“Island Outpost is about a feeling. A rush of discovery, joy of independence and bliss of authenticity.” Chris Blackwell
Established as some of the most serene and unique Caribbean destinations, The Island Outpost have recently added a touch of technology to their approach, with the re-launch of www.islandoutpost.com
and the soon to be implemented wireless technology in the Marlin resort, Miami.
The Island Outpost is an eclectic collection of twelve distinct boutique hotels, located in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Miami and Utah. So unique is the experience at these celebrated retreats, that they have attracted socialites, executives and celebrities from around the world, including the likes of Naomi Campbell and Harisson Ford.
Chris Blackwell, who has developed this project for eleven years, once stated: “Great hotels are places where you would want to live”. Island Outpost certainly captivates this sense of privacy and each property prides itself on having its own individual character and expression, with its own rhythm and beat.
In a recent interview, Blackwell revealed that following turbulent events in the travel industry, Island Outpost, which previously relied heavily on ‘word of mouth’, have realised the importance of online marketing and embarked upon the aggressive re-development of their own website in order to bring people up to date with their hotels and destinations.
Perhaps the most famous of the Island Outpost collection is the historic Goldeneye
. This infamous 15-acre Jamaican hideaway was once the home of Ian Fleming and it was here that he crafted 17 of his James Bond novels. The 3 bedroom house is surrounded by luxuriant gardens and forest-shaded villas overlooking the sea.
For a more idealistic experience, The Caves Hotel in Negril, Jamaica is an organic interpretation of romance. Designed by Greer-Ann and Bertram Saulter, each of its 10 handcrafted cottages is planted in a garden on the edge of the sea.
Strawberry Hill is a more modern-day classic—a mountainside retreat with harmonious proportions on a former coffee estate. Designed by Ann Hodges, its 12 airy cottages are based on 19th century buildings.
The possibilities offered by the Island Outpost properties are many. Guests can enjoy a candle-lit dinner inside a cave, or dive from a cliff’s edge into emerald blue waters. Several properties offer spa treatments to revitalise both mind and body. There are special wedding and honeymoon services for those looking for a romantic escape. Internet access is also available in many individual guest rooms within the properties, so business travellers can come down to relax, but at the same time have immediate access to the Internet.
The new website, which can be found at www.islandoutpost.com is a stylish and classy piece of work. It offers easier navigation, virtual tours, real time booking information, additional information on activities, an online photo-gallery for guests to submit their own holiday photos and share their personal experiences and much more.
Internet Travel News caught up with Diana Blake, Island Outpost’s newly appointed Sales and Marketing Director, at the CHA Marketplace, to find out about the new website:
“This is really about moving the product to the internet in an effort to reach the more internet savvy customers. To me this is kind of an infinity back to what James Bond was all about because he always had those cool gadgets and toys, so I see a connection”. She added. “We have married an old school philosophy of tourism along with the modern technology, showing customers what they want instantly with 360% virtual tours. With this technology available, I don’t think the customer will settle for anything less”.
“The technology of the internet has enabled us to wake people up to what is available to them. They were previously boxed in to what their travel agent told them, or what their friends said. Now they can find all the information they need at their fingertips.”
Diana revealed that she still finds that the internet is more of an informational tool, especially for customers who require a more personalised service, for example those planning to marry at one of the resorts. She commented: “Clients want to communicate with a person, so there is still a very high percentage of customers who will pick up the phone to make their booking. You can not get that same reaction from the internet as you can from a person”.
Whilst one can not currently book a wedding on the new website, research tells us that consumers are spending increasing amounts of money online. Jupiter Research forecasts that U.S. online retail sales will reach $65 billion in 2004, and will continue to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 17% through 2008 to top $117 billion. Maybe we are not so far away from online wedding bookings and perhaps even cyber-weddings! After all - you only live once!