Sandals Reboots Training

with Martha Chapman

Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing for Unique Vacations (Sandals/Beaches)

It was a full crowd at the training

Each attendee left with materials including a useful handbook

At Sandals & Beaches, training is taken seriously. So much so that the popular all-inclusive chain offers 4 hr. seminars throughout the summer, across the country. They sell out – and agents have to pay to participate.

“We hang onto the power of live training,” Maura Cecere, their Arizona-based Senior Director of Training told me, and if the crowd of some 60 agents at last week’s Toronto session was anything to go by, live training works. Why else would you come from as far away as Sudbury?

The theme for this year’s sessions has been Game On, and there were lots of references to how the company is a game changer. The themes included updates on the resorts – including of course the dining and imbibing options; an overview of the Sandals Foundation and the diverse potential revenue agents can receive from up-selling. 

Here are just a few factoids gleaned from trainer Jaqui Mills’ presentation and the impressive 70 page training manual each agent received:

  1. The new over-the-water suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay have proven a huge success and are regularly sold out (“The most expensive accommodation sells 1st,” BDM Justin Anderson told me).
  2. In its partnership with Sesame Street, Beaches now welcome kids with a variety of issues, including those with autism.
  3. New on the dining scene: the 2 Gordon’s on the Pier Restaurants now serve all guests (before it was Butler guests only) and the dress code at all resorts has changed to feature Resort Casual (shorts and T-shirts allowed) or Resort Evening (dress pants or jeans, dress shirts, no caps or hats).  Sandals Ochi Beach Resort now has the 1st “Speakeasy”, replicating a 20’s prohibition-era bar, complete with secret password to get in, flapper-style waitresses and jazz.
  4.  Beaches have introduced Exploring the Moon with Elmo, introducing kids to astronor.
  5.  Last year the Sandals Foundation raised over USD28 million to help island hospitals, schools and communities.

It’s true that the Stewarts and their teams never let the dust settle. And their new tagline, “Don’t worry about  a thing,” reflects both their attention to client care and anticipating needs. Not a bad combo!

Training experts Lorna Richards & Jaqui Mills

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