Sunwing’s ‘Every Step of the Way’ tour made its second stop in Toronto last night, welcoming hundreds of agents and several suppliers out to a trade show and dinner at the Woodbine Racetrack.
Despite the heavy rain, agents had the chance to mingle with suppliers, while getting to learn more about new tourism products down south in some of Sunwing’s most popular sun destinations, like Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Antigua.
The ‘Every Step of the Way’ tour will cover 21 cities nationwide, from Stoney Creek, Ontario, to British Columbia, where it will eventually make its final stop in Moncton, NB on May 31, 2018.
Cruising is back
Sunwing officially released the 11th edition of its 2018/2019 cruise brochure last night, featuring value-added cruises from three cruise lines including MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Marella Cruises.
After an exclusive chat with Reg Mendes, vice president of USA & cruise division at Sunwing Vacations, PAX learned that one of the key selling points for travel agents is the fact that Sunwing’s cruises take the stress out of planning, with round-trip airfare aboard Sunwing Airlines and transfers between the airport and ship port offered on all cruise packages.
“Our cruise program goes into the western and eastern Caribbean with MSC Cruises’ Seaside, NCL’s new Norwegian Bliss, and the Marella Discovery II, all of which are said to be fantastic ships,” said Mendes.
While Quebec and Ontario are the biggest market for cruises down south with Sunwing, Mendes notes that western Canada is coming into the picture as well.
Multigenerational travel, as well as family travel remain popular on a Sunwing cruise, especially because of the rich assortment of kid-friendly amenities on board the Seaside and the Norwegian Bliss. “Cruises are great for families because there is so much to do for everyone,” Mendes explained. “The cruise market is growing, and Sunwing does it all. We handle the air seat, the cruise cabin, the transfers, and everything and anything that happens on board. It’s much easier for an agent to book a cruise with Sunwing over our competitors because we are a one-stop shop. Everything is available online, and booking has been made easy; for cruises, this is the way of the future.”
While Sunwing is currently only partnering with the aforementioned three cruise lines, when PAX asked Mendes about expanding partnerships, he noted, “everything is of interest to us.”
Reg Mendes, Deana Murphy, and David Wright of Sunwing Travel Group.
This year, Sunwing is offering cruise packages departing from five Canadian gateways including Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Vancouver.
New brochures, hotels, & destinations
Sunwing’s Signature Collection for 2018/2019 features six resort chains including RIU Hotels & Resorts, Karisma Resorts, Jewel Resorts, Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts, Hard Rock Hotels, and Krystal Hotels and Resorts. New hotel openings include the Riu Dunamar, Riu Palace Costa Mujeres, Riu Palace Baja California, Riu Santa Fe, Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta, and Sensatori Azul Beach Resort Jamaica.
The Sunwing brochure features 50 sun destinations throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, with discounts and perks for families including dining credits and access to water parks.
“We’re constantly looking for new product and new destinations, and we try to make sure there’s something for everyone,” said Deana Murphy, vice president, retail sales, Sunwing Travel Group. “So many of our customers are looking for a variety of things to do, and we aspire to find something new for them to do every year.
Families continue to be a growing market for us [Sunwing] and some of these properties have incredible Kids’ Clubs with incredible waterparks, and many of our hotel partners have added these amenities because they realize there is a lot of business there in the family market.”
There’s an app for that
Technology influences the way that people travel, and Sunwing recognizes this, recently releasing a brand-new app that makes travelling even easier. The best part? You don’t need a data plan to enjoy all of the perks that come with it. “The Sunwing travel app allows our customers to call home for free, access information in all of our destinations, plan additional vacations, book excursions, and receive their flight notifications so long as they’re connected to WiFi,” explained Murphy. “It’s just a really great way to keep travellers up to speed, and also to stay in touch with them. We call this the ‘Every Step of the Way’ tour because we’re with our customers every step of the way.”
Much like Sunwing’s latest travel app, the company has also recently launched a website called www.sunwingcares.ca which is intended to be used for travel agents and consumers alike. “Occasionally our guests need assistance in-destination and they might not be somewhere that a Sunwing rep is physically accessible, so as long as they have WiFi, they can send us, or their travel agent, a message that automatically logs a ticket and goes to our entire team so that we can keep improving our service levels and identify issues to improve the customer experience,” Murphy said.
For more information, visit www.sunwing.ca