When you have a frustrating experience with a product or service, it’s often the case that, in the heat of your exasperation, you exclaim loudly, “I could do better myself!”. When it came to booking a family holiday with four young children and parting with our hard-earned cash to treat ourselves to our annual indulgence of a pampering trip abroad, I was sick of the poor service and over-priced options on offer. Eventually I could take it no more and, after talking to friends about my vexation, realised that there was a genuine gap in the market for Simply Caribbean.
After more than a decade working in the City, I took the leap and set up my own travel business, to be built on outstanding customer service, fair prices and my determination to make effortless long haul, luxury holidays a reality for people like me and my family. Simply Caribbean was born.
Why the Caribbean? Firstly, my mother is from St Lucia so I have a genetic affinity for this beautiful region and its delightful people. Secondly, it’s the area of the world I knew best at the time, and I was determined that I would offer my clients the kind of personalised service and in-depth advice that can only come from knowing our destinations inside and out.
I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to plan and book the perfect family holiday. There are so many variables, from picking a destination which appeals to everyone, to finding the right accommodation at the right price, deciding on the best flight options and planning how you’re going to keep all the family amused while you’re there. And that’s before you’ve sorted out the practical stuff like visas, currency, transfers and the myriad of practicalities associated with family holidays. Simply Caribbean’s ethos is to be your personal holiday curator, guiding you through the choices and then leaving you to get on with the packing while we take care of everything else.
It’s a truth rarely admitted, but holidays can be very stressful. Hopefully once you get there you can relax and enjoy yourself, but the run-up is traditionally a time of pressurised decision-making and constant worry about whether or not you’re doing the right thing. When time off work and downtime with the family is such a rarity, and the financial outlay is perhaps your biggest annual expense, the stakes are high.
With Simply Caribbean we take out all the risk and worry thanks to our knowledge, experience and contacts. We personally know each resort or property we offer, having stayed in the vast majority of them. By asking you a few key questions we can quickly come up with a shortlist of options which we know you’ll love. Once you’ve decided where to stay you can leave everything to us, from flights and room selection to the small details like excursions, kids’ clubs and dining options. Sometimes we even have our clients contacting us from their resort if they have a last-minute request or need additional advice! We really are your ‘phone a friend’.
The fact that so many of our clients come back to us year after year means that we really are friends with many of them. We know them so well that we instinctively understand what they want from their next holiday and can anticipate their needs and preempt their requests. When I’m visiting new hotels and resorts I often draw up a mental list of the clients who are most likely to want to stay there so can ask the questions and research the options on their behalf even before they know about it!
The close relationships I have built up with my suppliers – whether hotels, resorts, villas, attractions or transfer companies – really benefits clients too, as I’ll often be able to secure exclusive offers or discounts which aren’t available to other travel consultants. Again, the better I know my clients, the more able I am to negotiate offers which will appeal to them. Truly a win-win situation.
Setting up Simply Caribbean was without doubt the best business decision I’ve ever made as there’s nothing more rewarding than helping make people’s holiday dreams come true!