Air Credit: A Growing Trend for Caribbean Resorts, Destinations

Travel Agent recently asked agents, operators and other industry professionals about some of the greatest challenges they were faced with in 2011 and rising fuel costs was a popular answer.

And it didn’t come as a surprise since, according to the L.A. Times, jet fuel prices increased more than 20 percent in the first two months of 2011 alone.

United Continental Holdings Inc., one of the nation's largest airline companies, reported losing $213 million in the first three months of the year after it paid 34 percent more for fuel than in the same period last year, according to the report, while American Airlines posted $436 million in losses.

When airlines lose money, it comes out of you and your clients’ pockets. If fuel goes up, so does the cost of your clients’ lengthy flights. But clients will still pay for expensive flights if the pay off is worth it when they arrive.

And that’s why Travel Agent is beginning to see more and more Caribbean resorts and destinations making an aggressive push to offer airline credit their guests.

The Veranda Resort in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos was the latest resort to announce a deal offering air credit. The resort, announced this week, that it will be offering agents complimentary airfare with luxury accommodations from $212/ night double occupancy.

The rate is inclusive of complimentary airfare, round trip airport transfers, all meals and beverages (including premium Grey Goose vodka), afternoon tea, twice daily housekeeping, onsite children’s program, non-motorized water sports, wireless internet, all international telephone calls and tax and service charges.

To help alleviate the cost of airline ticket prices in 2012, Sandals Resorts International is offering exclusive airfare credit for clients who book a minimum six-night stay at any Sandals Resorts or Beaches Resorts.

Following the successful $250 airfare credit promotion, the all-inclusive resort company will now offer an even better airfare deal for guests who book a land-only or air-inclusive Caribbean vacation to any Sandals Resorts or Beaches Resorts next year.

We should note, however, that the booking window for this deal expired on Jan. 26, but it’s still worth noting that one of the Caribbean’s most successful hotel chains is also following the trend. Also, Sandals has a habit of extending promotions if it’s successful, so keep an eye out.

But it’s not just resorts that are taking part in the trend. In August, the Cayman Islands began offering free airfare and substantial discounts to agents on top activities and accommodations.

Through October 31, agents will enjoy a complimentary ticket and a $99 companion ticket on all Cayman Airways flights. In addition, top attractions across Cayman, such as birthplace of Caymanian democracy Pedro St James, Dolphin Discovery and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, will be offering significant entry discounts while scuba diving operators Dive Tech and Ocean Frontiers give divers an incentive to get in the water. Participating hotels and accommodations will also be offering impressive savings.

Keep visiting as we continue to follow this trend.

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