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What we originally provided them....


Nature Island Travel & Concierge at Villa Vidal
Business Summary



Market Research

  • When on Dominica this past March-April 2015, I visited (under the guise of being a future guest) many proprietors island-wide who are providing accommodations – i.e. the competition.  I got a good feel for their property set ups, what they are providing (or not), their prices, etc., including extras (in some instances) which involve sightseeing arrangements, guides, scuba, meals, hiking, transportation and other related island interests. Some are doing an admirable job; others not so great. Rental prices were comparable to location, condition, and presentation and onsite and/or provided amenities. Some are comparably priced to Villa Vidal, most have seasonal rates as well.

  • After the site visits, I did a walk-thru of Villa Vidal from a paying guest’s perspective, asking myself as I went, if I were paying “X” hundreds of dollars per night, what would be my expectations and reactions to the house, environment, the amenities  provided, or not (or potentially).

  • Likewise, I did a thorough walk-thru from a manager’s perspective in regard to structure: what needs fixing, what might be added, how the environment might be improved to make a better or more lasting impression because the objectives are total guest satisfaction, repeat visits and word-of-mouth marketing. Guests need to have a phenomenal, stress-free stay that makes them want to share their experience with their friends (our potential new guests).

Marketing Plan


Current State:


Villa Vidal is currently being advertised through not only villavidaldominica.com, but also several “online booking” websites such as airbnb.com, homeaway.co.uk, holidayrentalsbooking.com and others. It appears that the efforts of these online booking sites is not producing desired results, as is evident in the low occupancy rate.


Some of the marketing tools we anticipate utilizing to improve occupancy rate include:  


  • Website: I am developing a website which is still in the draft stage but nearing completion; see: http://natureislandtravel.weebly.com  (this is the temporary address; when the site goes live it will be natureislandtravel.com) One of the items not yet added is info about the house.

  • Facebook: a business related Nature Island Travel Facebook page will be created and maintained – at some point I will consider placing ads in the FB ad feed.

  • Instagram: undoubtedly reaches more people worldwide more quickly than FBook. I will be setting up a business related Instagram account with the intent of associating it with as many travel hubs and individuals as possible; as well, I will also utilized my personal Instagram account which already has multiple connections to hubs and individuals many with travel interests. I will also entertain placing paid for ads on Instagram at some point.

  • Twitter: a business related account will be established. I am learning more about Twitter; which is becoming widely used means of social media marketing.

  • Word-of-Mouth: Over the past several months I have personally visited with several potential individuals and or groups who have expressed interest in visiting Dominica and or spreading the word of our services and opportunities. This includes:

o    In New York City, a prominent modeling photographer who has visited Dominica several times who also has a husband who is an avid fisherman and Wall Street business attorney (he has many associates who share his interests.)

o    In Kansas City, a well-connected sport fisherman associated with doctors and attorneys and a supportive former KC Chief who is a close friend.

o    In Maryland, an individual who is attempting to set up a business on Dominica that potentially will require his clients to come to the island; he has committed to recommending his guests our direction. (I’ve been communicating with and doing some work for this guy since meeting him on Dominica this past March.)

o    In Kansas, a well-connected professional hunting/fishing guide who is willing to promote the opportunity both personally and on his website to his guests.

o    On Dominica, I have a working relationship with an organization and a couple of businesses who have frequent overseas inquiries about places to stay; they have agreed to work with and recommend us.

  • Other:

o    Will reach out to outdoor / fishing TV programming personalities and other professional sport guides.

o    Will reach out to outdoor and travel writers

Proposed Guest Management Approach

There are 2 potential scenarios in handling the guests:


1.    Self-catered (a term used in Dominica):  lodging is billed either per person or group by the day at the agreed upon rate. Guests arrive and more or less take care of themselves, period.


2.    Customized Concierge (Nature Island Travel exclusive): lodging as agreed upon; then, prearranged, a la carte, planning for entire stay including a meal or 2 per day, activities, guides, transportation, etc.  Billing is per person including the agreed upon lodging rate and we take a more hands-on approach to guest care at all other points.

