Travel Professional NEWS® speaks with Frank Corzo, VP of Field Sales, Palace Resorts.
With 2017 upon us, what new things can we expect to see this year from you?
This year we have many exciting announcements starting with The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun. A 450 million-dollar project within Moon Palace Cancun slated for completion March 2017. The resort will also offer guests who wish to elevate the concept of a traditional all-inclusive, a unique experience unlike anything else in the market. The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun will also elevate the culinary experience with more than eight new dining destinations with variety of cuisines from Asian to French, to Lebanese to Mexican; each new restaurant will satisfy even the most discerning palate. Moon Palace Resorts recently announced a major partnership and licensing agreement with Certified Angus Beef ®. The Resort will be the only hotel chain in Cancun in the all-inclusive space to offer Certified Angus Beef ®. This partnership will be available in all of our eight properties including Mexico and Jamaica, highlighting our continuous commitment to elevate standards and offer premium culinary products to our guests.
The addition The Grand will also include two of Palace Resorts family-friendly staples – a kid’s dream club “The Playroom,” and a uniquely designed teen lounge, “Wired”, stocked with today’s video games, a colossal concession stand and so much more. Guests of all ages will have hours of endless indoor and outdoor entertainment at their disposal via a massive waterpark and six-lane bowling alley.
Additionally, we will continue to raise the bar in the entertainment space with a star-studded lineup of performers. Cheap Trick will be performing March 17th and 18th followed by KC & The Sunshine Band with Al Mckay’s Earth Wind & Fire Experience set to perform on April 21st and 22nd. Additionally, the international first lady of Rock, Bonnie Tyler, will also be performing on May 10, 2017. Both concerts will take place at the Moon Palace Arena in Cancun. Subsequently, reggae sensation, Sean Paul will take the stage on April 1st, at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios.
Do you have any new resort openings planned for this year?
As stated above, we will be unveiling The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun early March 2017. The Grand will include more than 1,300 guest rooms, a new expansive lobby, nine outdoor swimming pools (including two for adults-only with a live DJ spinning poolside beats), five swim-up bars, an elaborate beach club, its very own waterpark and a bowling alley. With more than eight new dining destinations, from upscale Lebanese to authentic Mexican, no other hotel in Cancun offers this variety of international cuisine and flavors, held to these standards. The luxury dining options are endless.
What do you expect to be your most popular destinations in 2017?
We have seen an increase in guests at our Moon Palace Jamaica Grande property, as there was a record high on the amount of travelers visiting Jamaica during the 2016 holidays. Moon Palace Jamaica Grande has been a great addition to the Palace Resorts portfolio, not only is Jamaica a well-known destination but a great place to invest in. As this was an iconic property in Ocho Rios it has been well received by all guests staying at the resort. Guests particularly love the Awe-Spa, as it is the largest in Ocho Rios! And of course, there is nothing like the unmatched level of service and hospitality with a Jamaican flair.
However, Cancun is always a popular and favorite destination and we think The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun will continue to put Cancun on the map as a top Mexican travel destination.
With Travel Professionals on the rise, will you be offering any new training or incentives for Travel Professionals to focus on your offerings?
This year we will focus our efforts on expanding the selling tools for travel agents in the digital realm. We have enhanced our booking platform and revamped our website making it more user friendly and attractive, catering to each travel agent’s needs. Additionally we conduct webinars on various topics throughout the year, host the Palace Resorts Global Conference bringing together our top agents and we continue to ensue we provide agents the necessary tools they need to succeed, including, the Travel Agent Academy online and an aggressive commission structure. At Palace, we are willing to invest in our agents. For more information on the Palace Pro Agent program, click here.
Luxury All Inclusive Resorts have been a big topic as of late, how are you staying competitive in this growing marketplace?
We stay competitive by constantly elevating the guest experience. We offer an incredible amount of value for our guests, from our $1,500 Resort Credit promotion, to our over the top entertainment, high-end culinary offerings and unmatched guest services. Our well appointed guest rooms, wellness packages, entertainment line-up, luxury dining, and partnerships, like the one we have with Certified Angus Beef ®. We are better at being INNOVATIVE over anyone else out there. We offer our guests’ unmatched entertainment with top acts like Usher, Ricky Martin, The Cranberries, OMI, Shaggy and many others. We stay relevant with what our consumer’s want- whether it’s with our wellness suites to cater to the healthy-minded traveler, to culinary offerings and trends for our food enthusiasts, to offering the best in luxury when it comes to our amenities and in-room offerings.
As far as your All Inclusive Resorts, what markets should agents focus on for 2017?
At Palace Resorts we provide a product that fits different markets: spa, fitness, family, sports, yoga, scuba diving among others. The array of markets we cater to is vast. One of the largest and most lucrative markets continues to be the wedding segment. Destination weddings require a large number of rooms and more and more agents are tapping into this market as it continues to grow especially in the all-inclusive space. A new market that has been extremely trendy over the past year is wellness. More and more groups are visiting the properties and even travel with their yoga instructor. Therefore at Palace Resorts, we have invested in wellness suites and programs to cater to this specific market for the health conscious traveler.
How are you positioning yourselves to address the Millennial marketplace?
When booking travel, technology plays a huge role for millennials since they heavily rely on social media to share content online; it’s all about that Insta gratification. We have noticed millennials conduct research prior to booking their vacation. They use review sites such as TripAdvisor and social channels such as Facebook and Instagram as well as miscellaneous blogs. We even have our own blog, #ThePalaceLife, where we feature the latest industry trends and news on Palace Resorts. Additionally, we are continually updating the Palace Resorts app with the latest restaurant hours and menus, spa services and extra amenities as the app is the go-to concierge for many travelers in this segment.
