In the wake of site CareerCast positioning agents as “useless,” veteran hotelier, founder and chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), Gordon “Butch” Stewart claims that agents are the engine of his company’s success and are playing a critical role in the opening of Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa, the brand’s first foray in the destination.
“The role of agents in our success cannot be underestimated,” said Stewart in a written statment. “We have invested heavily in this partnership [with agents] and will continue to do so because we believe it essential to our ability to delight guests, to exceed their expectations and to welcome them again and again.”
Stewart says awareness in the consumer marketplace of SRI’s brands is important, but driving consumers to agents is the goal because agents have demonstrated that they have the intimate knowledge necessary to pair the right customer with the right resort.
“The result of the traditional distribution model has been anything but useless; it’s been profitable – for us and for our agent partners,” says Stewart. “We are not a cookie-cutter operation. While standards of quality and service are consistent, each resort is unique in its setting, offerings and the opportunities available for exploration in the Caribbean destinations where we are located.”
Stewart credits Sandals’ strong trade partnership with the record pre-launch sales figures for Sandals LaSource Grenada, which will open December 12.
“We are thrilled with the anticipation for Sandals LaSource and the business we’ve been able to secure, the best of any opening in the history of our company,” said Stewart. “Grenada is a breathtaking destination and the resort we are building there, just phenomenal, the epitome of luxury – but it is also new to many American travelers and so we knew it was imperative to rely on our partners.”
Supported by a nationwide network of conveniently-located business development managers (BDMs), training seminars, familiarization trips, incentives and technological tools; and through exclusive programs such as the Certified Sandals Specialists (CSS) designation, which trains and recognizes agents as SRI brand experts, Preferred Sandals Agency Program (PSA), which builds travel agency relationships by working with each agency’s unique business model to cultivate and increase sales for both the agency and Sandals Resorts and the exclusive the Chairman’s Royal Club (CRC); Sandals Resorts International offers one of the industry’s most comprehensive education and reward programs for travel professionals.