Other for consideration

  • Bed & Breakfast “type” scenario where different paying guests / couples occupy bedrooms and share the rest of the house.


  • Mothers-in-law quarters and or basement – rented as a stand-alone.\

Pilot – Jumpstarting the Process

  • I have already instigated an on-island opportunity with the New York photographer this past August by setting up a coastal boating excursion guided by Tony. It went well and we have maintained frequent contact since.  She is already talking up her experience with others who, at some point, will be visiting the island.

  • It seems reasonable that in the beginning, some individuals or couples be invited to stay at the house and be assisted / guided by me free of charge (they pay airfare, personal food expenses, extra-curricular costs, etc.) as a means of marketing, whereas they agree to promote the business / opportunity through their network, friends, etc.  As mentioned above, a notable outdoor personality might be a good candidate for this, or other well connected person. (Dominica is virtually off the radar, but offers immense adventure seeker opportunity. I’m firmly convinced that the Dominica’s Ministry of Tourism is seriously missing ideal target markets.) 

Items for Discussion

  • Updated house and grounds photos: One of the items not yet added to my new site is info about the house. We need to discuss this. It makes sense that it be included. Essentially, I envision nearly the same info that is appearing on the Villa Vidal site. However, the photos need to be updated as they don’t accurately represent the house anymore. (since Fathead’s time there)

  • Online Booking Sites: We need to figure out how to deal with the booking aspect of previous sites where you have advertised.  Currently, these sites do not reflect the concierge / customized “per person” approach contrary to simply just booking the house stand-alone. Consequently, we need to discuss how to handle the use of the online booking sites.

  • Billing: Current rates and services do not reflect the concierge service.  This will need to be addressed in the billing and payment information. As I am suggesting moving beyond just renting the house as is, clients will be dealing with me personally in arranging all aspects of their stay (lodging, transportation, activities, guides, etc.), I suggest that payments would funnel through me and then on to you per the agreed upon lodging cut.

  • Billing Rates and Lodging Expectations: Nature Island Travel and Villa Vidal management will need to mutually agree upon the rates for the two guest rental options presented earlier (see the Guest Management heading).

  • House and Grounds Maintenance & Guest Support: Obviously none of this works well without Tony intricately involved. I suggest that he needs to be paid a flat rate that reflects normal and unexpected services while guests are in the house as well as general overall maintenance. We can discuss how we jointly pay for his services. *(His personal guest involvement, outside of house responsibilities, in assisting with and or providing boating, fishing, hiking, driving, opportunities, etc. will be separately planned and negotiated between Tony and myself.)

  • Maid Services: prior to, during & after guest visits, to be arranged by Tony; cost to TBD


The dynamics of Dominica have been seriously altered with the passing of Tropical Storm Erika from multiple perspectives including: point to point accessibility, some notable tourist-friendly businesses, activities and common attractions, beaches, hiking trails, etc. Prior to the effects of the storm I was very familiar and comfortable with the aspects of many points of interest, their accessibility and other island opportunities per providing guests experiences and accurate information. The next time I am on island, I’ll immediately revisit and review the attraction points and personally communicate with my several points of contacts in better understanding how things have been altered, etc.


Proposed Launch Date


November / December 1, 2015:

o    Marketing kick-off & Pilot Invitations – website goes live plus other select social media projects;

o    Target and communicate with potential pilot guests


January / February, 2016:

o    Tentative Pilot Date



House Inventory & Review

*This is the list I provided H. My original list has a lot more on it. Figured this was good enough for him. Regina and I will address the other later and as we get to it.



General observations… (and suggestions)  -- not suggesting that all needs to be addressed and or considered at once but perhaps on a prioritized basis as is tactfully appropriate.


