALS SANDALS, more of SANDALS (All good,) good luck Sandles you Guys did a good Job we love you guys. my dept will be 4th of December.Please help with good rate on a flight from yyz to Turks& Caicos Thanks. |
seeta narine • 2012-10-19
|the presentation was great, just a suggestion, it would be nice if you think about serving some island dinner for you 2013 presentation. i could suggest a really good caterer to your team, jerk chicken and peas and rice|