By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
A Caribbean-based resort company is going beyond glossy brochures and flashy websites and taking its brands directly to some of its consumers, meeting them right where they “live.”
Unique Vacations Ltd, U.K. representatives for Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple resorts, opened its first high street shop at the end of March.
The Sandals Luxury Travel Store, at 135 Fulham Road in the posh London neighborhood of Chelsea, is the first ever retail outlet by an overseas hotel company in that country.
The 5,000-square foot store is designed to offer customers an interactive Caribbean experience the moment they walk through the door.
Thirty 55-inch flat-screen monitors broadcast the company’s promotional videos and social media feeds; visitors can get customized advice and information in a wedding lounge and Beaches family zone; and a tour desk provides counsel on the excursions offered by the company’s tour operator, Island Routes.
Members of staff guide guests through the entire booking process, which may end at the Sandals Bar, which serves a selection of the spirits and Robert Mondavi wines served at Sandals and Beaches resorts.
“We are very excited to be making our mark on the high street and extending our longstanding commitment to providing a high quality of customer service to our guests,” said Karl Thompson, Managing Director for Sandals U.K. & Europe. “The substantial investment in this retail experience further demonstrates the growth potential in the UK market. The immersive nature of the store will allow us to showcase the incredible Sandals and Beaches’ experience for both existing and new customers, as well as provide a more personable holiday booking experience.”