It is so much fun watching the world and our customers opening back up to travel. For me, it has created so many opportunities to find the perfect destination, and while it certainly keeps me busy, it’s a great problem to have! Some of these opportunities are short-term requests because customers are ready to make up for lost time (and if you’re wondering just how short “short-term” is, some trips are planned so quickly that the rooming list is due before the contract is even finalized!), but just as many customers are focused on the future and looking far ahead.
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Looking Forward to 2024
I love peeking into the future and providing options that may not be for next year’s trip but the year after… or the year after that! It’s like daydreaming for me, imagining the perfect group for a new opening or simply having something exciting to look forward to. And especially with the high demand for travel today, it’s best to stake a claim now not only for bragging rights but also for peace of mind.
The properties and destinations featured below are just a few that I’ve been following and are all scheduled to open in 2024. I am oozing with anticipation for their openings and can’t wait to share my daydreams with customers.
Abaco Islands, The Bahamas
An unparalleled reward and an opportunity to reset in style… private island style! Montage Cay, scheduled to open in late 2024, is a remote yet easily accessible paradise in the Abaco Islands. The Abacos are a string of barrier cays and islands sometimes referred to as the mini-Bahamas. They’re 110 miles north of Nassau and span 120 miles. Montage Cay is a private island located less than one mile from Marsh Harbour, The Bahamas’ third largest city with an airport offering direct flights to major American and European markets.
The exclusive experience begins upon arrival: After landing, guests are greeted by Montage staff who then transfer them to the harbor, which is a short 10-minute drive away. From here, they’ll step onto the private Montage boat for a short launch through the turquoise waters to the 53-acre private island resort where 50 sophisticated ocean-view suites await. Each suite includes luxury amenities such as plunge pools, outdoor showers, and more. Private island plus Montage means barefoot luxury at its finest!
What to do, you ask? This stunning, unspoiled island in the Caribbean is fringed with seven white-sand beaches, a 46-slip marina, a variety of pools, and the signature Spa Montage. Guests can enjoy water sports or explore coral reefs, and for those bringing along families, the Paintbox children’s program is available. Many other islands in the Abacos are easily accessible for fun excursions, including golf. To offer something so private and exclusive while being only minutes from shopping and dining is like a dream come true. The ultimate reward for any incentive winner!
Johns Island, South Carolina
The Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection
I’m now bouncing to another string of islands: the Charleston Sea Islands along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina. From the very first time I heard about The Dunlin, Auberge Resorts Collection, my imagination was fueled. This Lowcountry destination is just 20 miles from Charleston on the banks of the Kiawah River and is scheduled to open in early 2024. The 2,000-acre resort will feature 72 cottage-style guest rooms and suites and 19 residential-style villas on 20 miles of waterfront land.
Coastal incentives are always popular, and it is incredibly exciting to have a new option to offer. This island has beautiful marshes, pristine beaches, and live oak trees along with 20 miles of nature trails; the natural beauty sounds truly unparalleled. There is also a 100-acre working farm on the property, allowing for farm-to-table dining and experiences in the truest sense of the term. If guests are looking for a break from the outdoors, they can enjoy relaxing treatments from the full-service spa.
I so look forward to seeing groups soak up every minute of the simple pleasures of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. With an abundance of sun and stars, waves and sand, natural beauty and history, all wrapped up in a five-star resort with delectable cuisine, I anticipate this will be a very sought-after resort for incentives.
Transcend River Cruises
Cruises may have gotten a bad rap at the start of the pandemic, but their diligent commitment to passengers’ health and safety means they’re making a comeback. In July, it was announced that the CDC will no longer collect COVID reports from the cruise industry due to the continued, successful, and safe operations of ships worldwide. 100% of cruise lines’ ships are back in the water with more than 30 new ships setting sail since 2020 and over 70 more still to launch, meaning there will be more options than ever before. This is great news for the cruise industry and for our cruise-loving (or soon-to-be-cruise-loving) customers.
When you think of cruises, you may think of huge ships sailing the ocean or sea, but river cruises are extremely popular, especially for incentive groups, because they’re more intimate and the itineraries more customizable. Transcend River Cruises is the perfect example. Launching in 2024, the charter-only cruise line offers tailor-made trips on the Rhine and Danube Rivers, and every aspect of the cruise is customizable.
You choose the number of attendees (either 60 cabins or 30 suites for either 120 or 60 guests), the number of nights, and even what ports you visit. From onboard activities and shore excursions to wellness activities and dining options, there’s no one-size-fits-most; everything is fully bespoke. And of course, the ships themselves are sustainable and luxurious, providing an elevated experience no matter where you choose to go. We so look forward to working with you to handcraft the perfect course.
Mary Enke, CIS
Sr. Destination & Experience Design Lead
Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Inc.