Spent the second half of day three “on the job” with the Sales department. I walked in as they were preparing to deliver a birthday experience for a guest, so I jumped in and assisted as we took a cake and sparkling juice “champagne” for a little girl’s birthday. We proceeded to decorate the room, and they really went above an beyond to deliver a great experience for this guest, even though the revenue for such was only $65. There is definitely a very engrained customer service focus in the Sandals corporate culture, and it makes sense given that they get a LOT of repeat business.
Still, after spending over an hour on delivering this, I was a bit perplexed as to how this had anything to do with “Sales”. The two of us students who were there tried to ask a number of questions on the sales front, but really got sort of stonewalled and didn’t get much information.
They do have a strong relationship with travel agents, and their whiteboard had a list of a dozen or so travel agents who were also on property during the time of our visit. Agents can earn points towards trips by selling their clients into Sandals properties, and the company also runs occasional “familiarization” or “fam” trips to properties. Butch Stewart was always a big advocate of developing close relationships with major travel agencies, something that continues to this day.
Still, we couldn’t get much info on their in house sales activities, pricing, or sales mix, which was rather disappointing. I was also not allowed to meet with their finance people due to the sensitive nature of the private company’s information. I suppose this makes sense, but for someone wanted to learn about the operational side of the business, this was a major bummer not to get to look behind the curtain. I’m hoping maybe in the future, that perhaps under NDA, grad students might be allowed to look at some of this information. It would be extremely interesting. That said, if one paid enough attention to the information learned from many other departments and through general observation, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make some educated estimates of the resort’s financial performance.