Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts are regarded as among the most luxurious and innovative in the world and have won numerous international travel and tourism awards. The Dubai-based company was founded in 1997 with the aim to become a hospitality industry leader through establishing a world class portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts. They now number 17, with nine hotels and resorts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the balance spanning London, the Maldives, Spain, Germany, Kuwait and China.
Recently, the company launched Jumeirah Beacon as a way to bring travel advisors up to date with Jumeirah’s luxury products. The program helps agents not only in understanding the key differences and selling points, but in shedding light on Jumeirah’s growth as a lifestyle brand.
Travel-Intel talked with Austin Frost, VP Sales and Marketing Europe & Americas at
Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts based in the U.K. about Jumeirah Beacon and its success in bringing U.S., travel agents into the fold.
1. Tell us about Jumeirah Beacon: What is it and why is it important to travel agents?
Austin Frost: Jumeirah Beacon is our Travel Agent training program. It is a brief 20-minute induction to the Jumeirah Brand and our hotels. By completing this training program, the travel agent will gain more knowledge on who and where we are, thus providing the agent with a base of knowledge of our properties and destinations, which will assist them when speaking to their clients.
2. What spurred its launch?
Austin Frost: Jumeirah Beacon was launched in 2016. It came about through many reasons, but primarily because, we wanted to provide more information to agents about our company, particularly those we might not be able to reach through sales calls. We had also received a number of requests from agents seeking more information on Jumeirah. We measure the success of the program by the number of graduates who have completed the program.
3. How long does the course usually take to complete?
Austin Frost: Twenty minutes. If an agent wishes, he or she can be on the site for ten minutes, leave it and then come back another day to complete it.
4. Upon completion, what are some of the incentives and engaging elements of the program?
Austin Frost: As it is still a relatively new program we will be introducing this year a number of engagement elements with the agents, as well as adding on modules in line with our development plans and openings in new destinations.
5. What can agents expect to learn about the locations of these properties once the course is completed?
Austin Frost: The course is very general in its knowledge at the moment. We wanted to ascertain the interest amongst the travel agent community before incorporating more information on the locations and destinations. This will be the next phase of the development of the program. In completing the program, the agent will fully understand that the “Home” of Jumeirah is in Dubai / UAE, which is very much a part of the DNA of our brand.
6. What do you think best defines what makes a Jumeirah property Jumeirah?
Austin Frost: Fundamentally, the delivery of Jumeirah Hospitality, which centers around genuine personalized service, providing a friendly atmosphere and an attention to detail.
7. How many U.S. travel agents have been through the Beacon program so far?
Austin Frost: We have had a successful first 18 months of the program with graduates in their thousands.
8. Is Jumeirah a well-known brand among U.S. travel agents? Which properties in the brand are most popular with U.S.-based agents?
Austin Frost: In certain parts of the USA the brand is well known, however there are large areas where we feel there is a greater need of education and training about the company still needs to be completed. Jumeirah Beacon gives us the opportunity to do that.
9. The Dubai properties, especially Burj Al Arab, are the flagships and best known under the name. What Jumeirah properties are popular with U.S.-based travel agents currently?
Austin Frost: The Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai and the Grosvenor House Suites in London are our most popular selling hotels in the USA market. A number of years ago, USA business provided a low base to our business. However, in the last three to four years this base has increased significantly as American travelers seek a more genuine experience in these destinations. Since the launch of Jumeirah Beacon we have seen further growth in our bookings from U.S. travel agents.
10. Are you running any amazing packages travel agents can book?
Austin Frost: At the moment, our amazing experiential packages are to be found on our website, which both agents and clients can purchase. We will be developing more of these as the year progresses as well as promotions for the travel agent community.