60 seconds with... Craig Jeffs, Kerzner International

Q. How has the last year been?

A. 2020 was a very tough year. We had a lot of regrouping to do; the word pivot was used a lot. In the UK, we also went through a massive restructure; I was promoted to account director and had to recruit a new sales team. It was a challenging year but it was a time to pause and reset – and in this industry, we never get that opportunity.

Q. One&Only has opened three resorts recently. Can you tell us about these?

A. One&Only Mandarina in Mexico and One&Only Desaru Coast in Malaysia opened last year, and One&Only Portonovi in Montenegro opened in May. Launching three hotels during a pandemic, we had to really think about what it was that we wanted to communicate and how we were going to do it. It was exciting because it was different.

Q. How important is the travel trade to the brand?

A. From a UK perspective, trade sales make up about 85%-90% of our business. It’s super important, and even more so now because consumers are moving away from booking online and returning to trusting the high street. Every company like us needs to rely on the trade.

Q. How are you supporting agents?

A. We’ve got the global booking rewards platform so there’s always an incentive to book us. We’re always doing virtual webinars and training. We have also launched the Ultimate Explorers fam trip, which has been a labour of love for me for the last two years. What I wanted to do was give the agent the experience of being the client – seeing the resorts from their perspective and having the same amazing experiences – so that they can come back and sell it.

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