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Sun 1 Oct 2006 12:00 AM

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Agents encouraged to book top-end accommodation

Travel agents can save time and make big bucks by booking top-end accommodation at luxury resorts, one of Dubai’s top travel marketing experts has claimed.

Christine Jabourian, managing partner of C & K Global Marketing LLC, the Middle East representative for Six Senses Resorts & Spas has urged agents to open their eyes to the commission-earning opportunities at the company’s Soneva properties, where room rates can hit the US $10,000 per night mark.

“Initially travel agents showed reluctance in promoting high-end villas valued at $5000 per night for the Jungle Reserve (at Soneva Fushi) and $10,000 per night for the Private Reserve (Soneva Gili),” she said.

“Interestingly, this is now changing and agencies are more receptive to the rates.

The revenue of 10% generated to the agency for a reserve booking is financially more viable than five or six regular holiday bookings, minus the stress.”

Jabourian’s goal is to work closely with the trade to improve product knowledge of the Soneva brand and to create tailor made itineraries for high-spend clientele.

There are currently two Soneva Resorts, both of which are located in the Maldives, but a third property, Soneva Kiri, is due to come online mid-2007, opening up more revenue-earning opportunities, said Jabourian.

Located at Koh Kood, an island east of Thailand, Soneva Kiri will comprise 46 pool villas along the beachfront and on the hillside, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

The size of each pool villa will range from 400m² to 770m², and some will feature their own private spas.

All villas will offer a personal butler service.

“The resort is generating a lot of interest from agencies that book top-end villas, aided by the fact that Thailand has always been a top tourist destination from this region,” said Jabourian.

“At Soneva Kiri too, the revenue earned by the agency will be very interesting, and we will be shortly introducing this resort to our travel partners during our annual travel trade seminar.”

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