Sandals Resorts is currently hosting a series of travel advisor appreciation dinner presentations across Canada to mark 40 years of love, innovation and trust.
More than 90 guests gathered Wednesday night (Oct 19) at The Baron in Calgary at the largest of the events.
Hand-picked to attend the exclusive event by Donné Nixon, business development manager, Alberta & NWT, Unique Vacations Inc, 70 Alberta-based travel advisors were joined by 20 tourism and tour operator partners representing Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations, Jamaica Tourist Board and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Calgary is a distinctively memorable territory for the Sandals Resorts team.
Special guest, Gary C. Sadler, OD, executive vice-president – sales and industry relations, Unique Vacations Inc, returned to Calgary that night to celebrate his start with the company as Alberta's BDM thirty years ago and acknowledge the important role of travel advisors.
“We have had great success for the last 40 years as Sandals and Beaches Resorts. None of this would be possible without the guidance, help and direction of the travel advisor. We hold travel advisors in high esteem and want to show them the value that they bring,” Sadler said.
Critical to agent success is product availability through tour operators.
Air Canada Vacations has been a valuable partner since Sandals' inception 40 years ago and offers packages from 62 cities across Canada.
WestJet Vacations is an important tour operator for the Calgary market, and the industry is excited for WestJet’s weekly direct, non-stop flights from Calgary to Nassau, Bahamas, beginning Nov. 21, 2022 and Montego Bay, Jamaica, beginning Nov. 5, 2022, through to April 29, 2023.
New, now, next
Starting with their first resort in Jamaica 40 years ago, Sandals quickly expanded its brand to other islands, including The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados and Grenada, with recent investments to reimagine older resorts and offer new experiences to exceed customer expectations.
The brand is now in Curaçao, and Sandals Royal Curacao emphasizes relaxation and unique offerings.
Guests staying in the signature Kurason or Awa butler bungalow suites will also have complimentary access to explore the island in a convertible MINI Cooper.
Expansion in Jamaica will see three new resorts – Sandals Dunn’s River (opening May 2023), Sandals Royal Dunn’s River (slated opening 2023), and Beaches Runaway Bay Resort will offer more options for families, including one, two, three and four-bedroom suites.
On the horizon includes a new resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a distinctive destination focused on sustainable travel.
Wellness-inspired suites and Rondoval Suites, a new evolution in accommodations designs, raise the bar to a new level of luxury for the brand.
Committed to travel advisors, C.J. Smith, director of sales, Unique Vacations Canada, Inc. outlined the available tools and resources that agents can use to create a plan for success.
“Sandals 2.0 is about taking every single opportunity no matter how good or bad, and making the best out of all that. We set a higher bar when it comes to innovation, elevating the brand and creating customer experiences,” Smith said.
Specializing in niche markets, utilizing marketing tools, creating a unique selling proposition and working closely with the BDMs are valuable avenues for travel advisors to elevate their individual brand in alignment with Sandals 2.0, he said.
Sadler concluded the evening with a heartfelt tribute to the travel advisor industry, highlighting his commitment and pledging his support on behalf of his colleagues in the Caribbean.
“The direct flight from Calgary to Nassau and Montego Bay is a clear indication that Alberta is very important to building the business in the Caribbean and you are worth the investment in this area, he said.
“We are committed to your business. We are committed to watching your business grow.”
Sandals Resorts continues its travel advisor appreciation events across Canada through December in 16 other cities where there is direct service to the Caribbean.