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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Sandals Resorts was founded by a Jamaican hotelier and businessman in 1981 named Gordon “Butch” Stewart. Stewart is now known as the “king of all-inclusive resorts”, “cupid of the Caribbean” and “master of marketing”. He began working as a salesman at the age of 17 and quickly made his way up to becoming a sales manager of a Dutch owned company Curaçao Trading. In 1968, after saving up his earnings over the years, he decided it was time to start his own business. The business was called Appliance Traders, Ltd and specialized in the distribution and selling of appliances such as water coolers, stoves and air conditioning units. Then in 1981 his business image shifted and he purchased two hotels in Montego Bay, Jamaica and quickly turned into a profit. Many years later he started an adult only Royal Caribbean beach vacation known as Sandals Resorts. When his visions for a couples only and beachfront property changed it impacted the way society views luxury hotels today.

Within the hospitality industry, business accommodate to the needs of their customers and that is exactly what Gordon Butch states in the Sandals Resort mission statement; “We believe in creating romantic memories of a lifetime by consistently providing the luxury experience for two people in love, through our outstanding team members and commitment to environmental practices and partnership”. Sandals' vision is to completely override and go beyond any expectations a couple might have for an all-inclusive beach destination, from outstanding customer service, to the beautiful, romantic atmosphere or beach side experience, including the number of amenities Sandals has to offer. Based on their vison and mission, Sandals is a major and succeeding destination in the resort industry.

Adam Stewart, the son of Sandals' founder, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, is the Deputy Chairman of the company. Stewarts resilient effort has not gone unnoticed and have been recognized by many hospitality awards including being named the 2015 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Hotelier of the Year. As well as maintaining the responsibilities of being a Deputy Chairman, he exhibits excellent leadership skills and continues to go above and beyond for the company, following in his father's footsteps.

In March of 2018 the search for a new Chief Executive Organizer began when Adam Stewart stepped down. Shortly after, Gebhard Rainer joined the team, eager to contribute his ideas and continue to exhibit an excellent leadership standing. Previously serving at Hyatt Hotels Corporation for over 20 years, Rainer is well experienced in the global operations and international finance aspect of the hospitality industry. As his role of the CEO, Rainer manages internal processes as Sandal's Resort prepares to rapidly increase the strategic growth of the award- winning luxury all-inclusive vacation destination under its banner.

The Sandals Resort Quality Advantage of Customers, also known as the standards for the company begin with the mission statement and emphasize how important it is to exceed customer expectations. The SQAC includes a document with four main points that an employee needs to keep in mind. First it begins with the five organizational values, which describe how they act and respond to customer. These values include total customer focus, total commitment, job knowledge, teamwork and continuous improvement. Then employees need to know the Sandals promise, which consists of 10 promises to the customer explaining how they promise to be a determined and useful employee, making sure customers are having the vacation of their lifetime. Next employees need to follow the customer service checklist, making sure that the three components of good service (greeting the guests, making the guest comfortable and saying goodbye) are put into action every time they come in contact with s customer. Finally, employees need to master the customer service basics, emphasizing on what makes the customer's vacation a great one and how an employee can change that. The SQAC is an important resource which, if followed correctly, will impact the retention rate of their customers.

Sandals Resorts has 15 properties spread out between 7 different countries including Antigua, The Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Turks and Caicos. Each destination is special in their own ways but all emphasize on the importance of

good customer service, focusing on the mission statement to exceed customer expectations for an all- inclusive beach destination.

Located in the 15 properties around the world are the 5 different branches which Sandals Resorts owns. The first, and most well-known branch is Sandals focusing on the fact that “love is all you need” because everything else is covered for their customers. Sandals Resorts have been named Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand at the World Travel Awards for 18 consecutive years, being known as the standard of romantic beach vacations. Beaches is one of the branches of Sandals Resorts which first opened in 1997. Beaches resorts was created for more of a family and kid friendly vacation. Beaches has been voted the World's Leading Family All-Inclusive Resort for over 14 consecutive years. After launching in 2008, the Grand Pineapple became a destination intended for couples to affordably enjoy the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. As well as providing guests with all of what these Caribbean beaches have to offer, The Grand Pineapple is easily affordable for couples seeking a destination getaway. The Fowl Cay Resort chain is primarily located in the Bahamas, offering a wide variety of small villas ranging from private and intimate to a larger family style. The Fowl Cay Resort is all-inclusive with the price of a villa and every family or couple receives a golf cart dedicated to them throughout their vacation. The last branch is another set of villas called the Jamaican Villas intended to really capture the “very essence of fine Jamaican living” (Sandals , n.d.).

