Member spotlight: Graeme Saunders, Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Susie HarwoodBlog

Meet Graeme Saunders, Groups and Mice Manager for Sandals & Beaches Resorts. Saunders has had a varied career, including stints as a butcher and estate agent, before moving into the travel sector. He spent 8.5 years at British Airways in various roles in cargo, corporate and leisure sales, followed by a short stint with Emirates on the leisure side. “I came to work for Sandals, met my partner in crime Paul Tidy, and the rest as they say is history.”

The elevator pitch…

We have taken Sandals & Beaches Resorts from an unknown quantity within the incentive world to a multi-award-winning brand and grown over the past eight years from a standing start to a multi-million-dollar business.

It’s a unique role as we are a business within a business so manage all facets including sales, marketing, PR, strategy planning, reporting and managing bookings. I also work closely with three other industry professionals to help raise funds for different charities via our events talent competition Events R Talented

What’s new?

Paul and I are extremely chuffed to have retained the Gold Award for Best Overseas Resort at the 2021 M&IT Awards for Sandals Royal Barbados. Sandals & Beaches have been busy during the pandemic with new resorts purchased in Jamaica along with St Vincent and the Grenadines, which will all hopefully be going on sale in the not-too-distant future. We also have a brand-new resort that has just gone on sale in Curacao, which is simply spectacular and will take the brand to a whole new level.  We cannot wait to welcome incentive groups to this resort from April 2022.  

Most memorable moment

My most memorable moment in the business was on a FAM trip to St Lucia. It culminated with us taking the group to Hotel Chocolate and after learning to make chocolate, we went into the bar that overlooked the Pitons – a world heritage site – and sipped chocolate flavoured cocktails as the sun was setting. Of all the wonderful places I’ve visited and experiences I’ve had, this to me was the most memorable as I was with a fantastic group of people in the most idyllic setting.

Dream incentive

I think after the last 18 months and everyone being starved of travel, any incentive would be a dream incentive. I have just got back from a little holiday to Barbados, and I can safely say that it was one of the best trips I have been on. It has really made me appreciate travel, the sun, the sand and the things that we always took for granted previously.

Sun or snow?

Sun – I do like the snow and have tried skiing, but I don’t think my knees would survive it!!

City break or country escape?

I love a good city break as I like exploring new destinations and things that keep me occupied.  

The bucket list

I have visited some wonderful destinations however there are two things that I would love to do, which are to see the Northern Lights and to visit Antarctica