Sandals sticking with the Caribbean
It has an all-inclusive hotel brand that is known beyond the Caribbean, but Sandals has no immediate plans to build one of its resorts outside of the region.
Sandals Resorts International executive chairman, Adam Stewart said while he would not rule out such a move in the future, his company had more scope for growth in its home base.
Stewart said so in response to questions from Yahoo Finance’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer during a recent edition of the weekly interview series Influencers.
Serwer asked: “Have you thought about expanding outside the Caribbean, or are you going to keep your footprint here in this part of the world?”
Sandals’ boss responded: “There is no question that the brand is big enough. We have an 84 per cent brand recognition in North America unprecedented in this space of all-inclusive. The truth is that never say never, but for the foreseeable future, we have so much going on in the Caribbean.”
Stewart said Sandals, which operates two hotels in Christ Church, and previously announced plans for a third in St Peter, still had “more to conquer in the Caribbean”.
“We have three new resorts in Jamaica, where we are today, under construction. We just opened a resort called Sandals Royal Curacao in the Dutch Caribbean Island of Curacao. Fascinating country, incredible resort,” he said.
“We are under construction in Turks and Caicos. We are under construction in St Vincent and the Grenadines. And that list is growing kind of by the day.”
He added: So we feel that the Caribbean is a really magical place. My father used to always say that the almighty spent a little bit more time on the Caribbean when he was creating the world. And we fundamentally believe that.”
The Executive Chairman also said Sandals was confident it would continue competing successfully against the so-called “big boys” in international hospitality, including well-financed brands from Europe and the United States.
“Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think the word would be ‘agility’. So the fact that we know our space, our playground is the four corners of the Caribbean,” he said.
“Our mission is to share the best of the four corners of the Caribbean with the world. And our agility, our team, when you look at the people around this organisation, I mean, to have worked for this company for 20 years, you’re still kind of a rookie coming into it.”
He continued: “So the baseline of the team, the culture, and the business, the ‘can do’ attitude to get things done, all centred around consumer experiences, is really our thing. We…own every one of our resorts, which is very abnormal in the hospitality business.
“It allows us to invest faster. It allows us to have a more intimate relationship with our customer base. That customer base today represents about 50 per cent of our base of our business, meaning our repeat guest ratio is about 50 per cent.”
“[Before the interview] I was chatting to some of what we call our diamond team members…,these particular customers have over 500 paid nights staying in our resorts. So for us, we fascinate and we revel in everything to do with customer experience. And I think it keeps the big boys on their toes,” he said. (SC)