Before an applicant is hired to work with Sandals Resorts, they are required to gain more experience by training and taking classes with Sandals Corporate University. The Sandals Corporate University teaches employees hands on, hospitable skills before working for one of the resorts. Being a $5 million investment over 5 years, the Sandals Corporate University launched on March 12, 2012 to be “the only of its kind in the regional hospitality industry, making dreams come true for countless employees and with its consistent addition of sought-after education partners and in-demand programmers, it is obvious there is much more to come” (Sandals: Corporate University , n.d.) SCU has awarded $770,000 in scholarships with over 5,000 registered team members who are enrolled in many of the 1,000 courses provided. The mission of SCU is for their students and future employees to gain an enthusiastic, customer service attitude which will fulfil the Sandals' mission of exceeding their customer's expectations.

Every company or industry has a few competitors, in this case Sandals has three. Their first competitor is the Club Mediterranean, also known as Club Med. Club Med is a private company that, along with Sandals Resorts, specializes in all-inclusive vacations with destinations all over the world. Club Med began in 1950 by Gerard Blitz, a Belgian entrepreneur who started charging people at a very low price to stay in tents along the island of Majorca. A business partner of Blitz, names Gilbert Trigano supplied the tents and provided small amenities and three years later, they began a partnership. The very first Club Med location, made up of small villages, opened a year later in 1954 in Salerno, Italy. With over 65 worldwide locations, including the US, Club Med is Sandals Resort's biggest competitor.

Another one of Sandals Resorts competitors is  Kerzner International who “believe in making our guests happy beyond their wildest imagination” which is quite similar to the mission statement of Sandals Resorts. With four main branches including, One&Only Beach Resorts, Nature Resorts, Urban Resorts and Private Homes, Kerzner International has a variety of ultra-luxury hotels around the world making for an unforgettable vacation.

The last major competitor of Sandals Resorts is Walt Disney Parks and Resorts also known as the place where dreams come true. The Walt Disney was founded in 1971, after the opening of Magic Kingdom in Florida. Walt Disney attractions changed their name to Walt Disney Parks and Recreation after being known as “one of the world's leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences, giving millions of guests each year the chance to spend time with their families and friends, making memories that last a lifetime”. Although Sandals Resorts are intended for couples, Disney is still a top competitor for the Beaches branch of Sandals Resorts.  

Due to the fact that Sandals Resort is an all-inclusive destination, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, it has a major impact on the economy of Jamaica. All-inclusive resorts charge guests a fix priced that cover hotel, food and transportation fees needed for the entire duration of the customer's stay. Misaki Kondo, author of The Economic Impact of All-Inclusive Resorts in Jamaica wrote, “despite their popularity and profitability, a closer look at all-inclusive resorts reveals that the revenue they generate limited benefits to locals”. All- inclusive resorts are facing day by day issues with the economy such as, high leakage rate, structure of ownership and the cost of infrastructure. A major issue that Sandals Resorts is facing today is importing international dishes for their restaurants. It is an obvious factor that they need to import such products form companies and countries outside Jamaica; however, by doing so, Sandals Resorts loses much of their tourist's income because of leakage.

Sandals Resorts has one of the most organized websites for tourism and resorts, making it easy for customers to go through and book their vacations. When planning a vacation for families the Sandals Resorts main page will automatically direct customers to the Sandals Resort and Beaches page. Elaborate*

Sandals Resorts uses SWOT analysis as a way to measure how the company is doing all together. A “SWOT analysis is a tool for auditing an organization and its environment” (Friesner, n.d.) and the term SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The SWOT analysis for Sandals Resorts goes as written out below:

Strengths

- New CEO and deputy chairman

- Winner of thousands of awards

Weaknesses

- Environmental issues and communication

- Lack of advertisement after receiving the Green Globe Certification

Opportunities

- Opening a new resort in Hawaii or Belize

- Promoting the resorts at expos for bridal/wedding

Threats

- Weather  hurricanes around the Caribbean

- Crime rates increasing

The main attempt of a SWOT analysis is for the company to realize what they are doing right versus what they are doing wrong that need to be changed. The goal for Sandals Resorts within is the next few years is to turn weaknesses into possible strengths and threats into noticeable opportunities.  

Sandals has been doing substantially well economically within the past decade. In 2007 Sandals Resorts was close to $900 million in sales for the year. It was expected to increase to around $1,200 million for the year 2010. Based on the economic growth within the past decade, Sandals Resorts is in good standing for the following years beginning with $3,500 million is 2020.

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