Almond Resorts, already a major player in
Barbados with three all-inclusive resorts, is continuing to
establish a second beachhead in St. Lucia with the opening last
month of Almond Smugglers Cove and the debut on July 1 of the
Almond Casuarina Beach Resort.
18-month period that began in 2005, Almond has grown from a
two-resort, one-island chain of 500 rooms to a five-resort,
two-island chain of 1,600 rooms.
For the moment,
Ralph Taylor, Almond's chairman and managing director, is content
with that accomplishment.
"We are taking it
all in stride," he said. "We have to digest this rapid growth and
get our new resorts fully established with the travel agent
community before branching out further."
Barbados properties are the 161-room Almond Beach Club & Spa;
the 400-room Almond Beach Village, which will open 100 more rooms
by the end of the year; and the 289-room Almond Casuarina Beach
Resort, opening July 1.
In St. Lucia, the
250-room Almond Morgan Bay Beach Resort opened just over a year
ago, and the 357-room Almond Smugglers Cove opened on Feb. 26 on
the site of the former Club St. Lucia.
"Our St. Lucia
resorts have been very well received. The reaction of, and the
support from, the island has been very positive, and our booking
picture is strong," Taylor said.
Taylor is not
ruling out further expansion and the unfurling of the Almond banner
on other Caribbean islands. In fact, he's got the eastern Caribbean
in his sights for 2008.
whenever we next open, it will be an all-inclusive resort," he
said. "We know how to manage and run all-inclusive properties very
Along with its
new inventory, Almond unwrapped a major promotional campaign in the
U.S. that encompasses print, TV and the Internet.
The TV ads will
run in mid-April on select cable stations across the U.S. After
that, the ads will target specific markets, Taylor said.
At the heart of
the campaign is Almond's slogan, "For You. About You."
"What it means is
that Almond offers a different kind of all-inclusive concept where
our guests are free to do what they want, when they want," Taylor
said. "The choice is always theirs."
Tied into these
choices is Almond's new concierge program.
"It's all about
delivering an added service for our guests," Taylor said. "The
concierge component assists guests and their travel agents by
handling arrangements and requests prior to arrival, either online,
through our reservations centers or at the resorts once the guests
arrangement is commissionable, the agent collects the
Team Almond is
the resort company's preferred-agent program, which now numbers
over 2,000 agents.
"We have loyal,
dedicated agents, and more are joining all the time," Taylor
Team Almond agents include cash bonuses and free hotel nights
depending upon booking volume.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].