What are the latest developments or news at Windjammer Landings?
The first phase of our current villa renovation programme will be complete by the end of January 2015 with the updating of 19 villas.
We have also just completed an extensive beach expansion programme which resulted in an enlargement of the beach by 16,000 square feet. This includes the installation of three in-water hammocks which are unique to the resort and cannot be found anywhere else on the island. The beach expansion project included:
We also installed new sea turtle safe lights on the beach. This is to prevent the baby sea turtles from being confused by bright lights shining on a beach as they prepare to move away from the beach after hatching. Baby sea turtles normally hatch around the full moon and use the moonlight shining on the water to navigate themselves back towards the sea. The new bollard light fixtures have amber-colored bulbs as this is the colour that has the least effect on the turtles and will not interfere with this important process.
The biggest news for 2015 will be a new state-of-the-art 5,300 square foot spa and a new 2,745 square foot gym, due to open in March. The new gym will include a spacious exercise studio with latest fitness equipment and an outdoor yoga deck. Spa enthusiasts will enjoy six luxurious treatment rooms, a relaxation room, an outdoor shower, an outdoor spa pool (this will be coming later in 2015), male and female changing rooms each with their own steam room and products will include luxurious locally-made Caribbean Blue, manufactured by Natmed Saint Lucia.
How do you ensure that the hotel stands out from your competitors, and have you noticed any recent trends that have changed your product or service?
We are the only resort on the island to offer luxury villa-style accommodation within an all-inclusive resort environment, providing guests with the independence and privacy of a villa with the convenience of our many amenities on hand.
These include five restaurants, three bars, five swimming pools, water sports including sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and kayaking, tennis and children’s clubs.
We also pride ourselves on our warm, friendly and efficient customer service that is renowned across the island.
How has the hotel performed in the last year and what are your expectations for winter and moving into 2015?
We are pleased to see that booking numbers are up year on year. In particular, we have seen an increase in advanced booking numbers for 2015 which is great news. We are currently forging ahead of market share in St Lucia which I hope is something that continues into 2015.
What is the importance of the UK market to the hotel?
The UK market is extremely important and is our second largest market next to the US. We probably have more British guests than any other property on the island.
We have noticed an increase in booking of the larger Estate Villas from the UK, as they appreciate the space and privacy offered by this type of accommodation. The majority of our villa owners are also from the UK.
The UK tends to book much further ahead than other markets with the first six weeks of the year being the key booking period for British holidaymakers, with 40% of travellers booking during this period.
How are you working with travel agents in the UK to improve or maintain business?
We work very closely with our travel agent partners and take the time to nurture these very important relationships.
We recently introduced the Windjammer Specialist training programme for travel agents. This is an online training programme with nine short video modules to complete. On completion of the training, travel agents receive a certificate and a complimentary three-night, all inclusive stay at the resort allowing them to experience it first-hand.
We also attend key trade shows, ensuring we have a presence at these very important events on the travel trade calendar.