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With more than 70 resort villages operating in some 30 countries around the world, there’s no question that Club Med is a leader in the all-inclusive resort space, whether it’s in the Caribbean or the Alps.
Michelle Lardizabal, vice president of sales for Club Med’s U.S. market, spoke to us about the company’s expansion in Asia, as well as how it hopes to streamline bookings for travel advisors.
What type of traveler is drawn to a Club Med resort?As a global brand, Club Med has a worldwide range of guests and different product offerings that cater to their specific needs.
Specifically for the U.S. market, almost three-quarters of our guests are families who are traveling together for annual vacations. We are also seeing more multigenerational groups.
How does Club Med stand apart from its competitors in the all-inclusive market?Club Med is the pioneer of the all-inclusive resort concept, and we take that honor seriously. We provide kids’ clubs and extraordinary experiences, such as flying on a trapeze and paddleboarding, at no extra cost to the client. Another big differentiator for us is our culinary offerings. We are a French company at heart, and that has elevated our gastronomy to a higher standard than that of other resorts.
What’s a misconception about Club Med?Most people think of the beach or the Caribbean when they hear “Club Med,” and they are surprised by the number of activities, sports and amenities that are included in a single booking. However, almost one-third of our portfolio comprises ski resorts in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, as well as in China and Japan. Our all-inclusive ski formula includes daily ski and snowboard group lessons, weekly ski-lift passes and equipment rentals. When you add up all the expenses of a ski trip, our all-inclusive alpine resorts provide a better value for American families than skiing in the U.S.
Speaking of your China and Japan offerings, can you tell us about the expansion there?We’ve seen a rapid increase in Chinese customers and Americans wanting to extend their ski trips to China and Japan. We recently opened Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido as a year-round mountain resort in Japan, providing ample ski opportunities in the winter and gorgeous hiking trails in the summer. In China, I’ve experienced firsthand the hospitality at Club Med Guilin, where guests can explore the local culture and the resort’s unique offerings, such as tai chi and climbing lessons. These new properties in Asia have allowed us to target a new international clientele and market new destinations to our current guests.
What other news can we look forward to?Our first-ever Exclusive Collection property in the Americas — Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda in the Dominican Republic — is opening at the end of the year and will feature a unique design that seamlessly blends four “boutique villages” (resorts within a resort) to create an intimate and luxurious environment for every type of traveler. Two will be dedicated to families, and two will be adults-only. The property also promotes eco-tourism to minimize environmental impact; initiatives include a tree-replanting program and a ban on single-use plastics.
How can travel advisors best work with Club Med?We recently launched iFrame, a free tool that serves as an online platform for advisors. It creates a vertical content block on advisors’ websites that automatically updates with the latest Club Med content, including agent-exclusive deals and news. The content is managed in-house, so while advisors don’t have to worry about creating their own content, it directs all viewers to the advisor for bookings.
The DetailsClub Medwww.clubmed.us