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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 11:04 AM 

Playa's Froemming hails Jamaica expansion


Playa's Froemming hails Jamaica expansion
Kevin Froemming, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Playa Hotels & Resorts.

The announcement of Playa Hotels & Resorts’ business combination with Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited has been described by the company’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Kevin Froemming, as a ‘great step’ in its strategy for the Caribbean market.

The deal sees Playa take control of five all-inclusive resorts, including the 489-room Hilton Rose Hall, in addition to two oceanfront developable land sites on Jamaica’s North Coast. The proximity of one of these land sites to Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Froemming says, will allow Playa to significantly develop the property – with ‘rooms, a waterpark and more amenities’ currently slated.

The company is presently putting together its plans for the direction of its new properties, but Froemming was able to disclose that ‘one or two’ of the Jewels resorts may be moved to the Panama Jack brand – although Playa does not envisage significant disruption to the operation of any of these properties from renovation or refurbishment.

“The good news is that we’re going to be refreshing and remodelling over time,” Froemming emphasized to PAX. “We’re not going to close the resorts; they’re going to stay open. It’s going to be business as usual – our plan really is to do the things that we need to do without any disruption to the guests.”

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall has been earmarked for expansion as a result of Playa Resorts' business combination with Sagicor Group Jamaica.

A statement of intent

Froemming noted that the deal represented a clear indication of Playa’s intentions to continually strengthen in the Caribbean. “Our strategy is that we wanted to make sure that we had ample product in three core destinations,” he explained. “In Mexico, we clearly already have the product, and the next two markets [are] Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

“This executes the next step for us in having a large enough footprint in a core destination that gives us the product at the four-, five-, and five-star-plus level.”

Significant expansion in Jamaica has been on Playa’s radar for some time, Froemming said, with a range of factors contributing to its appeal. “We love Jamaica as a destination because of the stability of the government, the overall cost structure of the destination compared to other Caribbean destinations, the actual properties themselves, the locations and great beach product that they have, ticking all the boxes,” he commented.

“It takes us one step further in our goal of moving through the Caribbean and Mexico, and taking major positions in core destinations.”

Eyes on other markets

As for the company’s next steps? Froemming said that Playa is considering making further inroads in several other markets, with Aruba, Saint Lucia and Barbados among those he mentioned in addition to Dominican Republic. He also ruled out the prospect of that expansion being curtailed in the short term by development of its new properties.

“We continue to be actively pursuing deals,” he said. “We built this company to do both things very well: on the operating side, we’ve got very strong operations and business approach, and then on the development side, you’ve got the finance team ad the development team – both of those are fine.

“Our strategy [is] to continue to grow and look for major opportunities in key destinations.”

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