Sandals and Beaches Resorts told agents, media and other travel professionals what to expect from the all-inclusive company at a recent event in New York City. Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman and founder of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, was on hand to show attendees that Sandals plans on celebrating 2007, its 25th anniversary, with some exciting new hooks for agents.
What stood out the most was the array of suites that will be added to new and existing Sandals properties. The Rondoval Suites that recently debuted at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, the soon-to-come Swim-up River Suites at Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa and the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island serve as examples of how the company's new resorts place a strong emphasis on luxury suites.
"I don't think anyone requested [that they add more suites], I just think that Sandals knows that more and more people love concierge service," says Vicky Rettew, owner of Great Getaways in Pennsylvania. "If you're going to add more rooms or more properties, might as well add as many suites as you can."
Stewart says guests of Sandals Resorts are more discriminating and more sophisticated than ever before when it comes to interior design and room décor. When guests arrive at a resort destination, they look for amenities and an aesthetic that exceeds what they experience in their everyday lives. The look and feel of the new resort expansions in Antigua, St. Lucia and Jamaica were developed with these customers in mind, he says.
"This year's expansion projects are not about getting bigger, they're about giving our customers more; incorporating all we have learned over the last twenty-five years to bring an enhanced experience to our guests," Stewart says. "It's the wow factor. The designs we're unveiling in Antigua, St. Lucia and Jamaica are intended to showcase even more luxury and to exceed the expectations of all our guests."
"This year is not about being new for the sake of being new," said Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals and Beaches Resorts. "It's about being relevant to every generation of customers visiting our properties. Our investments in 2007 are about staying ahead of the trends, and delivering a premium product and experience for a traveler who grows savvier each day."
Rettew, who was one of the many Sandals' top producing travel agents in attendance during the celebration in late January, says she sends about 50 couples a year to Sandals Resorts and expects that number to at least double when the new properties are complete.
With the new property in Negril and the all-suite, all-oceanview Mediterranean Village in Antigua expected to open in June, Rettew expects business hikes in both Jamaica and Antigua. In fact, she already has a couple booked for the new Antigua property the same month it opens.
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort, geared toward families who need more space than the traditional suite offers, will offer expansive family suites in its new 180-suite Italian Village, which is scheduled to debut in fall 2008. The Italian Village will have luxury family suites, additional gourmet dining options, retail space and an aqua-themed nightclub for teens. As part of a $100 million expansion, the resort will debut a waterpark.
"Basically, agents need to know the new things that are happening in Antigua, Turks & Caicos and Jamaica," Rettew says. "I think there are probably some agents who have no clue that these projects are happening and they should really find out soon so they can let their clients know." Commission for all Sandals' properties starts off at 10 percent and can go as high as 16 percent.
For more information on any Sandals property, including bookings and commissions, call Frank Corzo, national director of sales, at 800-48-SPECIAL.