Millennials also seek authentic experiences that are unique to each individual and this is why wellness and experiential travel has become popular amongst this segment. At Palace Resorts we are constantly keeping up with industry trends that appeal to all demographics. Whether our guests travel to our resorts in Mexico or Jamaica, our $1,500 Resort Credit promotion allows them to take advantage of the many cultural offerings that are indigenous to the regions they are located. Off-site excursions can include a visit to Chichen Itza or Tulum ruins located in the Riviera Maya as well as experience Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios.
For those millennials that focus on wellness, our properties offer everything from yoga to aqua spin classes to gluten-free menus that are specifically designed for the health-conscious travelers. The wellness programs at the properties are somewhat unique to the all-inclusive space. Many of our millennial travelers have recently started requesting our Wellness Suites at Moon Palace Cancun. The accommodations include amenities such as natural juices in the minibar, 24-hour room service with a menu catered to healthy meals along with a selection of low calorie, gluten-free, organic products & high protein meals, L’OCCITANE bath amenities with “Yucatan Herbals”, rosemary scented soap, pillow menu, aromatherapy menu, direct access from room terrace to private pool, pool access only for guests booking Wellness Suite, access to aqua spinning bikes, exclusive beach bag (one per room/per stay), personal trainer, wellness sports kit, which includes yoga mat, fitness jump rope & dumbbells, daily ante meridiem service of fruit and juice placed in balcony, bath salts for in-room hydrotherapy use with the double whirlpool tub & 100% natural soaps also provided. Additionally, at Awe Spa we offer services that are indigenous to each country where the property is located. For example we offer the Kukulcan Massage in Mexico, a Mayan inspired massage where two therapists simultaneously choreograph the movements of the sacred Mayan animals the eagle, the snake and the jaguar. These experiences that are local to the region are what sets the Palace Resorts brand apart and cater to all segments.
Do you offer Destination Weddings and Honeymoon packages. If so where can agent go to learn more about your offerings?
Weddings are a rapidly growing market that many agents are tapping into these days. Palace Resorts offers a special wedding certification program at our flagship hotel, Moon Palace Cancun. This half-day workshop certifies agents in the destination wedding and honeymoon space. Once graduated and certified, travel agents are eligible to receive extra perks and exclusive leads through our wedding directory located on our consumer facing destination weddings and honeymoons website. We also designed wedding packages that include a variety of tools and techniques to generate wedding business: honeymoon wishes registry, $1,500 resort credit for wedding extras, early bookings, free Wi-Fi & telephone calls, complimentary group benefits and free hotel site-inspection.
For additional information an agent can learn more at palaceproagents.com to enroll in our Palace Pro Program and they can also visit our weddings site, weddings.palaceresorts.com for additional information on destination weddings and honeymoon packages.
What three things would you like to share with our Travel Professionals to assist in selling your resorts?
Palace Resorts puts agents first. First of all, we go above and beyond to invest in agents, so they can in turn, sell our product to their clients with piece of mind. Palace Pro Agents is a full scale, state-of-the-art training platform that is continually updated with the brand’s latest news, making it extremely easy for travel agents to navigate and learn about the brand. Palace Pro Agents are eligible to be listed on the consumer facing website, making it easier for agents to receive leads. And last but not least, by being part of this program Palace Resorts will provide agents with complimentary co-branded marketing materials to help promote themselves in conjunction with the Palace Resorts brand.
Many Travel Professionals have found their niche in All Inclusive Resorts, what advice can you offer to a Travel Professional looking to break into this niche?
It is important to understand the brand’s value and the ability to identify those offers that truly stretch the consumer’s dollar. Our top producing agents are completely immersed in the brand and have the knowledge to identify those key differentiators that set us apart from the non-all inclusive products. This comes through on-going education, relationship building, and staying focused on a brand like Palace Resorts that can provide a product for their entire market. Education is key when it comes to selling the all-inclusive luxury segment and we pride ourselves in education. At Palace Resorts, we give the most value for your money; we have a luxury product that can easily be sold to the consumer not only because of its price point but because of the value we provide.
All Inclusive Resorts have come a long way over the years. What do you see as the next advancement in this growing marketplace?
The luxury all-inclusive marketplace continues to evolve, and the products continue to get better and better. Technology is key for advancement in this segment and we already offer complimentary WI-FI throughout the entire hotel, unlimited long distances calls to U.S. and Canada and are continually updating our Palace Resorts app with the latest information.
Entertainment is also key and we continue to raise the bar in the entertainment space with a star-studded lineup of performers. Cheap Trick will be performing March 17th and 18th followed by KC & The Sunshine Band with Al Mckay’s Earth Wind & Fire Experience on April 21st and 22nd. Additionally, the international first lady of rock, Bonnie Tyler, will also be performing on May 10th, 2017. Both concerts will take place at the Moon Palace Arena in Cancun. Subsequently, reggae sensation, Sean Paul will take the stage on April 1st, at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios.
Travelers also seek authenticity and incorporation of local culture into service and stay. At Palace Resorts we thoroughly integrate the local flair into the resort. The quality of products needs to go beyond food and beverage, in fact our partnership with Certified Angus Beef ® is a testament to that. We are the FIRST and ONLY luxury, all-inclusive hotel chain in Cancun to offer Certified Angus beef at all 8 of our luxury all-inclusive resorts.