All-inclusive pioneer Club Med is doubling down on its French heritage with its latest campaign, launched under the new tagline, "That's L'Esprit Libre."
For travelers in the U.S., the very French motto, which translates to "that's free spirit," is certainly a departure from more typical U.S.-targeted all-inclusive messaging. But according to Amelie Brouhard, Club Med's vice president of marketing for North America and USA sales, the move is expected to play well to an American audience, who often perceive France as a symbol of luxury experiences and gourmet cuisine.
"When crafting the campaign, we tested it with a panel of U.S. customers, and it was actually very positively received," Brouhard said. "We wanted something that's different from what others are doing."
Concurrent with the campaign rollout, Club Med, which now has close to 70 resorts worldwide, has also revamped its brand identity by way of an updated logo, refreshed website and other branding updates.
The changes come, however, as Club Med faces a setback in its efforts to grow its U.S. footprint. Earlier this spring, the company scrapped plans to open a Utah mountain property, originally set to be developed as part of the existing Snowbasin ski resort in Huntsville.
The Utah resort was on track to be the brand's first new U.S. all-inclusive in more than 20 years and mark the brand's return to U.S. soil. The company ceased operations of the former Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, Fla., last year.
According to Brouhard, the group's decision to walk away from the Utah project was related to timeline delays. She emphasized, however, that Club Med remains dedicated to re-entering the U.S. and plans to pursue another project in the market.
"The U.S. market is the No. 2 market for skiers in the world," Brouhard said. "And North America as a whole is a very dynamic region."
In North America overall, it maintains several properties in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, including the Miches Playa Esmerelda, which is part of its Exclusive Collection of luxury properties.
Its yacht product, the Club Med 2, is also marketed to Americans.
Thanks to the Club Med Quebec Charlevoix, she said, "we now have a presence in Canada, and Mexico also has high potential" for development.
Refresh in Punta Cana
In addition to eyeing further development, Club Med is reinvesting in its existing portfolio. Most notably, the brand is on track to complete a refresh of its Club Med Punta Cana all-inclusive -- which originally opened in 1978 -- this summer.
Updates being made to the Punta Cana resort include an overhaul of the property's oceanfront Hispaniola Restaurant, a guestroom refurbishment effort focused on family-friendly accommodations and the debut of a weddings and events facility overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
"We're working to elevate our client experience and legacy resorts," said Brouhard. The Club Med Punta Cana, she added, "is one renovation that really epitomizes our new positioning and brand campaign."