Retail Chatter #10

What does the luxurious expertise within the Caribbean really feel like for immediately’s consumer?

As a luxurious chief, my mission of discovering new ways to interact the customer and supply nice experiences is at all times high of thoughts. This time I discovered myself looking for it in the Caribbean.

On a recent trip to Barbados, I received to expertise first hand what luxurious service seems like on this island. Most international locations supply VIP providers upon arrival, I was curious to see if this was true for Barbados. The minute I touched down on the gate, I used to be ushered off the airplane by a greeter. She escorted me to a ready area, and navigated by means of customs and the retrieval of my luggage.

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Every aspect of this experience was great – from the timing of getting off the airplane to conversing with her in regards to the style business. Throughout our dialog, it was evident that she did her research that this business is my trade. Her widespread threads had been quite impressive.

I was supplied freshly minimize coconut water. And, boy, did I enjoy drinking it whereas sitting in the consolation of the outdoor space at the airport individuals watching and taking within the tropical Island breeze. No doubt this was strategically completed so as to coordinate the timing of the driver’s curbside arrival with out missing a beat…and so they succeeded.

This expertise did not surprise me in the least; particularly figuring out that one of the primary drivers of the economy within the Caribbean is the service business, notably tourism. As a matter of reality, it accounts for 3 quarters of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Barbados, with numbers of $349 Million spent in this space final yr alone. Think about how this yr will finish because the luxury actual property market is on an uptick.

This is evident in different Caribbean Islands. Tourism on the island of Antigua is the largest sector of this nation’s financial system, using about three-quarters of the work force. Antigua carries the torch within the resort business with resorts like Jumby Bay, which is one in every of six five-star hotels in the world. Nonetheless, an absence of designer brands and luxurious purchasing is a missed opportunity, especially as it holds one of the Caribbean’s highest GDP, at $23,000.

In Jamaica the service sector contributes to round 70% of GDP and tourism employs one out of every ten staff. Whereas the Bahamas service sector has seen steady progress over the past decade, which contributed to the motion of individuals from fishing and farming villages, to business centers resembling: New Providence Island, Grand Bahamas and Great Abaco, according to Euro monitor. This population shift has again proved that the island’s financial dependence is on the service industry.

As well as, the competition within the luxurious service market is becoming extra intense between tourism-driven nations in the Caribbean and people with high-income family competing with other low-price regional destinations like Jamaica, where funding in luxurious tourism is more and more growing steady.

As I continued my journey in Barbados to seek out great luxurious service, I entered the attractive indoor/out of doors middle known as Limegrove. Limegrove is house to many designer outlets, comparable to Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Cartier, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors. I have been listening to about this center for the past few years, however, on this sizzling Monday in August, I used to be on a mission to discover distinctive service and luxury experiences for myself. I couldn’t help however notice some of the consumers carrying the newest Louis Vuitton non-logo handbag, Celine, or Hermes Birkin baggage, however carrying Tory Burch flats or fancy sneakers on their ft.

Navigating from retailer to retailer, I found a standard world retail problem: some sales associates are extra pleasant and fascinating, whereas others carried on in conversation as though I used to be invisible. I had the pleasure of assembly the owner of Limegrove and watched him as he walked the corridors of this prestigious center. He stopped and mentioned hi there to everybody he encountered from staff to customers. His actions made me feel as if I was an invited visitor who had entered his dwelling.

The Limegrove Centre can also be house to a boutique theater geared up with desk service, allowing company to order meals, drink and champagne with one touch of a button. This kind of luxury leisure places Limegrove within the exceptional service category.

I was equally impressed with the expertise at two local luxury resorts. From the time of arrival to departure, the Sandy Lane Hotel staff acted as if that they had known me for many years. The warm, friendly, and seasoned employees at the Coral Reef Resort also made for a grand experience.

Domestic and international investors boast concerning the service industry within the Caribbean, so let’s not neglect that these countries are all responsibility free, which also provides to the patron procuring expertise. Crystal Courtroom shops in Nassau, Bahamas, has become a vacation spot for luxury shoppers in search of timepieces from brands like Bulgari, Cartier, and Rolex, in addition to, accessories from Ferragamo, Versace and Gucci.

The common thread for a retailer, hotelier or restaurant is great service and expertise; therefore, in the Caribbean, the challenge is preserving the core values in step with its worldwide counterparts. This is especially necessary for luxury retail, as most international manufacturers in the Caribbean are franchisees.

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