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Playa Hotels & Resorts Celebrates Top US and Canadian Travel Agents



Playa Hotels and Resorts recognized 100 of its top-producing travel agents at the company’s fourth annual Spotlight Awards this past week at the Hyatt Ziva & Zilara Capa Cana resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The 16 agencies and 15 travel advisors honored during a weekend of events from January 9 to 12 represent Playa’s most valuable brand ambassadors The company operates 21 all-inclusive properties in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic following the Hyatt Ziva & Zilara’s December opening.

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The US and Canadian-based Spotlight winners were celebrated Friday evening at a gala awards ceremony. Playa recognized its top sellers for their success with specific Playa brands, destinations and categories, including wedding sales. The agency experts were also hailed for their effectiveness at representing Playa’s brands via agency social media channels.

Spotlight agents generated more than $200 million in sales in 2019 said Kevin Froemming, the company’s chief commercial officer. “The winners have shown their sincere commitment to Playa Hotels & Resorts,” he said.

Several agencies and individual retailers received multiple honors, led by Filomena Punzo-Dunn of Travel Masters, presented with four awards by Playa officials. Beach Bum Vacations was cited as the top U.S. seller among its three awards, and Trip Guy Travel was cited as Playa’s top U.S. East Coast agency and as its “rising star” in the U.S. weddings and groups category.

VIP Vacations was recognized as the most-improved US agency as well as the social media-US award winner. “It is an honor to be recognized at Playa Resorts’ Spotlight Awards,” said Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations.

“[We] love working with hoteliers that recognize agents because their awards provide us with the credibility we need to show consumers why they should reserve their vacation with our company vs an OTA,” she said. “It allows us to feel confident highlighting their hotel on our website, through social media and in all of our marketing.”

“I am so honored to be recognized as a rising star for Playa Resorts as I believe in the relationship that my company has with Playa and the support we receive to be able to recommend their resorts to our guest,” said Susan Collins-Peavy, owner of Susan Peavey Travel and Playa’s Spotlight winner for U.S. rising star. “The extra training and fam trips really keeps my team up to date with their products. This award makes me so happy knowing that Susan Peavey Travel is recognized for our sales with Playa Resorts!”

2020 Playa Hotels & Resorts Spotlight Award Winners:

– Filomena Punzo-Dunn, Travel Masters (Top Seller Western Canada)

– Beach Bum Vacation (Top Seller Midwest US)

– Trip Guy Travel (Top Seller East Coast US)

– Vikas Malhotra, iTravel2000/Red Label Vacations (Top Seller Eastern Canada

– Destify (Top Mexico Seller US)

– Filomena Punzo-Dunn, Travel Masters (Top Mexico Seller Canada)

– Grace Bonaguro, Landmark Destination Weddings (Top Jamaica Seller US)

– Lois Barbour, TPI (Top Jamaica Seller Canada)

– Landmark Destination Weddings (Top Wedding Seller US)

– Christine Turner, (Top Wedding Seller Canada)

– Destination Weddings (Top Wedding Agency US)

– LUXE Destination Weddings (Top Wedding Agency Canada)

– VIP Vacations (Most Improved Agency US)

– The Travel Agent Next Door (Most Improved Agency Canada)

– VIP Vacations (Social Media Award US)

– Christine Turner, (Social Media Award Canada)

– Susan Peavey-Collins (Rising Star US)

– Jesse Eberts, Walnut Grove Cruise and Travel (Rising Star Canada)

– Trip Guy Travel (Rising Star Weddings & Groups US)

– Mike Babiak, Now Destination Weddings

– Cruises and Tours (Top Selling Home-Based Agency US)

– Travel Agent Next Door (Top Selling Home-Based Agency for Canada)

– Beach Bum Vacation (Top Seller US)

– Filomena Punzo-Dunn, Travel Masters (Top Seller Canada)

– Liberty Travel Montvale (Top Selling Multi-Location Agency for Individual Sales US)

– Flight Centre Canada (Top Selling Multi-Location Agency for Individual Sales Canada)

– Beach Bum Vacation (Top Selling Agency US)

– Red Label Vacations Retail (Top Selling Agency Canada)

– Barbara Vong, Wright Travel (Most Improved Agent USA)

– Lois Barbour, TPI (Most Improved Agent Canada)

– Love To Travel (Top Seller of Suite Categories USA)

– Cindy Gaudet, Fareconnect (Top Seller of Suite Categories Canada)

– Travel by Meribeth (Top Jewel Resorts Seller US)

– Lois Barbour, TPI (Top Jewel Resorts Seller Canada)

– Travel Smiths (Top Hyatt Ziva & Zilara Resorts Seller US)

– Filomena Punzo-Dunn, Travel Masters (Top Hyatt Ziva & Zilara Resorts Seller Canada)

– Drake Hiller ACE Travel (Ambassador Award USA)

– Christine Turner, (Ambassador Award Canada)

– Tracey Green (BDM Social Media Award US and Canada)

– Amanda Morris (BDM Highest Sales Growth US and Canada)

– Allison Farrell (BDM Rising Star US and Canada)

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Marriott Waives Cancellation Fees in Response to Outbreak



Marriott International has released a statement today regarding its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak that has been affecting the travel industry worldwide.

“We are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization’s statements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and following guidelines from these agencies and the local health departments,” the statement reads.

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The brand emphasizes that the “wellbeing of our guests and associates is of paramount importance.” Marriott hotels and resorts have been waiving cancellation fees for bookings through March 15, 2020, for guests with reservations in mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan.

In response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Asia and Europe, Marriott has begun to waive the cancellation fees for guests with reservations in South Korea, Japan and the Italian Lombardy and Veneto regions on Wednesday, February 26. Fees will be waived through March 15, 2020.

Marriott will also waive cancellation fees for guests in all aforementioned locations traveling outbound to other Marriott destinations globally for hotel stays through March 15, 2020.

There have been over 80,000 confirmed infections of the coronavirus worldwide. Over 70,000 cases have been confirmed in China, where the current strain is believed to have originated. Many cruises, flights and vacations to Asian countries have been canceled in response to the rapid spread of the virus.

Italy has recently become another focal point of the outbreak, with over 800 confirmed cases within a short timeframe.

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