Source: Travel Pulse 

Playa Hotels & Resorts will open the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana resorts in Punta Cana in November and launch the Hilton La Romana family resort in December, making it clear the Dominican Republic’s recent challenges with safety and security haven’t affected the company’s confidence in the Caribbean country.

Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Playa Hotels & Resorts, directs the company’s sweeping Caribbean expansion, including its new and renovated Dominican Republic properties. We spoke recently with Froemming to learn more about the company’s strategy.

Playa is investing heavily in the Dominican Republic. What makes you confident about the country’s tourism future?

The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean. And while the Dominican Republic has built a large presence of all-inclusive resorts, it was missing the presence of global hospitality brands within the segment.

With the launch of Hilton La Romana and the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva complex in Cap Cana, we are bringing the quality, standards and service guests expect from the brands they trust.

What features will distinguish the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana from the Ziva/Zilara Resorts in Jamaica?

While both projects were done in partnership with our friends at Hyatt, the sister properties in Montego Bay were a renovation and expansion project with existing infrastructure. The resorts in Cap Cana are built from the ground up.

When we began concepting the Cap Cana resorts, we took a deep dive into the existing portfolio to identify what existing elements resonate with guests. [So] you can expect out-of-the-box fitness classes such as TRX fitness and Acquapole, which can be found at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, but you can also expect new concepts such as virtual reality games integrated into the teen zone.

We’re also taking our successful experiential dining options even further by adding Hindu cuisine served in a themed dining car replica inspired by the Orient Express.

How will the Playa brand qualities be reflected in the New Hilton La Romana Property?

The Playa formula for success is partnering with legendary hospitality brands such as Hilton and bringing it to fruition in the all-inclusive category. While our travel agent partners certainly recognize the Playa brand, consumer awareness is low and that is by design.

We want consumers to have the confidence of a Hilton experience when making their vacation decision. And our travel agent partners will recognize Playa’s guiding principles and philosophy.

How is Playa incorporating travel agents into its Dominican Republic expansion?

We’ve launched several agent-facing initiatives including luxury in-market events throughout the U.S. and Canada; a series of travel agent fams from now throughout the end of 2019; a coveted double point offer through AgentCASH Plus, Playa’s travel agent reward program; and a new consumer promotion throughout all five resorts in the region.

What is the profile of visitors to each of the resorts (Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Cap Cana and Hilton La Romana)?

From a sales and marketing perspective, La Romana is known for its sprawling layout and lush greenery, [and] attracts a more global audience due to the airlift into La Romana Airport, while Cap Cana is considered a hot spot due to ease of access from U.S. markets into Punta Cana International Airport.