Despite only being roughly three months removed from its official introduction to the travel world, Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma is already looking to share space with an all-inclusive giant.
Kelly Poling, the newly-appointed CEO of Premier Worldwide Marketing, the exclusive sales and marketing representatives for Karisma Hotels & Resorts, told TravelPulse agents shouldn’t be surprised to see a Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma on every Caribbean island where a Sandals Resorts International hotel is located.
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“The way we look at it is there is no reason why there should be a single place that has a Sandals and not a Margaritaville,” she said. “Those are the kind of expansions we are looking at.”
In a recent interview with Poling, she told TravelPulse more about Margaritaville’s future plans and other Karisma news.
Margaritaville’s Aggressive Expansion Plans
The first Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma is expected to open just outside of Cancun this winter.
Along with the Cancun-area debut, initial roll-out plans for the brand include such destinations as the Dominican Republic, the Riviera Maya, which will be home to two Margaritaville Island Reserve by Karisma hotels, and Jamaica.
Having one in all locations where a Sandals is located, a possibility that Poling alluded to, would also mean expansions to the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua and Grenada.
Poling said the collection of resorts will be a mix of converted and new-build hotels. The Cancun-area hotel will be a conversion and the Dominican Republic hotel will be a new-build property located in the Cap Cana resort area. Poling also noted that there will be “new construction” in the Riviera Maya, but couldn’t confirm if both hotels will be new-builds.
“We spent a lot of time getting a lot of input from the guests to find out what the Margaritaville brand says to them,” she said. “We put a lot of due diligence into that. It’s very important that we elevate the all-inclusive experience for guests.”
Nickelodeons in Latin America
Karisma’s second Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts property will open in the Riviera Maya in 2020. This will follow the successful debut of Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, which opened in 2016.
“We have actually been talking a lot in the last week and we see a lot of opportunity,” said Poling, “starting with Mexico and expansions of the Nickelodeon product to Latin America.”
Poling told TravelPulse Colombia and Brazil are most likely to be the first Latin American countries that Nickelodeon will call home.
Although she didn’t give specifics names, she told us the brand will be located in major cities in both of those countries. In December, Armando “Mandy” Chomat, president of Premier Worldwide Marketing, told TravelPulse Cartagena, Colombia could very likely be that destination.
Karisma already has three properties in Colombia, including two in Cartagena, all in the form of the company’s Allure Hotels, which are all high-end, boutique, EP properties. Allure Bonbon, by Karisma and Allure Chocolat, are located in Cartagena, while Allure Cafe Mocawa is located in Armenia.
Poling’s New Position
Poling made a substantial and lasting impact during her past two years as executive vice president of marketing, where she elevated Karisma’s portfolio of brands, consistently exceeded the return of investment (ROI) goals, and developed innovative and tailored marketing campaigns.
As CEO of PWM, Poling seeks to steward Karisma’s market position to new heights, primarily leading the growth of the company’s partnerships with Viacom International Media Networks and Margaritaville Holdings, and across each of Karisma’s brands.
“Kelly is a natural and high-impact leader with a strong track record for driving results,” said Chomat. “She is committed and passionate, and I am confident she is an exceptional choice to further propel the organization.”
Poling returned the favor by giving credit to Chomat for his hand in swiftly developing her career.
“Mandy is one of the most exceptional leaders I’ve ever worked for in my life,” she said. “I could not have moved into this role without learning from his tutorials.”
So, is there any added pressure as the new CEO to sustain arguably Karisma’s most successful period ever?
“It’s actually the best-case scenario,” she said. “You have to choose. Either I’m walking into some turnaround situation or you are walking into an organization where everyone is humming and they are all happy to be there because there is still so much upside.
“Karisma really is a hotel company that has had exceptional growth and has outperformed itself every year since its inception.”