Sunday, January 15, 2006

Caribbean Marketing

I just got back from Aruba, on a "free" trip that's going to end up costing me dearly -- though that is a topic for another post. Although focused on the tourist trade, Aruba has not yet become as commercialized as many other sunny tourist desinations. The lack of marketing sophistication is charming in its own way.

For example: Aruba has a spectacular national park. But the park has no visitor center or gift shop -- only a small museum at the entrance in the park, in a private residence which is up for sale. For anyone with an entreprenurial streak and a desire for the island lifestyle, there's a prime business opportunity for you. If you're curious, the asking price is $250,000 U.S., but the park rangers thought that was overpriced for the local market, so you may be able to get the property for less.

The island has lots of gift shops, but it seemed that 90% of the merchandise was the same. And the prices were the same in the hotel zone as downtown. Clearly, the Arubans haven't learned the lesson of American hotels and airlines regarding convenience pricing.

Finally, you can take a jeep tour of the island where tourists are permitted to drive the jeeps -- with no check of their license or even having to give their name. This practice would drive (pardon the pun) American lawyers and insurance underswriters nuts.

In short, the island is small but beautiful. The climate is sunny and pleasant as one would expect, though always breezy. Aruba is a romantic destination to bring your loved one, but not as promising a place as other Caribbean and Mexican vacation spots to find love, as some of my single counterparts discovered. The natives are friendly, but not excessively so.


Terms: convenience pricing, Aruba marketing, Caribbean marketing

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