They have brand recognition. They offer terrific support to their travel agent partners. There a fewer additional expenses to keep track of, making budgeting much easier. They offer a wide range of activities. They offer the traveler the reassurance that they know what they will be getting, no surprises. Most are located in the Caribbean, making things a little easier for the travel agent, since getting to know the islands of the Caribbean is a relatively simple, not to mention highly enjoyable task. The list goes on.
In fact, one of the students of The Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course specialized in selling Sandals, with a concentration on the honeymoon market. She became Sandals top producer and made a very nice living indeed.
But there are alternatives to the all-inclusive experience as I was reminded during a highly informative meeting with Cyndi Miller Aird hosted by my local OSSN chapter. Cindy is a marketing rep (a sort of BDM if you will) for a number of independent Carribbean resort properties that operate on an AP basis.
AP stands for American Plan and refers to a hotel pricing structure that includes three meals a day. And since most of the resorts Cyndi represents also offer a wide range of recreational activities they are, in effect, all-inclusive resorts.
So what’s the difference and why bother taking notice?
As Cyndi explained to me, these properties are independently owned, often family owned, which means they are much more representative of the culture and ambiance of their home islands. It’s all to easy to move from all-inclusive resort to all-inclusive resort and get the idea that every island in the Caribbean is pretty much the same. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Each resort is different in ways that chain resorts never are. If variety is the spice of life, it is also the spice of the vacation experience, Cyndi
points out. Clients who have enjoyed the all-inclusive experience might welcome the opportunity to sample something a little different, a place that not all their friends have been to.
Some of these resorts also offer plans that include two meals a day instead of three or breakfast only, offering your clients greater flexibility.
Cyndi represents resorts on Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Canouan, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St Maarten/St Martin, and St. Thomas, as well as
some properties in Spain.
On her web site, http://www.awresorts.com, you will find links to all the properties as well as a section of “News & Offers” that you can take
advantage of. Cyndi also assists travel agents with events like bridal shows and offers co-op radio and TV promotions. Become one of her travel agent partners and you might even be in line for a fam to scope out new properties!
Meeting folks like Cyndi is one of the major benefits of joining an association like the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN) and getting active in your local chapter.