MAHO – St. Maarten’s premier and only all-inclusive resorts Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa have experienced a good high season.
Sonesta Great Bay had a good first quarter of 2015 mainly due to its repositioning in the market. The first quarter was the first high season months the resort had the full advantage of its renovations and repositioning after contracting the Butler Rooms and Grande Room categories with majority of partners since Spring 2014.
The resort has seen an increase in the charter segment. Thomas Cook Charter from Sweden with a long 14-night stays have definitely positively contributed to the overall results. A fifth plane added by Sun Wing from Ottawa, Canada has also increase occupancy. It is unfortunate that Thomas Cook will not operate a charter next year. The end of the charter is due to the poor booking results of St. Maarten compared to other Caribbean destinations where they fly.
The results seen by both Sonesta resorts are directly driven by the Maho Group's own sales and marketing efforts.
“Our marketing initiatives and advertisement with our wholesale partners has also played a big role in the overall results. Most of our partners performed better than in the first quarter of 2014 in occupancy as well as per person rate, including Expedia, Liberty travel, Mark Travel and Travel Impressions,” said Eliska Hesova, Sonesta St. Maarten Director of Business Development.
Apart from the charters, 70 per cent of wholesale reservations represent US market, 18 per cent Europe and rest account for South America and the Caribbean.
“The overall success of the first quarter is a reflection of our team work, as without providing excellent level of service and under the leadership of Sonesta Great Bay General Manager Karl Bourne, focusing on constant training and customer service, we would not be able to achieve,” said Hesova.
Like its sister resort, Sonesta Maho Beach had an equally good season.
“We have seen overall higher demand for accommodation and noticed customers traveling in high season,” said Hesova.
Same as for Sonesta Great Bay, Sun Wing contributed with the fifth plane to overall demand from Canada. US market has been strong as well, accounting for with 81 per cent wholesale bookings.
For the coming months, the resort group looks forward to benefits its newest addition, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, will bring to the destination. Ocean Point is the only resort on St. Maarten offering unique location, Butler Service, strong style and design, swim-out suites and other amenities. This new addition is poised to create the opportunity to attract new operators and guests who are looking for high quality product.
"Sonesta Ocean Point is a unique product for our hospitality sector from which our destination can only benefit,” said Hesova.
Heading into the low tourist season and looking to the upcoming high season, the Maho Group looks forward to strong support and cooperation from the Ministry of Tourism.
“We will endeavor to work closely with the Ministry to bring about an aggressive marketing plan and adequate budget for 2015 and 2016 to compete on equal footing with other Caribbean destinations,” said the Hesova. “With the investments we are making, we have and will continue to have very competitive hotel products. But, to be successful we need to be competitive overall as a destination.”