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As hoteliers around the world aim to rebuild business, Playa Hotels & Resorts is focusing on fam trips and up-and-coming niches to help travel advisors sell.
As part of an ambitious plan to host several hundred travel advisors by this fall, Playa recently invited more than 40 top-selling agents to Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Future fam trips will highlight additional properties elsewhere in Mexico, as well as in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. (Note: The entire collection of all-inclusives will be reopened by December.)
Here, Kevin Froemming, the company’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, shared his insights about charting a path for recovery in the hotel industry.
Why the big investment in bringing travel advisors to Playa’s properties?In the next 60 days, we’ll have brought in more than 1,000 travel agents from all over the U.S., going to places such as Jamaica and Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. And then, as we open up the west coast [of Mexico], agents will go to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Clients want to hear that a travel agent has been to a resort, and that they are endorsing it based on the fact that they feel safe there and they would come back.
How important are affiliations with Hyatt and Hilton?One of the strategies that has paid off for us is the investment that we made in our partnerships with Hyatt and Hilton. Because when something like [the pandemic] happens, people look for security and comfort.
Playa has introduced the Playa Safe Stay program, and also follows the guidelines of Hilton and Hyatt’s cleanliness programs. Since Playa has properties in three countries, do new safety/health protocols vary by property?What we wanted to make sure of is that we had standardization of the most important protocols at each property.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic [in addition to] utilizing Hyatt’s and Hilton’s system.
We took a combination of those things, and we applied it across all of our resorts; [guests] won’t see variances from any of the mainstream, important social distancing requirements, the wearing of masks, the way we serve buffets or how we manage restaurant reservations.
Guests won’t see variances from any of the mainstream, important social distancing requirements, the wearing of masks, the way we serve buffets or how we manage restaurant reservations.
Playa is doing a lot to develop new niches and sales opportunities, including the new Work & Learn from Paradise program. You’ve also identified destination weddings as a source of revenue. What’s driving that growth?Weddings are actually a bigger market now for travel agents, because some people who were doing traditional weddings are now saying, “I can’t have 200 or 300 people anymore, so I’m going to bring 30 or 40 people down for a destination wedding.”
So, there’s going to be a surge. I highly recommend that agents focus on destination weddings. We know we can get business on the books because people are going to get married. We want to ensure that we’re on the highest end of the competition. We’ve added flexibility to our wedding programs. We’ve created seasonal discounts. We’ve added a free cocktail hour reception for people doing group destination weddings, and with limited restrictions.
What’s your advice for travel advisors looking to book with Playa Hotels & Resorts right now?The best thing they can do is really stay active with their customer base, sending them notifications when programs such as our Safe Stay program come out, sharing those video links, passing them promotions and different news about safety protocols. Eliminate the confusion.
The DetailsPlaya Hotels & Resortswww.playaresorts.com