Pleasant Holidays reports surging Caribbean bookings

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From left, Pleasant Holidays CEO Jack Richards, luxury travel advisor Lisa Salloum of Travel and Transport Vacations, Unique Vacations senior vice president of sales Gary Sadler and CTA Travel president Cathie Lentz Fryer at a networking session during Pleasant Holidays'  Elite Experience agent incentive trip.
From left, Pleasant Holidays CEO Jack Richards, luxury travel advisor Lisa Salloum of Travel and Transport Vacations, Unique Vacations senior vice president of sales Gary Sadler and CTA Travel president Cathie Lentz Fryer at a networking session during Pleasant Holidays' Elite Experience agent incentive trip. Photo Credit: Nadine Godwin

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos -- Pleasant Holidays' Caribbean sales are up by double digits so far this year after a slow start coming off the 2017 hurricane season.  

Pleasant CEO Jack Richards, speaking at the company's fifth annual Elite Experience incentive held this year at Beaches in Turks & Caicos, said Caribbean sales were slower in early 2018 than at the start of 2017, but that they have since surged, and that for 2019, the Caribbean is up in the "high double digits."

Pleasant said that to help jump-start the region's 2019 bookings, and be more competitive, Pleasant last month lowered the trip deposit for all Caribbean bookings from $200 per person to $50 per person.

Of the 23 Caribbean destinations Pleasant sells, some, like Puerto Rico, haven't fully recovered from last year's powerful hurricane season. 

Pleasant's choice of Turks & Caicos to host its annual incentive trip to top agents was made in part to support the island's comeback from Hurricane Irma. 

In planning the Elite trip, Richards said, Pleasant looks for destinations with the "greatest opportunity going forward based on what agents may not have seen" but would most likely sell after a visit. 

Turks & Caicos fit that mold but was also of special interest "after the hurricane damage last year," Richards said. Beaches Turks & Caicos was closed for three months after the hurricane last year. 

Pleasant offers the expenses-paid trip to its 50 top producers "as a reward for loyalty," which in turn benefits Pleasant and the destination. 

"After one of these, we will get a spike in sales for the next 60 days," Richards said. 

Amy Terada, Pleasant's vice president of marketing, added that the destinations get a bump as well, so there are "lots of places bidding to be the host."

Product enhancements

Pleasant revealed an enhancement to its booking site, which rolled out last month, called Hotel Recommendation. After an agent enters trip dates for a specific destination, the agent can select up to six hotel options, with prices and images, to be sent directly via e-mail to the client, and may include a personalized message. 

Pleasant Holidays' Maria Landrau-Mackey (left) demonstrates the tour company's new Hotel Recommendation tool to AAA Reading-Berks travel consultant Amy Kepner.
Pleasant Holidays' Maria Landrau-Mackey (left) demonstrates the tour company's new Hotel Recommendation tool to AAA Reading-Berks travel consultant Amy Kepner. Photo Credit: Nadine Godwin

Or, rather than showing different hotels, the agent can send a client up to six different room types for comparison purposes. 

The Hotel Recommendation tool will streamline the process of closing a sale, Richards said. 

In addition, in 2019 more hotels at the Pleasant booking site will offer dynamic rates with instant confirmations based on those rates.

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