Unique Resorts Draw Repeat Visitors
Many who have visited the Turks & Caicos Islands notice a distinct difference in how it “feels” to be experiencing this tropical Caribbean paradise. In many ways it is unlike any other Caribbean island as most are, but unlike some islands this is not by nature, culture or typography; it’s by design.
Years ago, when I started my consulting business advising destinations and hotels on sales and marketing strategies, I started my very first day back in April 2003 with three clients. One of them was the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board. At the time the destination was losing what we call in the business an “anchor property.” That’s one where the rates are really reasonable, the experience pretty good, and there is a lot of inventory (in this case over 200, which is a lot for Provo). The property was the Allegro Resort, Turks & Caicos. It was a budget all-inclusive, which is a type of resort virtually unheard of in the Turks & Caicos Islands. I advised the destination not be to negligent about replacing this important component of tourism. The response that came back to me was very interesting. The Minister of Tourism said that there are many islands in the Caribbean that build large resorts, many of which are all-inclusive, sell at a low price – packaged with charters or discounted scheduled air – to people who go on a vacation at a destination in their mind they may never return to again. Their philosophy, as they intentionally built their tourism product, was “we are different” and “our customer is different”, most importantly, “we want our relationship with visitors to be different”, than any other Caribbean island. Essentially, they want the relationship with the Turks & Caicos resorts to be different.
In the Turks & Caicos, many visitors come back, again and again. They tend to rent condos vs. booking a large brand chain (except of course for Beaches). They often book a car rental. By having a condo and their own car, they visit the supermarket, and maybe even the liquor store. They try to frequent the local pub to watch their favorite team compete in sports. The critical difference between a visitor to the Turks & Caicos Islands and other Caribbean destinations is (more often than not), they know they will be back and thus they treat the destination differently. Visitors tend to be cleaner, pick up after themselves and treat their accommodation with more respect. They also make an effort to create a personal relationship with locals they meet there. In many ways, they feel like a pseudo resident.
Of course a lot of people come because the bone fishing is one of the best places throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean, or because the coral reef is spectacular, boasting great diving and snorkeling, or because there is an abundance of pirate history due to the multiple island, inlet typography. Some come for the conch farm, the only in the world. History buffs come because they know John Glenn actually landed off the coast of Grand Turk. While others come for the prestige of being in a destination sometimes known to attract celebrities, but every island can stake some claim to that. No, most people come to Turks & Caicos for the beach, the warm weather, and the feeling like they are in a home away from home.
At The Meridian Club, visitors can get the ideal experience; a private island Caribbean resort, that just happens to also be a Turks & Caicos resort.