As part of our “Five Questions With…” series, Travel Agent chats with Mandy Chomat, chief sales and marketing officer at Karisma Hotels & Resorts, about everything from ongoing travel advisories in Mexico to new products we can expect from Karisma.
Find out what he had to say.
How have Mexico’s travel advisories (stemming from last year to the present) affected business at your hotels?
We have definitely seen decreases [in business at Karisma's Mexico hotels]. We've seen decreases in normal FIT travel and we've seen decreases in wedding travel. But the people who we are not seeing decreases from are the people who know Mexico and know the people of Mexico.
As you know, Karisma Hotels & Resorts has aggressive expansion plans in the Caribbean over the coming years. In 2019, we’ll debut the next Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts followed by the Margaritaville All Inclusive Beachfront Hotel in 2020 – both in the Riviera Maya. These products are so unique; we truly think they will blow everyone away.
We’ve seen great success with Nickelodeon in the Dominican Republic, and so in 2020, we plan to bring the El Dorado Resorts brand, a guest favorite, to Cap Cana. It’s a remarkable testament to the growth of El Dorado and the Gourmet Inclusive experience throughout the years. We also plan to increase our presence in Jamaica over the coming years with several hotels and an entire tourist destination at Sugarcane Bay.
What are the latest details surrounding Karisma’s plans to expand to Antigua? Are there any other destinations Karisma would like to expand to?
Currently, we don’t have any specifics about expansion plans in Antigua. We would love to continue exploring Caribbean destinations where the Gourmet Inclusive experience fits in nicely, such as islands like Barbados, St. Lucia and more.
How do you use experience at non-Karisma hotels to help improve the product and service at Karisma resorts?
I’ve been fortunate to stay in some of the world’s finest hotels throughout my life, ranging from big name properties, to architecturally impressive builds, some with little or no name recognition. Yet each time, service and staff can make or break the experience. What I always take away is the service experience more than anything else; I’d rather stay in a lesser-known hotel with exceptional service than a five-star property with sub-par service, which happens all too often.
I always tell my colleagues that we need to deliver the best service. It is easy to copy a new idea, but it is harder to provide consistent, exceptional service. I think we’ve achieved that at Karisma Hotels & Resorts, and it’s something I will continue to push.
What is your favorite destination in the world and why? What destination are you off to next?
Italy is definitely my favorite destination, hands down. Between the number of things to do, history, culture, kind people and food, it takes the cake. I have visited about half a dozen times, and my wife and I have been lucky enough to travel with my two kids on some occasions. It’s been a blessing to experience it through their eyes as well.
Next up, I’m off to Istanbul for the weekend. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the markets, all of the cafes, and just really absorbing the culture. I am also looking forward to putting some of my haggling skills to the test with the people at the markets.
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