Warmth in Winter: Sandals Thanks Agents

with Martha Chapman

Gordon “Butch” Stewart

An impressive setting for an impressive night

Sandals’ David Roper with Nino Montagnese of ACV

Tourist board buddies Dunstan James of St. Lucia and Rosemarie Wilson of Turks & Caicos

They teased that they had dressed for Antarctic weather: the 45 Sandals and Beaches execs and sales team members who joined some 450 Toronto area agents in a love-fest of appreciation in Toronto on Wednesday night.

The event was one of 21 across North America and the first in Canada (Montreal was to follow), a 30,000 km trip featuring its own branded 18-wheeler of decorations and equipment.  In all, some 6,000 agents will have been hosted to an evening of entertainment, education, awards and networking with top Sandals staffers. A particular thrill for many in attendance was the presence of Gordon “Butch” Stewart, legendary founder of Sandals and Beaches and his son Adam, now CEO and Deputy Chairman.

As always with Sandals and Beaches, there’s news. Sandals Royal Barbados is slated to open December 20 th. Beaches/Provo and Sandals/Antigua are soon to re-open post-hurricane. Sandals and Beaches resorts are both on tap for Trinidad and Tobago (a whole new country for the chain).

A good portion of the evening was devoted to an update on weddings, which are available at both Sandals and Beaches properties. Never resting on their laurels, the weddings team (headed by Marsha-Ann Brown, Director of Romance) has come up with seven wedding styles, from tropical to sand & sea, coastal living to gardens. “Twenty years ago, a destination wedding was usually the bride and groom, maybe one other couple.  Today 40 guests is typical, and we recently hosted a wedding for 120,” Brown told the group. Options now include ultra-smoochy over-water chapels (one each in Jamaica and St. Lucia) and the charming chance to have your photographs taken in a local historic site such as a plantation house.

In all, it was a blockbuster evening, one sure to impress and remind agents of the momentum of this influential resort group.

“We have the largest sales force, with 23 people in Canada alone,” Jeff Clarke, CEO of Unique Vacations told the guests. “We offer the highest commission of any all-inclusive chain. We will train 16,000 travel agents this year.  And we are relying on you to sell the heck out of Sandals and Beaches.”

No argument from that audience!

Martha Chapman

Martha Chapman Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.

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