Carolyne Doyon Senior VP, Canada & Mexico, with Amelie Brouhard, Marketing & Communications Director for Canada.
New Wave Travel Luxury Travel Advisors Joanne Thachuk and Nancy Miklian flank Vision Travel Solutions VP Leisure Travel Lynda Sinclair.
Janet Martin, recently appointed Club Med Business Development Manager for Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
Jacinda Lowry, National Sales Director for Club Med Canada.
On the eve of a major announcement that the all-inclusive pioneer would soon open its first-ever Canadian resort in Quebec, Club Med held a party for top producers to celebrate double-digit growth in the Ontario market.
With its French origins, Club Med has always had a strong presence in Quebec, but has made strong inroads in the large Ontario market over the past decade, as the company has spent tens of millions upgrading its Caribbean and Mexico properties into high-end all-inclusives with a family focus.
The past decade has also seen a major Club Med focus on all-inclusive ski resorts. Of its 68 properties around the world, 20 are ski resorts in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps, and there are two ski resorts in each of China and Japan as well. Club Med’s ski offering is unique: not only are meals and beverages included, but so is ski equipment, lift tickets and lessons.
Carolyne Doyon, Club Med’s Senior VP, Canada and Mexico, says the Ontario market is responding enthusiastically to both Club Med’s sun and ski options.
“We are getting better known in Ontario, and there’s still a big opportunity for growth,” Doyon said. “We had 10% growth from the province to our sun resorts and an amazing 30% growth to our ski properties.”
Club Med Cancun Yucatan, Club Med Punta Cana, the adults-only Club Med Turkoise in Turks & Caicos and Club Med Ixtapa on Mexico’s Pacific coast are the top sellers from the English-Canada market, followed closely by Club Med ski resorts in Europe.
“Awareness doesn’t come overnight,” Doyon said about brand perceptions west of Quebec. “But we have worked very hard, improving the product and letting people know, and now we are harvesting the results.”
The invitation-only event at the One Eighty on the 51st-floor of Toronto’s Manulife Centre brought together Club Med’s “true retail partners who provide constant support,” Doyon said. She added that Club Med appreciates the trade in return with “very competitive commissions and a one-stop, hassle-free sale.”
A new ‘Great Agents’ loyalty program will be launched in December, Doyon said, and without releasing details, promised that “we listened to what you want.”
Doyon took the opportunity to introduce Janet Martin, Club Med’s newest BDM, in charge of the Ontario, Alberta and B.C. regions. Also speaking at the event were Jacinda Lowry, National Sales Director for Club Med Canada and Mélanie St-Germain, Meetings & Events Manager for Canada. The MICE market is of growing importance for Club Med Canada, which is currently seeking a BDM for that segment to be based in Toronto.
Doyon also updated attendees on upgrades at popular resorts as well as a couple of new ones for agents to put on their radar.
Club Med Cancun Yucatan is “essentially a brand-new property,” after upgrades throughout the property, including all rooms. “At one time agents used to say: ‘Club Med is an experience. It’s not about the room.’ Now we have the rooms that your clients might challenge you on.”
There have also been improvements at Club Med Punta Cana, another Canadian favourite, including the addition of the Zen Oasis, an adults-only section of the property with 78 deluxe rooms. Doyon reminds that Punta Cana is home to the Cirque du Soleil Creactive interactive playground experience for all ages, which is especially popular with corporate groups.
Doyon also talked up new properties like the Club Med Samoens Morillon Grand Massif, a ski property opening soon in the Swiss Alps, and the Club Med Cefalu in Sicily, once an early Club Med ‘hut village’ in the 1950s, and reopening next July as a ‘5-Trident’ luxury product.
“Club Med is a product that has evolved along with its clientele,” Doyon told Open Jaw. “But one thing that hasn’t changed is the Club Med ‘feel.’ Regardless of where we are in the world, Club Med offers a spirit of kindness and diversity, with a French touch.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.