Here at Sandals Resorts, we are in the business of love and romance; forces not exactly synonymous but married together like two sides of the same coin. Love is timeless, steady, consistent, like a bridge over water. Romance is ever-evolving, personalized, specific, like a hand-written note. If love is in the air, romance is in your hands, and at Sandals, that’s not a charge we take lightly.
The truth is, just as we enter new cultural eras of fashion, art, and media, we enter new eras of romance. Those who begrudge the passing of time and the introduction of new trends are destined to fall behind, and as the leaders in romance, we have no intention of standing frozen in time. Enter the Sandals Institute of Romance, a pioneer program and trend-house created in celebration of our 40th anniversary to spot the latest in modern romance, relationships, and intimacy. Backed by the Institute, Sandals Resorts is renewing its commitment as a leader in romantic travel, vowing to create more meaningful and authentic experiences for our guests in love.
The Sandals Institute of Romance will bring forward valued research in the romance space and ensure that travelers in love experience the best of what the world has to offer, starting in the Caribbean. Through bi-annual surveys, we will connect with traveling couples, honeymooners, and past guests to get real about romance. With your help, we’ll collect concrete research about what works and what doesn’t. What romantic experiences really make a difference in your love? How can we make every trip feel like a honeymoon, every kiss feel like the first, and every champagne toast sound like poetry? We want to hear from you, the travelers in love. In fact, we already have.
The Sandals Institute of Romance went out with its first survey with one goal in mind: to find a connection between the romance novels climbing best-sellers lists and real-life lovers. The findings were clear: romance novels have an impact on how women view their relationships. Among the results, more than half of American women surveyed (55%) wished their relationships mirrored those of the couples from their most beloved romance novels.
With this data in our hands and love on the brain, we forged a partnership with publishing house HarperCollins to identify the relevance of romance novels in modern relationships and ultimately bring romance from the page to reality.
Romance reading and vacation have long been a magnetic match, and of the more than 1,500 American women we surveyed between the ages 18-54, 49% reported that they prefer to read on vacation. Moreover, 81% said they read romance novels, with 45% saying they’ve increased their consumption of the genre over the last two years. Why is this? Women surveyed cited the comfort of happily ever after (44%), the flirty banter (36%), and steamy scenes (30%) as the primary reasons.
Once we knew what stood out on the page, it was time to examine the adaptation to reality. Data collected by the Sandals Institute of Romance outlined what women most often find lacking from their real-life relationships in comparison with romance novels – better communication (55%), spontaneous romantic gestures (54%), and a more satisfying sex life (34%).
Too often, our real-life love stories can’t seem to keep up with fiction, but we know one thing to be true: When love stops feeling like a fairytale, it can’t hurt to consult an author.
Meet Tessa Bailey, a New York Times best-selling author whose success has skyrocketed with the re-ignited popularity of the romance genre. She focuses on stories of loyal, lovable heroines, and “stubborn men” whose fictional love stories have sparked endless conversation in book clubs across the globe. Her newest novel, Hook, Line and Sinker, debuted on March 1st.
With one of the most romantic imaginations in print, the brilliant Tessa Bailey lent her mind to the Sandals Resorts team to help refresh romance in the Caribbean. In partnership with Avon Books, the romance imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, Tessa worked with us to develop an on-resort Romance Library at Sandals Grenada for rom-com loving guests, and even a giveaway to turn partners into #BookBaes.
Inspired by the fictional love on the pages of our favorite Tessa Bailey novels, we set out to give one couple a real romantic rendezvous—on us.
Through Sandals’ #BookBae Getaway Sweepstakes, one lucky couple will be selected to win a 4-day/3-night stay in a Love Nest Butler Suite® at any of 15 Sandals Resorts and a 30-minute virtual meet-and-greet with Bailey who will share her tips for having a vacation straight out of a storybook.
The romance that awaits our winning #BookBaes is sure to eclipse tales of fiction, because at Sandals, it’s real. A never-ending flow of crisp champagne, intimate fine dining moments, and some of the Caribbean’s most relaxing beaches await our winning couple. They are sure to return home from our all-inclusive resorts with a renewed romance, worthy of a best-sellers list.
We’re turning up the romance for all our guests, not just the #BookBae winners. Looking back at the Institute’s survey, 55% of respondents said reading romance novels makes them more likely to want to connect with their partner and 38% say reading romance novels have made them feel more fulfilled in their relationships. In fact, a quarter of women say they’ve gotten their partners to join them in reading romance novels – and to impressive results. Two-thirds of women whose partners have dabbled in the romance genre believe their partners look sexy or handsome while reading and 34% say it made them appear intellectual.
Now at Sandals Grenada, the initial Romance Library includes a selection from Bailey, as well as popular titles from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and authors Talia Hibbert, Olivia Dade and more.
Inspired by the data at hand and more (so much more!) to come from future surveys, Sandals guests can count on us to continue to expand our on-resort programming and offerings to reflect what our guests want out of their romantic vacations. You can look forward to innovative partnerships geared towards enhancing the guest experience, as well as expert relationship guidance for couples before, during, and after their vacation – all inspired by you, our beloved guests.
Rest assured, this is only the beginning. To learn more about the Sandals Institute of Romance and enter Sandals Resorts’ #BookBae Getaway Sweepstakes (through April 15th), visit https://www.sandals.com/bookbaegetaway/.