Ikos Resorts and Sani aim to become ‘hotel brand of choice’ for UK trade

Ikos Resorts and Sani Resort are aiming to become “the hotel brand of choice” for UK agents.

The sister brands are targeting substantial growth through the UK trade, and a new team was put in place this summer to drive agent bookings. The aim is to get more agents booking Ikos and Sani through their preferred tour operator partner.

Lee Barker was appointed regional director of sales and marketing for the UK, Scandinavia and Americas earlier this year. He then set up a UK office, recruiting Andrea Keeble as UK sales and marketing manager and Phil Shipman as business development manager. Claire Griffiths continues to manage relationships with tour operators as the group’s UK sales manager.

Barker said his team was “lucky to be starting with a clean slate” when it came to educating agent partners on the product. He hopes to be the “go to hotel company” for agents.

“The agent partner relationship is one that we hadn’t really fostered in the past. And what’s great is that we as a team can use our past knowledge and experience to help agents get to know Sani and Ikos better. We want to help agents succeed and we’re excited to get to deliver new tools to help them do so.”

He added: “My aim is for us to be seen as the hotel company agents go to, a brand they’re supporting by. We want to be the best I what we do and what we offer, in the support we give to the helping agents in any way we can when it comes to bookings.

“We’re investing in the trade and we’re here with the support and tools to secure the business.”

Barker said he was hopeful that the brand would win “some awards in the not too distant future” for the investment they’ve made in the trade.

The brands have future growth planned, with at least one new opening a year for the next five years.

“We want to create a core distribution of agents in the UK to help us as we grow,” Barker added.

In his new role, Shipman, who previously worked for G-Touring, has been acting as the “face of the brand”. He will be out on the road in the future, visiting agents around the country, but for now he’s hosting regular webinar and online training sessions for the trade.

He said: “I’m working to ensure the trade are fully up to speed with all the products, including our newest resort Ikos Andalusia.

“I’m training agents as much as I can virtually, as obviously we’re a bit restricted in terms of getting out on the road at the moment. We’re using this time as best we can to really get everyone’s attention and make sure that when we do get to the peak period at the turn of the year, everyone’s fully raring to go and we’re in the best place possible for the bookings to come flooding in.

“We’re here to support our partners in the best way possible.”

He said he believed agents had a greater awareness of the Sani brand, due to it being “synonymous with luxury travel for a long, long time”.

Keeble has been working hard on rolling out the new agent portal which went live last week. 

She hopes agents will use it regularly and said it would be constantly updated with campaign details, property information and further training modules. A rewards scheme will also be added to the portal over the coming months, as well as details on trade rates and any further updates from the sister brands.

Related Articles

Jumeirah opens all-villa resort in Bali

Kerzner International unveils first hotel under new Rare Finds brand

Boutique brand Chevalier Paris unveils fourth hotel in French capital