Recommend attended Palace Resorts’ first Global Conference recently, where we got the low-down on how agents should brand themselves, tips on diving into the digital world and social media, plus lots more. You can read about all of it here and learn about the social media takeaways here. But now, let’s see what Palace Resorts principals thought about the first Global Conference. We chatted with Frank Corzo, vice president, U.S. field sales for Palace Resorts to get his take on it—after all, he was the master of ceremonies all weekend long.
Michelle Marie Arean (MMA): Why did Moon Palace decide to host the first Palace Experience Global Conference? How long were you planning for it?
MMA: What were your thoughts on the Palace Experience Global Conference?
We were incredibly pleased with the turnout this year. Industry insiders, select travel trade media and top travel agents, industry delegates and tour operators joined us for an event-filled weekend complete with educational seminars, sales-driven workshops, entertainment and more. We believe the Global Conference provided an opportunity to showcase what sets Palace Resorts apart from the competition. One of our primary objectives of the conference was to provide agents with a platform, which would allow them to meet Palace Resorts leadership and support team. Because collaboration and partnership is a top priority for Palace Resorts, our focus is to strategically align ourselves with our agent partners and further develop a deep-rooted and strategic relationship.
Attendance was impressive and is a testament to the interest level and support that agents have for our product. The word continues to spread about our conference, and we will continue to execute a bigger and better, more value-driven conference every year. I am a firm believer that for an agent to advocate your brand, they must buy in and grasp a tangible value. Hence why we will collaborate with agents to better understand their needs and objectives and determine the topics for subsequent conferences. Our objective is for agents to walk away with knowledge that can be effortlessly adapted to their businesses.
MMA: In your opinion, what benefits do agents get from attending the Global Conference?
FC: The Palace Resorts team truly values the dedication and support of the many travel agents who help elevate our brand and reach guests around the world. We created the Global Conference to act as a sales-driven forum that will further empower travel agents to improve their bottom line. Agents also had an opportunity to participate in multiple breakout sessions focusing on topics ranging from how to better utilize social media, to how sales programs can boost group business. Featuring influential speakers from around the world, The Palace Experience Global Conference also provided an added incentive for attending agents with complimentary admittance as well as a booking bonus/refund of up to $500, based on the confirmation of three traveled bookings following the conference. Furthermore, we believe the conference provided agents the confidence to act as advocates for the Palace Resorts brand after gaining first-hand experience with our superior caliber offerings. Also, attendees had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with our award-winning dining, world-class accommodations and awe-inclusive offerings. Agents had a chance to “Live the Palace Life” while learning how to further develop their skill set.
MMA: What’s in store for next year? And when will reservations for 2015 be open?
FC: We are currently reviewing all aspects—successes and opportunity for improvement—of this year’s conference in order to ensure that our 2015 Palace Experience Global Conference will be bigger and better. We are raising the bar and focus on larger goals. Expectations will be high, both from our team and the agents attending our 2015 event. However, I’m confident the Palace Resorts team will deliver.
The 2015 Palace Experience Global Conference will take place Sept. 17–20, 2015. We are in the process of reserving 1,000 rooms at our signature property Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, which will once again host this important event. Our save the date announcement is expected to be in the marketplace within a matter of months. I encourage interested parties to visit our dedicated agent website, palaceproagents.com, for the latest news and information.
MMA: What was your favorite part of the 4-day event?
FC: My favorite part of the Global Experience was the opportunity to reaffirm that efforts Palace Resorts is making within the industry are making a difference—so many valued agents expressed how much they appreciate our efforts and are interested in our unmatched product.
MMA: What does Palace gain from working with travel agents?
FC: The travel agent community is an incredibly valuable source of distribution of the Palace Resorts product. This is why we’ve made a significant investment in a variety of outlets for training and development—to continually keep agents abreast of our efforts and offerings while also empowering them to surpass their own goals. We want to ensure that agents are immersed in our product so that the consumer can benefit and understand that they are booking with an expert.
MMA: Why were the PRO awards created?
FC: The PRO awards were created in order to highlight the many key players who have been actively supportive of Palace Resorts via their hard work and dedication. We hope the awards will incentivize, while also rewarding, agents for their efforts. One of the key objectives during the development of the Global Conference was to incorporate a recognition element in order to acknowledge the commitment of our top travel partners. We pulled out all of the stops to ensure that the event would be significant and a showcase of their continued support.
MMA: What’s new at Palace Resorts?
FC: Palace Resorts recently announced its newest property, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande. It’s the first Palace Resorts property located outside of Mexico, and is expected to open in early 2015. Located on the north coast of Jamaica, less than 90 minutes from the Montego Bay airport, Moon Palace Jamaica Grande will feature more than 700 guestrooms and suites and five swimming pools on 17 acres of beachfront, featuring the longest stretch of private beach in Ocho Rios. The property is about to undergo a multimillion dollar renovation that will create modernized guestrooms, overhauled meeting spaces, upgrades and redesigns of the common areas, restaurant updates, the addition of a FlowRider® Double wave simulator, Wired Teen Lounge, an on-property nightclub for adults, and expansive kids’ club dubbed, “The Playroom” for guests 12 years of age and under.
MMA: What’s new at Palace Resorts for agents?
FC: The PRO Specialist program—Palace Resorts’ redesigned agent rewards program that enables the travel professionals, including home-based agents, to earn different levels of benefits based on their bookings. Less than a year ago, we carefully reviewed our offerings based on the esteemed feedback from our agent partners. As a leader in enhancing resort/travel agent relations, the PRO program comes at a key time in the increasingly competitive leisure and business travel markets. With the economic landscape changing shape on a seemingly daily basis, it is vital that travel agents are able to strike quickly and strategically to gather and keep sales momentum.
Additional PRO program benefits include educational components, custom marketing materials and perks such as free nights, spa treatments and more. PRO members can maximize their business efforts like never before by taking advantage of program inclusions, such as educational events, personalized marketing consultations, logo usage, custom marketing materials and opportunities to partner with Palace Resorts in national co-op ad campaigns. Through this program, agents have the opportunity to affiliate themselves with a leading hotelier in the all-inclusive segment while increasing sales.