It's been a long time coming since the company was established 13 years ago, and last night, AMResorts officially introduced Canadian partners to its new travel agent reward program.
Launched in mid-September, the AMRewards loyalty program is a point-based system, which includes AMRewards Visa prepaid cards for direct credit of booking bonuses and easy redemption; automatically-generated stay certificates for complimentary nights at any AMResorts property (based upon point qualification standards); client gift vouchers to be used towards perks like spa treatments, romantic dinners for two or champagne breakfast in bed; and co-branded marketing materials such as banner displays.
Additionally, customized e-communications will alert AMRewards participants of program registration, new booking incentives and point redemption opportunities. On-demand webinars from the AMResorts sales team also provide instant access to support tools that continuously benefit program enrollees.
According to Jan LaPointe, the company's senior director of sales & marketing in Canada, there has been a significant investment of time and money made in order to create the platform, since up until now they have not offered such robust incentives for trade partners.
Attendees had the opportunity to sign up for the program at last night's exclusive event, and were also given sales tips for the AMResorts product which encompasses various brands including Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Zoetry, Now and Sunscape.
It's been a big year for the business, as it just opened its 33rd hotel, with more slated to open by the end of 2014 including their first hotels in St. Thomas and Costa Rica - Dreams Sugar Bay St. Thomas and Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica, plus Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres and Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort in Mexico.
In an interview with PAX, LaPointe emphasized AMResorts' mission to step up all-inclusive standards, which is why they do not use that term, but instead, monikers such as "unlimited luxury" and "unlimited fun," depending on the product.
In terms of educating travel agent partners, a Master Agent Program was established in 2005, and has since evolved with the brand. LaPointe said that AMResorts properties are an easy sell, sure that agents can be confident in the product, knowing clients will come back happy; the trick is to know which product suits which particular client.
Referring to the two adults-only options, Secrets and Breathless, LaPointe said, "We really make a point when we're educating travel agents to let them know what the differences are, but also how they attract the same customer for different reasons. Secrets is a very romantic brand although we host lots of girlfriend getaways. The Breathless brand is perfect for couples who like to go out, have a good time, meet new people and really get social."
And as for the competition heating up in the all-inclusive market?
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," LaPointe said. "We see a lot of our creativities cloned in other brands, so that's great and all it does for us is make us step it up every time. After 'unlimited luxury,' you saw a lot of companies reinventing their 'all-inclusive' moniker. We introduced free Wifi and worldwide calling and that's been rolling out in other properties. We're always trying to raise the bar and set new standards."
Photo: Of AMResorts: Matt Mullen, senior director of sales; Carlos Trinidad, regional sales manager, Western Canada; Jan LaPointe, senior director of sales & marketing, Canada; Sarah Cadwallader, sales & marketing coordinator; and Orelbys Vigora, regional sales manager, Eastern Canada