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
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
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."
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. 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.