Pearl Island Bahamas opened its doors to tourists and locals in June 2016, after being idle for a decade. Philipp Rebmann, the Marketing and Sales Manager for the company, spoke to me about the company and how they plan to lead the way for island excursions in the Bahamas.
Before the island came to be what it is today, it was developed by a local Bahamian in 1993 and was known as Spruce Cay up until 2006. After 2006, the island ceased its operations for 10 years until the summer of 2015 when Pearl Investment Management Group Limited was formed.
The group’s managing partner decided to rebuild the island with a vision to create a unique Caribbean getaway, a dream island filled with Caribbean flair, art, culture and music for locals and visitors from all around the world, just minutes away from the capital of the Bahamas. Thus began the Pearl Island Bahamas project.
“Since then, we have developed the island by renovating the main structures including our one of a kind lighthouse and three bars. We also completely landscaped the island and created a second beach. Finally, on June 3rd we opened the island to the public.”
A lot of investment was also channeled into building the island’s very own reverse osmosis system and solar power system. It is set to become a completely green island soon, the only one in the Bahamas so far!
You can catch up on the entire journey by checking out their pictures on their Facebook page.
Standing out in the local tourism industry
Pearl Island is the newest island experience and closest commercial island to Nassau and its surrounding islands, offering daily excursions and a variety of island experiences.
“When approaching the island, the first thing you notice is our spectacular lighthouse, one of the island’s most captivating features. We offer exclusive overnight stays at the lighthouse where in every room, you can enjoy a panoramic ocean-view with endless views of the crystal-clear Bahamian waters.”
On the island, guests have the opportunity to enjoy all day beach access at any of the island’s two beaches or simply relax in the swimming pool. Pearl Island also has its own protected coral reef just feet away from the island. Daily snorkel tours are offered where guests can discover the incredible marine life that inhabits the waters of the Bahamas. Additionally, guests can also rent water sports equipment such as a water trampoline, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
Professional photo service and on-island photographers are also available to capture the island experience for guests to bring home. All packages and photos are ready for guests in less than one hour, which distinguishes the company from many competitors.
We don’t have a big company behind us. We started this because we love the Bahamas, the culture, and the people. That’s what we want to show everyone who visits our island.
To ensure a truly authentic experience, the company only works with Bahamians and 100% Bahamian companies.
Challenges from the beginning
Despite Pearl Island’s apparent success, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the company.
“At the beginning we had some challenges with renovations and because of this our opening date was postponed four times. We also had issues getting to the island due to bad weather conditions, another reason why our opening was delayed. But that’s the challenge you face with an island, you can only access it by boat.”
Currently, the biggest challenge the team faces is building their reputation amongst locals. Since the Pearl Island only opened its doors in June, they have yet to establish themselves with locals on the area. They understand that word of mouth is a surefire way of getting customers to visit the island, but building that reputation is a challenge.
Plus, picking and choosing which partner to work with to further establish their reputation in the market remains another challenge.
“It is sometimes overwhelming as we have so many options. From cruise lines, to hotels, to local water sport providers, local tour operators and the local crowd including all the local companies in Nassau, it’s difficult to prioritise”
Relationship advice, business relationships that is
Pearl Island works closely with both local and international tour operators, local hotels, and our most important resellers - cruise lines.
Our goal is to build partnerships with all the big cruise lines that come to the port in Nassau. Right now, we have contracts with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise Line and Azamara Cruise Line, and are in discussions with all the other cruise lines that make port of calls at Nassau.
To ensure that all parties involved in the partnership grow together, Pearl Island gives out a commission to their resellers.
“We’ve also established a coupon system for small local businesses and local tour operators. The coupons are given to their guests traveling to Pearl Island. For every guest they bring to us after their tour, they get a commission as well.”
The importance of building a strong brand online
If you check out Pearl Island’s website, you’ll see that it is absolutely stunning. Great attention to detail was paid to the layout of the website, the colours and the fonts. This great emphasis on their online presence is testament to how much they believe that the internet is their greatest marketing tool.
“Everybody today does research online before booking a tour. That’s why it is so important to have a website which creates emotions with the right balance of information. If you create an emotion with your brand that’s the first step to being successful in the business.”
“Our website in combination with TrekkSoft and the social media channels help us to sell our activities. The booking process through the website is very easy with TrekkSoft. We value the flexibility and customisations TrekkSoft affords, allowing us to design a website and interface that is absolutely seamless. Customers can’t tell when they are forwarded to a separate platform to make their bookings.”
Growing with TrekkSoft
“We have been a customer with TrekkSoft since mid-March 2016. We chose TrekkSoft because we couldn’t find another software that provided the same value in terms of features and services.”
TrekkSoft’s best feature was the possibility to customise our booking page, the integrated payment gateway, and a quick and easy booking process for customers. We also wanted a system where we can integrate resellers and agents, and we found that with you guys.
“TrekkSoft has helped us a lot since not many tour operators in the Bahamas have a professional booking system, giving us a huge advantage over competitors. All our marketing activities lead back to our booking system as well. For us, this is one of the most important point of sales options and a lot of our customers take advantage of our online booking system. Additionally, it adds to our professionalism. We are still a small company but the effects of TrekkSoft are enormous.”
What did you think of the island and their marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.