Sandals Talks Innovation in Vancouver & Thanks Western Agents

With Vickie Sam Paget

Ciara Magee of Uniglobe Travel, Dana McGregor of North South Travel, and Daina Gasner of Travel Masters enjoy an exclusive lunch with Sandals.

Marsha Steeves of Destination Weddings in Vancouver was recognized for her group bookings.

Marla Cannon of Maritime Travel in Victoria received a plaque for her number of group bookings.

Sandals Team Canada: Business development manager for British Columbia & Yukon Winston Chang, director of sales and marketing Maureen Barnes-Smith, national training manager Lorna Richards, and national sales manager CJ

Sandals Resorts recently hosted a select group of travel agents at an appreciation event at the Seasons in the Park Restaurant in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. Sandals representatives came to town to express their gratitude to Western Canada agents for their continued support and loyalty. 

CJ Smith, Senior national sales manager at Unique Vacations Canada (representing Sandals and Beaches Resorts), took the floor to explain that the Sandals’ brand is built on five pillars: quality, luxury, innovation, service and trust.

He also shared some impressive footage that included a glimpse of the brand’s 360-degree virtual walk-through sales tool, a fully-immersive online program at provides your clients with guided tours of every Sandals resort.

Maureen Barnes-Smith, director of sales and marketing at Unique Vacations Canada, discussed the company’s dedication to Canadian travel agents – especially those in the West.

“We do have a BDM that lives in Vancouver and understands the West and the challenges you’re facing,” she said. “Your own Winston Chang. He’s not someone who flies in from Toronto for 10 hours. Winston is here every single day, because when advisors and BDMs work together in tandem, your business becomes exponential. Your commissions grow.

“The reason we have Winston here is because we believe in travel agents. As our chairman says, you are the key distribution channel for Sandals and Beaches resorts.

“We have had an office here in Canada for over 25 years and we’ve been working day-in-day-out with travel agents. We’re here to make sure we’re working with you to solve your challenges – and we’re making sure you have a point of contact here in your own time zone.”

Barnes-Smith highlighted how Sandals has continuously evolved its product offering in order to set the standard for the luxury resort industry across the globe.

“We started in Jamaica with some firsts, like the swim-up bar,” she explained. “When we started back in 1981, the main competitors were Couples, Superclubs and Club Med. Now look at the landscape, and how much it has changed in 38 years. A lot of that is because we came in as innovators. We have set the bar.

“And we continue to innovate. If you have not been to Sandals in five years, you do not know anything about Sandals – I guarantee you that! And if you have not been in the last three years, it’s iffy. Really!

“We’re moving with the trends; we’re moving with the times. Our product reflects the top level of what you can expect at any luxury resort -- not just in the Caribbean – but in the world.”

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.

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