As director of sales and marketing for the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, Dan McCarron draws on his nearly two decades of experience to lead the resort’s sales and marketing team. McCarron most recently served as Marriott’s northeast market account leader, managing a team of more than 50 senior leaders and account executives that generated annual revenues of $900 million.
What are your duties and responsibilities as director of sales and marketing at the Sawgrass Marriott?
My primary responsibilities are to share with convention customers and families looking to book their next vacation the details of the fantastic destination of Ponte Vedra Beach while highlighting the hotel’s expansive renovation. We do that by marketing, advertising, working with online channels and of course, an aggressive and direct sales effort. This effort encompasses boasting about the resort’s eight award-winning culinary experiences, such as 619 Ocean View – Ponte Vedra’s only restaurant on the beach that is open to the public – and Cabana Beach Club membership opportunities. We are diligently working to share the history of this luxuriously designed hotel so that travelers can enjoy the daily “resort life” that we take advantage of daily as residents.
What is a typical day like for you and your staff?
The wonderful part about a large hotel with so many different facets – from the Cabana Beach Club and beachfront dining to world-class golf with privileged access to the adjoining TPC® Sawgrass, a 25,000-foot spa with 19 relaxing treatment rooms and 61,000 square feet of meeting space – is that no two days are the same! I could be working on the launch of our newly created “Butler Serviced Wing,” the Sawgrass Reserve®, or helping my team design and coordinate the budding stages of a 1,200-person gala event. Each day brings unique opportunities to deliver fantastic experience for our customers that I truly enjoy being a part of helping to craft.
How do you position both the resort and Ponte Vedra Beach when reaching out to potential guests, conferences and trade groups?
We love sharing with potential groups all the “hidden gems” that comprise Ponte Vedra Beach: The fantastic beaches, world-class shopping, incredible culinary experiences and the genuinely warm people. It’s important to note that this destination is more than world-class golf – guests can go from beachside to greens in 10 minutes.
In your opinion, what sets the Sawgrass Marriott apart from other Florida resorts?
The Sawgrass Marriott is so unique, particularly in having a dynamic but functional size, with most meeting space found on one floor able to host up to 1,200 people. The cornerstone of the difference is although the resort is expansive and accommodating to large groups of people, the footprint and methodical design of intimate spaces ensures a boutique-like atmosphere, where every guest can have special experiences and top-notch service. A guest can retreat to their private villa suite and have an intimate culinary experience in the comfort of their room, or be welcomed by groups of people in one of our five bars with incredible live music! In addition to the solution for every need, the privileged access to TPC® Sawgrass allows guests to book tee times through the Sawgrass Marriott golf shop – a prestigious advantage.
Many travelers of course know of Ponte Vedra’s famous golf courses. From your experience, what amenities and offerings are visitors surprised to find that our community offers?
The beautiful eco-tourism opportunities in our local state parks, the memorable restaurant experiences and sweeping beaches are all things that a visitor may not know about at first look. When they arrive, however,I think they are pleasantly surprised about the ease of access from the airport, the plethora of shopping options and beautiful appointment that is Ponte Vedra Beach.
The resort is nearing completion of a major two-year renovation project. What types of upgrades and new amenities can guests expect to find at the new Sawgrass Marriott?
We are thrilled at the expansive enhancements that are taking place across nearly the entire resort. From the moment you arrive, you will notice the new, modernized façade with the Juliet balconies removed, making the guest rooms more spacious while creating a sleek glass and ‘fawn brown’ painted exterior. The arrival with the picturesque lagoon and golf view is enhanced by the facelift of the on-site pools, adding in an event lawn and planting 4,700 new indigenous plants. The romantic scene at night is heightened with up and down lighting throughout the 63 acres, accentuating the beautifully draped Spanish moss on the resort’s 200-year-old oak trees. Although almost all of the restaurants have been renovated including Vernon’s and 619 Ocean View, the newly created American Gator Club is a big hit! But the most transformative space would be the guest rooms, with an approachably modern, residential feel. There are nods to the ocean throughout the design, and the rooms feature luxurious, textured fabrics, clean lines and sleek light fixtures.
You relocated to this area to join the Sawgrass Marriott team. What do you enjoy about living on the First Coast?
I have never lived outside the NYC metro area and the move to Ponte Vedra Beach has been a tremendous change – but so very welcomed! My wife, daughter and I are very much enjoying our weekly escapes to the beaches. But the people of Northeast Florida are what have made it special for us; welcoming and warm is the theme of the resort for a reason – because the people in this community define what other destinations can only hope to achieve.