|CEO Xavier Mufraggi of Club Med North America // Photo by Club Med|
Club Med is rolling out a new Great Agent Loyalty Program. Travel Agent caught up with CEO Xavier Mufraggi of Club Med North America to talk about the company’s latest resorts and plans for travel agents.
The new Club Med Great Agent Loyalty program will offer perks including advance notification of promotions, invitations to fam trips, grand openings and re-openings and a tailored digital logo for websites and signatures. The program will also offer the chance to earn one complimentary room night for every 14 room nights paid and the chance to win a free seven-night vacation from quarterly drawings. All graduates of the Expert Agent course will be automatically enrolled. Agents will enter bookings either on Travel Agent University or at the dedicated microsite, www.clubmedexpertagent.com.
The new program comes after a shift in the company’s overall philosophy toward travel agents. “Travel agents have changed in the last few years,” says Mufraggi. “We decided to be sold by fewer travel agencies. The ones we’re working more with now, they’re more of a vacation planner. They really provide a service to their clients, and they have a more upscale clientele. So we’re launching a new loyalty program that’s really pushing the travel agent to look for something new to offer to their clients. It’s really for us to work with less experts but to provide much more training and opportunities to experience the resort to help them explain the difference to the buyers.”
The change in approach toward travel agents parallels the larger changes in the all-inclusive concept within the travel industry over the past few years. “In 2005, we started to look at these numbers, and for premium all-inclusive, 50 percent of affluent travelers would say this is never for me,” Mufraggi says. “Now, with the premiumiziation of all-inclusive, affluent people understand the convenience of it. Before people would choose it for value, but now affluent people choose it for convenience.”
The expectations surrounding what constitutes an all-inclusive vacation are also changing. “More active vacations,” says Mufraggi. “We see that as a big trend and it’s going to be even bigger. More people who look for a vacation don’t necessarily want to rest at the pool, but at the same time they want to train on their favorite sports. In the past people would say that with all-inclusive, you can’t really discover a country, but with the development of the all-inclusive cruise business, people realize that it would be really nice to explore and yet stay in one bed.”
Lastly, all-inclusive is going global. Club Med has opened several new properties in active specialties and emerging markets. “We just opened a ski resort in Pragelato Vialattea, which is important because many people don’t know it in the U.S. but we have 22 ski resorts, 20 in the Alps, one in China and one in Japan,” Mufraggi says. Club Med has also just opened a second resort in China, as well as resorts in Brazil and Morocco.
Club Med’s push for a more global market is one of the driving factors behind the recent offer of a buyout from two of its major shareholders, one of whom is a Chinese company, Mugraggi says. “The Chinese don’t only travel in China, now they’ve become the number one country in the world in terms of foreign travel. I think it’s a symbol of a changing world. We have two main shareholders working with us to take over management of Club Med. They want to support the acceleration of our growth plan we have in mind, opening properties in Asia, Brazil and the Americas. It shouldn’t change anything for clients.”
For more information on the new loyalty program, visit www.clubmedexpertagent.com