With ambitious expansion plans in place, Club Med will open five new resorts and complete five major renovations to its current resorts each year over the next five years. As the global all-inclusive resort brand continues to grow with both beach and ski resorts, Club Med wants its travel advisor partners to grow alongside them.
Club Med reported that it gets about 40 percent of its bookings through travel agents; and the company has a dedicated trade website with a generous loyalty program, as well as discounts and fams.
Michelle Lardizabal, vice president of sales, Club Med US, talked to Travel Market Report about what new tools the company is developing to help its advisor partners, and what else the company has in store in the coming years.
Can you explain a little bit about how Club Med developed its new tool for travel agents, Club Med iFrame? What benefits will this bring to agents?
iFrame is a vertical content block that automatically updates with Club Med’s latest deals and agent-exclusive offers on a travel agent’s website. This digital tool, which is completely free, is managed by Club Med so agents do not need to worry about manually updating the latest deals, offers or content. We designed this to better assist travel agents, as we value our relationship with our travel partners and want to help them succeed in growing their businesses.
What else is in the works for Club Med’s travel partners?
We know clients and travel advisors value expertise, and we also know that product knowledge is key for travel advisors. To continue supporting our partners, we are developing a best-in-class e-learning platform that will launch later this year. In the meantime, we are continuously updating our travel advisor tools, such as resort sheets, Google Street View, etc., which can all be found in our travel advisor website called clubmedta.com.
What is the company’s fam policy and how can agents utilize it?
Being able to share a first-hand story about learning how to sail or what you discovered while exploring a destination is essential when selling travel. We need to paint the picture for the client, which is why our fam experience is unique. We want advisors to arrive ready to try something new.
Experiencing our resorts and the activities we offer is a wonderful way for Club Med and our business development managers to learn about and share the Club Med experience. We dedicate time and resources to qualified advisors who want to grow their business with us, and we encourage travel advisors to reach out to their local business development manager.
You have a lot of exciting properties opening up, including a high-end resort in the Dominican Republic. How can travel advisors grow their business in the luxury market?
Our Exclusive Collection is a luxurious experience, whether it’s an Exclusive Collection space within a resort or an entire Exclusive Collection resort, like our first to launch in the Americas, Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, at the end of this year.
For example, this can translate into an existing client upgrading their Club Med experience by staying in Jade (our Exclusive Collection space in Cancun); or working with a client for whom wellness and taking a healthy vacation is essential. The Emerald Jungle boutique village within Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda is ideal in that situation. Clients can begin their morning with treetop yoga, followed by paddleboarding, and then enjoy a trip to the spa and time to relax at the beach in the afternoon with a good book.
What is Club Med’s growth focus?
Club Med is the perfect match for today’s upscale client who is looking for unique destinations and activities, as well as an experience to take home – not just great photographs. A perfect example is Club Med Cefalù, an Exclusive Collection resort. Sicily is a popular destination and Club Med Cefalù has the ideal location on this amazing island, offering unique experiences to explore Sicily, and relax or enjoy activities at your own pace.
At the same time, we are capturing the trend in meetings and events, where companies want more than a boardroom and conference space. Companies and attendees want unique meeting spaces and team-building experiences that only Club Med can offer. So, for us, our growth is deeply rooted in our Club Med spirit and delivering what our guests want – and that means continuing to find the best locations around the world.
What’s next for Club Med?
In December 2019, we will be opening our first resort in the North American region in over 25 years; as well as our first Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas, Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda. Located in Miches, an undiscovered region and secluded paradise located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, this eco-chic haven will feature four distinct boutique villages specializing in wellness, adventure, kid-friendly and adults-only concepts.
And in December 2020, we will return to the North American market with an all-inclusive ski resort, Club Med Quebec Charlevoix. Located in the Le Massif de Charlevoix region just an hour away from Quebec City, the resort will be the first Club Med resort in Canada, and it will feature year-round activities for every season.