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Jamaica: Selling the Island VibeMay 1, 2006 By: Mark Rogers Home-Based Travel Agent
Island Outpost and Jamaica help virtual agents sell the resorts—and the island in general
Not all travelers to Jamaica are content to vacation behind the gates of an all-inclusive resort, and Island Outpost's diverse Jamaica properties give you the perfect alternative to sell. Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, owns the company. "We want to position ourselves as the coolest collection of boutique hotels in the Caribbean," says Jason Henzell, president of Island Outpost.
Goldeneye, on the north coast in Orcabessa, was the estate of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond. Four villas overlook the sea at this 15-acre hideaway, and one overlooks a cove. Jake's is one of the hippest and most community-conscious places in Jamaica. Located on Treasure Beach on the southern coast, Jake's attracts a bohemian crowd. The resort's 29 rooms are set on six acres of land. At Strawberry Hill in Irish Town in the Blue Mountains, guests enjoy sweeping mountain views with glimpses of the sea. The 12 cottages have handcrafted mahogany furniture and ceiling fans. The resort also has the Caribbean's only Aveda Concept Spa and a new inclusive plan. The Caves comprises 10 cliff-side, wood-and-stone cottages. Its volcanic cliffs are honeycombed with grottoes, one of which serves a romantic dinner with flowers and candles. No children under 16 are allowed.
Last year the company created a Travel Professional section for agents at www.islandoutpost.com, with information on brochures, specials, news and sales tools. You can book the resorts via Funjet Vacations, TransGlobal Vacations, Spirit Vacations, United Vacations and Vacations by Adventure Tours.
The island of Jamaica has also recognized the value of virtual agents, reaching out with a fam trip program. Home-based agents are "an important part of the distribution system," says Donnie Dawson, deputy regional director of the Jamaica Tourist Board in the U.S. "That's why we created a new concept in fam trips we call 'Meet us in Montego Bay.'" To participate, home-based agents buy their own airfare to Montego Bay and the Jamaica Tourist Board picks up expenses on the ground.
Dawson explains, "When agents pay their own airfare, they have an equity in the fam experience—that alone pre-qualifies them." The four-night program includes two nights in Montego Bay and a choice of two nights in Negril or Ocho Rios. The first fams were held in May and June, and were so successful that a second round will be held in the fall. Call 800-233-4582. Rates & Resources