Sandals Overdrive was held in Grenada on Thursday,28 June 2018 at the Spice Basket.
Hundreds were gathered to hear from Founder and Chairman, the Hon. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, his son, Deputy Chairman, Adam Stewart, top Directors of the company and Minister for Tourism, Hon. Dr Clarice Modeste-Curwen and stalwart local hotelier, Sir Royston Hopkin. Staff of Unique Vacations Grenada, Sandals’ local Call Center and Sandals Grenada Resort, as well as local suppliers and affiliates of the company were in attendance.
According to Sir Royston Hopkin, other hoteliers should not fear the incoming of a Sandals but welcome the spin-off effects that they can directly benefit from. He also commended the success of Sandals Grenada and hopes for its growth, “Since Sandals has come to Grenada our airlift has quadrupled. I hope I live to see the day a Beaches comes to Grenada.”
Similar sentiments were shared by Peter Fraser, General Manager for Sandals Grenada, “Mr Chairman, Deputy Chairman, we are getting lonely. We need a Beaches resort in Grenada.” The Deputy Chairman, Adam Stewart, responded during his presentation, saying the brand is ready and willing to invest even further in Grenada, “Grenada has been one of our best investments and we will continue to proudly represent destination Grenada. In 2017 alone we counted 1 billion, billion with a ‘b’, Sandals media impressions with the word Grenada. Our investment in Grenada is important to us and it has already been so successful and we want to keep it that way for many years to come.”
Master of ceremonies for the evening, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Gary Sadler, opened with insight to Unique Vacations, “Unique Vacations Inc. represents Sandals and Beaches Resorts around the world, from branding, promotions, advertising, to sales and reservations. Unique Vacations spends more on global marketing than all Caribbean governments combined. With a global sales team that spans the world with representatives all over Europe, South America, North America. Unique Vacations ensures a Sandals/Beaches ad runs somewhere in North America, every 5 minutes. Bringing visitors to Grenada doesn’t happen by some miracle, it comes from dedication and hard work; Overdrive and Unveilings are shows that we put on around the world. We train travel agents on how to sell the Caribbean. More than that, we bring them to the destinations because it is not easy to know what makes Grenada ‘Pure’ if you haven’t experienced it.”
However, selling a product around the world is one thing, but ensuring that the product and experience the guests have on the islands is what seals the deal, and so Sadler expressed his thanks to the 14,000 persons employed by Sandals throughout the region. “On behalf of the global sales team I will like to say thank you to the bartenders, chefs, watersports guys, housekeeping, accountants, everyone- thank you for making our guests dreams come true.”
In closing, Founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart gave words of encouragement, “Grenada is a magical place. Team Grenada; keep doing what you are doing. Unique Vacations Call Center; you are the gateway to the world, don’t ever forget how important you are to us.”
The Deputy Chairman, Adam Stewart, took the opportunity to reveal the new and upcoming developments for the brand throughout the region including: restaurants being added to many of the older properties; over the water bungalows in Jamaica and St Lucia; the new Sandals Royal Barbados (opened last December); and renderings of the new Beaches Barbados to begin construction in January 2019. “Beaches Barbados will be our single largest investment thus far, featuring the region’s largest waterpark, and 500 rooms, a kids’ camp, bowling alley, and movie theatre and our newest concept restaurants including a barbeque restaurant.”
Sandals Overdrive sales event is held all over the US, Canada and Europe to promote Sandals and by extension the Caribbean, to travel agents, airlines and other important stakeholders to encourage travel to the Caribbean. The first time ever, Caribbean region Overdrive covered 4 islands in 5 days, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia.