There’s a Race to the Holidays happening in Canada and more than 300 travel advisors are involved.
As part of its ongoing efforts to stay engaged with the travel trade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Playa Hotels and Resorts has launched a contest – inspired by TV’s The Amazing Race – whereby agents participate in challenges to win prizes and expand their product knowledge.
Playa’s Race to the Holiday’s With Freddie and Amanda, a nod to Freddie Marsh, Playa’s BDM for Western Canada and Amanda Morris, BDM for Ontario, officially kicked off on Nov. 23, 2020.
Since then, from Monday to Thursday, Marsh and Morris have been posting unique challenges on their social media pages for agents that have registered to complete.
Each challenge is worth a certain number of points, which are tallied on Fridays.
Fridays are also when Freddie and Amanda draw four winners – a draw for all agents that had a perfect weekly score and a draw for everyone who participated.
Prizes range from $25 and $50 gift cards and there’s even bigger surprises (such as free nights) coming up, the Playa team says.
“We could see that travel agents were starting to get webinar fatigue, so the Race to the Holidays has become a fun way we can interact with partners in a unique way,” Marsh told PAX. “The challenges are designed to be fun, but also an educational tool on Playa Resorts.”
Team Freddie, Team Amanda
Due to the overwhelming demand, agents were split into two teams – Team Red (Freddie’s team) and Team Green (Amanda’s team).
It’s a move that feeds into the sibling-like rivalry that Freddie and Amanda are known for, except this time, instead of the usual east vs. west showdown, agents were mixed into teams, regardless of where they live.
Each team even has their own Facebook group – a Playa war room of the sorts – where they can strategize through each challenge and cheer each other on.
The challenges have been fun, festive and informative.
In week one, for example, participants had to create and submit their own version of The 12 Days of Christmas – “Playa Style” – by re-creating the lyrics of the classic Christmas song.
Not only did agents write entertaining lyrics, they got their families and friends involved, too.
“Engaging with the travel agent community has always been such an important component of what we do so we were really excited to provide them with another fun way to learn about Playa Resorts,” Morris told PAX. “And let’s face it, it has been a devastating year for our industry, in particular travel agents, so our goal was to make this as fun as possible for them and to spread some holiday cheer along the way.”
A race..."with a fun twist"
Rose Cosentino, vice-president of sales for Canada at Playa Hotels and Resorts, was the brains behind the “team effort” idea.
Cosentino loves The Amazing Race “because it’s travel-related and I continue to be fascinated with travel, different places, and different cultures. It’s in my blood,” she told PAX.
Playa’s Race to the Holidays, she said, is about incorporating a learning aspect into all things Playa Resorts “with a fun twist.”
“The questions urge advisors to pay attention to details and learn something new, or in some cases, reinforce something they already know,” explained Cosentino.
Playa Hotels and Resorts has 18 resorts across six brands in three main sun markets (Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico).
“There’s always something new to learn that offers travel advisors the ability to sell and consult on our resorts with confidence,” she said.
Above all, the contest gives Playa’s superstar BDMs an opportunity to further interact, one-on-one, with travel advisors.
“What we are finding is that while this is going on, travel advisors are asking other questions on our resorts to help close sales,” said Cosentino.
“Video conference and sales calls, virtual shows, webinars, email, text…we’ve all had to adapt to a new way of selling and it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have our two most fun-loving-amazing BDMs, Freddie and Amanda, having a great time with our retail community as we near the festive holidays.”
A "great stress relief"
For Kim Walden of Vision Travel in Saskatoon, SK, the contest has been a great opportunity to connect with other agents around the country.
“It has been a long rough road for the travel industry and just having this fun escape each day, has brought such joy to everyone,” said Walden, a spokesperson for Team Red.
Carrie Lepp of Vulcan Vacations in Calgary, AB, spokesperson for Team Green, called the contest a “great stress relief.”
“I look forward to the daily challenges from our team leaders,” Lepp told PAX. “It is a great way to start my day. I am having a blast and learning at the same time.”
But ho-ho-hold on – even PAX is joining in on the festive fun.
This week, for Tueday’s (Dec. 1) challenge, managing editor, Michael Pihach, makes a swimsuit-clad cameo in a mystery waterpark, at a mystery Playa resort, in a mystery destination.
Watch the video below, participating racers. Which Playa property is Michael at?
Submit your answers to your team captain by this Thursday night (Dec. 3) for a chance to win!
Playa’s Race to the Holidays With Freddie and Amanda runs until Dec. 22, 2020.
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