SINCE it reopened its first resort last June after forced closures caused by the pandemic, Sandals Resorts International, in an aggressive and strategic marketing thrust, has welcomed nearly 200 influencers, celebrities and travel media to its resorts all across the Caribbean and hosted several major radio remotes, creating close to 300,000,000 global media impressions.
The increase in media and influencer visits is a key component of the company’s reinvigorated marketing strategy as it leads the recovery of the region’s tourism industry and aims to inform the world that Sandals Resorts and the Caribbean islands are open for business. So far in 2021, Sandals South Coast has hosted two separate radio remotes reaching approximately 5,000,000 radio listeners and resulting in over 50 million impressions. Radio remotes see international radio stations broadcasting live from Sandals and Beaches Resorts to their listeners back home. This element of the company’s strategy began as early as September 2020 at Sandals Grande Saint Lucian with broadcast reaching 19 key markets in the United States.
On the heels of these successful radio remotes, Beaches Turks and Caicos is set to host its own radio remote in May with additional remotes tentatively slated for Barbados, Grenada and The Bahamas. In addition to US radio stations, the company also intends to invite stations from the United Kingdom to Grenada and/or Barbados later in the year.
Adam Stewart, Sandals’ Executive Chairman, shed light on the company’s marketing efforts. He shared, “Our company has always been an innovator in marketing and promotions. We’re one of the most well-known hospitality brands across the world and that’s due to our well-oiled marketing machinery. We’ve been doing radio remotes for many years and we know the reach is significant. Now more than ever it is important that we harness the power of these activities and our radio remotes have proven instrumental in reaching our audience and letting them know that the Caribbean is open for business.”
Of the company’s decision to ramp up its influencer marketing campaigns, Stewart said, “The power of influencer marketing and online marketing is undeniable, especially now when our audience is spending most of their time online. We have been working strategically with a number of influencers with a combined global audience of several million in addition to top-tier publications with millions of readers around the globe. As a result, the Caribbean is trending. Millions of eyes are on the region and in many of our islands where tourism is the largest economic driver, this attention is well-needed and much-appreciated.”
The power of the brand has also seen the company enjoy powerful organic publicity through a number of celebrities who have openly shared their positive Sandals and Beaches experiences through their social media platforms.
With vaccinations trending upwards in source markets and across the region, Stewart is confident that the region is poised for a record comeback. He shared, “We are already seeing our bookings increase at a steady pace and we expect hotel occupancy of 65 to 80 per cent in June and July. I am very optimistic, not just for the recovery of our own brand, but for the recovery of the region’s tourism sector, all the industries that rely on tourism and of course for the thousands of Caribbean nationals who earn a living through tourism.”
To date, Sandals has reopened 15 of its resorts across the region including those in Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, Grenada, The Turks and Caicos Islands and Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas with its Barbados resorts set to reopen in a few weeks. Approximately 80 per cent of the company’s group-wide team is back at work with team members who were at reduced pay now returned to full salary and job opportunities across the region being offered to those whose resorts remain closed.