by Joe Pike
Last updated: 4:24 PM ET, Wed August 7, 2019
Several travel experts reached out to TravelPulse Wednesday morning to announce that the Apple Leisure Group (ALG) and Palace Resorts have cut ties with one another.
One of the many agents informed by the decision, Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations, Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, told us that ALG will no longer be carrying Palace Resorts' products, which includes the popular Le Blanc Spa Resorts, in its distribution channel.
ALG's distribution channel also includes tour operators, Travel Impressions (TI), Funjet Vacations, Apple Vacations, United Vacations, Blue Sky Vacations and Southwest Vacations.
"This doesn't come as a shock as we have seen several hotel brands that are located in Mexico and the Caribbean opt to part ways with ALG," said Doncsecz, "because ALG also operates AMResorts, which are direct competitors of Palace Resorts in every location where a Palace or a Le Blanc is located."
Doncsecz told TravelPulse that the move, while it can be a potential disruptor for travel experts, made sense from a business standpoint.
"It makes sense that they would not want their pricing, availability and promotions being shared willingly, and far in advance to a direct competitor who is also operating a distribution channel," said Doncsecz.
Doncsecz said Palace has been developing a robust booking engine and groups platform for direct business and travel advisors who prefer to use a tour operator can still use Delta Vacations, Classic Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Vacation Express, American Airlines Vacations and GOGO Worldwide Vacations.
"As a platinum agency with Palace, VIP doesn't view this as a negative and will continue to grow our sales with Palace/Le Blanc Resorts," she said.
ALG confirmed the news with TravelPulse with the following statement:
"On August 5, we were informed by Palace Resorts that they will no longer be working with Apple Leisure Group. We have valued the Palace Resorts relationship for over 25 years. While disappointed in their decision, we respect it and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors."
Ray Snisky, chief commercial officer for Apple Leisure Group Vacations, however, did not confirm Doncsecz's theory that this was an AMResorts-related issue.
"Occasionally, our model can cause angst or uncertainty with a supplier because it is very unique," he said. "We overcome that with effective communication, strategic alignment and collaborative production.
"The reality, which has been shared many times previously, is that the great majority of all of the business of the ALG vacation brands goes to hotel partners outside of AMResorts. That always has been, and remains true today."
Jack Benoff, owner of Vacationeez, an agency based in the Philadelphia area, told TravelPulse the decision doesn't affect the amount of respect he has for both entities.
"I was called by TI a few hours ago to let me know," he said. "I also spoke to someone at Palace. We are 'Best of the Best' with TI and like to work with them, and will continue to support them, but at the same time, we also are big supporters of Palace.
"We look forward to working directly with Palace in the future to continue to build our relationship. The Palace team has been very helpful in the past in growing our business with them and I am sure they will continue to be in the future."
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