Market Director of Group Sales, Porsche Pettiford, details the efforts of our resort collection to keep the events industry thriving.
In this economy, what steps are your resorts taking to attract meeting business?
We’re using an array of marketing and direct sales that include customer retention and attraction. In seeking new customers, we look to industries that are economically healthy and still traveling, like food and beverage, pharmaceutical and continuing medical education companies.
What kind of packages are you putting out there?
We’ve created several great offerings, stand alone and combinable, which significantly increase the value of creating a program with us. These include airline credits, reduced cancellation and attrition clauses and our customizable all-inclusive.
It’s been an especially difficult time for the incentives industry. How have you reached out?
We’ve taken extraordinary measures to entice the incentive customer through various media channels and direct sales efforts. Incentive programs make up a large part of our annual business, and I believe the Caribbean will continue to be a leader in that arena. The region has some of the world’s most beautiful locales and rewarding experiences.
Any predictions about the future of Caribbean meetings in the next five years?
I believe the core of what our Caribbean resorts deliver will remain the same—fantastic accommodations, memorable food and beverage events and an array of water sports and activities. What will evolve are unique attractions for families that accompany the incentive winners. Things like small kiosks for children to play online games, expanded Kids Clubs, excursions for women and children, etc. I also see the continued evolution of “green” meetings, as we look for new ways to decrease our carbon footprints.
What kind of encouragement would you like to pass along to prospective partners?
The value and array of special offerings available right now is unparalleled, making for the perfect time to get away and reward people for their hard work. Our portfolio of nine Paradise resorts gives groups a great selection of exotic destinations. And they can count on Marriott’s Spirit to Serve, which ensures abundant amenities, genuine care and highly personalized experiences that make their stay unforgettable.