Key: Blue text– needs more immediate or initial attention 
       Black text Highlight – secondary attention



Tony’s observed list of needed house repairs

  • East patio - Large window

  • West room - window

  • Master bedroom Porch - Rotten outside Roof ceiling in

  • Top Floor - Tile floor in Bath to fix

  • Ground floor - large porch ceiling (is open) has leak coming from master bed room

  • Guttering – 80% joint Silicon rubber to stop leaking / drop pipe needed in one spot

  • Ceiling fans in bedrooms – need 3 (says guests are often very hot at night)


Greg’s observed / suggested list per Review



  • Ceiling fan – need one

  • Need new Fridge (white)

  • Need new Microwave to match stove and other appliance

  • Dishwasher, take it out or get a white one – never used

Kitchen Table area

  • Chairs, (6) need touched up – one or 2 are broken

  • Fan – ceiling – needs one


Dining Room / Family Room

  • Remove Rug– there is one under the table… very dirty & noticeably tattered

  • Fan (celling)  – one has broken light pull string

  • - Lamps / floor lamps in corner(s) for better ambiance

  • Table – fix broken chair

Living Room (large room)

  • - Couch, love seat, (need cleaned, one ripped)

  • - Rug in middle of floor … very dirty needs cleaned

  • - End tables (2) ok… need something on them, maybe lamps – very dim in here

  • - Lamps - table or floor – to improve the lighting

  • - Coffee table (1) matches end tables… Fathead broke the 2 pieces of glass on its top

  • Fans – floor or ceiling to help with circulation in here

Bathrooms … all 4 of them

  • - Curtains on windows to ensure privacy

  • Shower heads need repaired or replaced – streaming very low

  • Sinks – drainage is an issue in some


  • - Additional accent pieces

Stair Steps – both

  • Signage that warns to be VERY careful – (both are fall hazards for those not accustomed)

Laundry Room

  • - Washer  - maybe okay for now

  • Dryer – need one


  • - Beds &  mattress covers -- mattresses show a lot of bad staining & wear per Fathead use; likewise, mattress covers.


  • Fans – floor or ceiling needed

  • - Ensure tile in bathroom is fixed.

Office – Could be used as another bedroom, if so…

  • - Bed, needs one

  • - Curtains – the one hanging needs to be reconsidered

  • - Door – it’s glass, so needs a curtain too.

  • - Furniture – other bedroom furniture & lighting

Secondary Bedroom - off Living Room

  • Curtain – needs one for privacy

  • Fan – floor or ceiling

Master Bedroom

  • Bed is still tore up from Fathead – though repaired some, coming apart again

  • Fan ceiling fan – hums loudly – probably need floor fan in here too

  • - Floor or bedside lamp – for ambiance

Main Room Downstairs

  • - Other lighting

  • - Need Television

  • - Ceiling lights in basement do not have covers …bare bulbs only

South Downstairs

  • - Table lamps – need some

North Downstairs

  • Dressers need lots of work to be refinished

  • - Table lamps – need some

  • - Curtains – need some

  • Fan – floor or ceiling – gets very hot here

  • - Bed is seriously stained from Fathead’s kids

Overall Porches

  • On All Porches: Chairs, benches, etc – Greg has some ideas about this

  • Hammocks – need several: South America / Mayan / Columbian style only – they are more durable, comfortable and stable

Overall House

Wall Decoration throughout house – Greg has large selection of Dominica themed photos that can be enlarged



*(I think this is important...gives me and and me another place to stay in house without intruding on guests if it comes to it.)

For Consideration 

Privacy Partition, Basement Stairwell to include a door (bottom entry to stairs) between basement and main floor – so as the basement might be made more private when different sets of guests are occupying the main floor and basement at same time. I believe there is a tasteful, tactful, economic means of doing this; Tony & I discussed possible options when I was down there last April. 

*IF the mother’s in-laws quarters were ever to be used by guests this would also provide another option for Tony / you / me to stay in the house at the same time while continuing to provide privacy, via outside basement access entrance.