MAHO–Sonesta Resorts and St. Maarten Tourist Bureau have secured a five-night incentive trip in April 2019 that has completely booked out Sonesta Ocean Point. This comes as the two entities work together to bring the country back as a leading destination in the Caribbean following the impact of Hurricane Irma ten months ago.
The collaboration between Sonesta Resorts and the Tourist Bureau aims to stimulate the corporate and incentive group sales market and inspire confidence in the destination within the travel industry.
Sonesta and the Tourist Bureau recently hosted a site visit for Koncept Events, an award-winning corporate events agency that provides global destination services, site selection, meeting planning and brand marketing. As a result of the trip, Koncept Events booked all of the rooms at Sonesta Ocean Point. The adults-only, all-inclusive resort reopens on November 15.
Together, Sonesta Resorts and the Tourist Bureau were able to share cost covering airfare, accommodations and a guided island tour. This was the first group-booking client that decided to visit before going into contract since Irma. The visit and hospitality expressed by both parties were key in cementing the deal, according to a joint press statement.
Tourist Bureau head May-Ling Chun said the bureau aims to make these collaborations with public sector partners a focus of its recovery strategy and to “communicate to the travel community that we are coming back better than ever and we are open for business. Our resort partners are an integral part of our tourism development and the entire recovery process.”
Sonesta Resorts Groups Sales Manager Carla Melo said, “We mutually understand the need for prospective clients to physically see the beauty of our island – not only the resorts, but the destination as well, and the strides that are being made in our recovery.”
“We are often in competition with 10 other hotel brands and island destinations, and we need the support of the tourist office team to promote our island, which plays a big role in the decision-making process,” Melo added.
Booking corporate and incentive groups has become a challenge post-Irma, as clients are hesitant to commit, unable to imagine the improvements that have been made to the destination, the beauty that still exists and all the services available as they were before the storm, said the partners. This is why investment in familiarisation trips and first-hand site inspections are so crucial, so prospective clients are able to see the progress themselves.
The results from confirming these large group bookings can potentially generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in room revenue and destination spend, bringing much-needed income and business to the island’s economy.
The all-inclusive family-friendly Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino and Spa re-opens February 1, 2019.