Earlier this month, Apple Leisure Group's AMResorts announced that it would be unifying its hospitality portfolio under the umbrella of a new master brand: AMR Collection. The company also unveiled plans to retire its Now Resorts & Spas and Reflect Resorts & Spas all-inclusive concepts and reorganize its lineup under newly launched five- and four-star tiers. Hotels editor Christina Jelski recently touched base with Erica Doyne, AMResorts' senior vice president of marketing and communications, to get details on these changes.
Q: What was the impetus behind launching such a comprehensive branding and repositioning effort, especially at this time?
A: We've spent the last 20 years growing our pipeline very aggressively, launching new brands that appeal to different audiences and expanding into Europe with our properties throughout Spain.
So now, it makes sense that we would want to launch a master brand that [brings together] all our sub-brands as a collection. We've never had a master brand or umbrella brand. AMResorts will continue to be the company name; however, the new AMR Collection master brand allows us to go out with a commercial [identity].
Q: What was behind the decision to retire the Now Resorts & Spas and Reflect Resorts & Spas concepts, while retaining the Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas, Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Alua Hotels & Resorts and Sunscape Resorts & Spas flags as part of the AMR Collection portfolio?
A: Our goal was to make sure that we were helping to cultivate really strong brands and focusing on the brands that had the most equity. The Reflect brand has already been retired, and as for the Now properties, [select resorts] are in the process of being converted to Dreams properties.
We've narrowed it down to have very clearly delineated target audiences for each of the six brands in the AMR Collection. Secrets is adults-only, for those romantic moments; Dreams is for those family moments; you've got Breathless, which is perfect for [adults-only] social moments; and then you go into Zoetry, which is for more mature audiences. Then there's Alua, which is perfect for any type of travel vacation, and Sunscape, which is all about having fun.
Our other goal is to make sure that people understand the different levels of luxury for each of these brands. What we've done is introduce new tiers with our Platinum and Gold collections. Our Platinum five-star collection will consist of Secrets, Dreams, Breathless and Zoetry, and then our Gold four-star collection will consist of Alua and Sunscape.
Q: How do you think your travel advisor partners will react to the reorganization?
A: I think that they'll respond very positively. The travel advisor already sees us as a collection of brands. They're very familiar with our brands, and they understand the different audiences to send to each one. So this will just help to further that, and I think [the changes] allow us to create clarification for their customers, which will help them to sell more easily.
Q: The all-inclusive sector has been on a hot streak lately, with numerous large hospitality players either entering or expanding further into the space. What are your thoughts on this new level of competition?
A: We've spent a lot of time really raising the bar on all-inclusive and the way in which customers see gastronomy, food and beverage and service. And we're really focused on, once we raise the bar, raising it again and making sure that we're constantly changing to meet the needs of the customer.
So, yes, you do have all of these other players coming in, but for us, it's always been about pushing ourselves to be different and making sure that we're always innovating.
And I do think [the competition] is a positive thing. It helps to better position a destination, which in turn brings more airlift and more partners, and that really helps all of us to be successful.