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Column: What's on Tap for 2015December 29, 2014 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
2015 is going to be a prosperous and dynamic year for you. You’ll have many new products to sell, and your customers will be hearing about them on TV, online and on billboards. Be proactive to let them know about the travel opportunities that are out there—they’ll love hearing from you.
In New York, the Baccarat Hotel & Residences and The Knickerbocker debut in February. These luxury hotels follow on the heels of the opening of the Park Hyatt, so it's time for a return visit to the city for your affluent clients.
In the tropics, I’m curious about Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts; it’s described as a collection of luxury, eco-friendly guesthouses set within an organic farm, ocean views included. Baha Mar debuts in the Bahamas; that’s an entirely new destination in Nassau with 2,000 rooms in four branded hotels: Rosewood, Mondrian, Hyatt and The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. I’m seeing ads for this $3.5 billion project all over Manhattan (see my photo from the Long Island Railroad below), so don’t doubt that it will be ensconced in your clients’ subconsciousness by the time of the grand opening in late spring. In San Juan, the Condado Vanderbilt debuts in January, delivering a real dash of luxury to one of my favorite cities.
The Brando, an already-open resort on a private island outside of Tahiti once owned by Marlon Brando, has dazzled the travel advisors who have been invited to sample it. They claim the resort has gotten things right on every level, from private villa dining to surf and sand and a very high level of service. Other lovely debuts for the coming year are The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Bali, Park Hyatt Zanzibar, Cheval Blanc St Barth Isle de France and the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca. If these don’t make your heart sing imagine what the Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal will be like; sure to bring a Zen-like vibe to a fairly untapped, charming region known for its wines. Yes, please.
If your clients have already exhausted their new-found love for river cruising, reignite their interest as the top lines go to exotic new locales like Myanmar (new for Scenic Cruises and Avalon Waterways), India (new for Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection) and a remote region within Laos (new for Pandaw Cruises).
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas has already gotten an extreme amount of buzz thanks to its recent pre-inaugural cruises; if you missed the boat on getting in on that debut, its sister, Anthem of the Seas, debuts in the second quarter of next year. Fans of Viking River Cruises will get to see what the brand has in mind for ocean cruising when the Viking Star comes out during the same quarter and NCL is working to have the Norwegian Escape ready by the end of the year.
That’s the hardware, the software comes in as you reinvent yourselves for 2015. Even if business is flowing in from referrals and repeat clients, ask yourselves if you can work smarter, if there’s a way for you to make more money with fewer clients or by automating processes that will free you up to have more human interaction with your best customers.
Here’s to a vibrant, exciting new year!