Ilandestiny: a one-stop shop
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Faced with periods of little business several times in the early years, Carol Miller's thought about giving up. But never the one to be a quitter, Miller roughed it and stuck with the task of building her own company, Ilandestiny Tours, located at Taj Mahal shopping plaza in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
Since then, the company has grown in terms of services offered and the number of persons employed.
"Ilandestiny Tours and Travel (ITT) Limited is a destination management company," Miller said. "We have two arms of Ilandestiny - one, which is a tour company, and the other is a travel agency that we added in recent times."
As a tour company, ITT was established in 2006.
"When we started, we had one seven-seater (vehicle). I was the driver; I worked at the tour desk; I worked in the office. The office was at my house at the time, and so I pretty much did it all," Miller stated.
Creating links with all the major hotels, ITT became ground handlers, or a one-stop shop, for tourists who booked their vacations through the company.
"You do their bookings into the hotels; you pick them up at the airport; you take them to the resort; then you sit at the resort with them at the tour desk and you book all the tours and you take them where they want to go."
One of the major challenges facing a new and small company in a competitive environment such as the tourism sector was that of surviving in the face of competition from the major and well-established players.
"When you are a single entity, the bigger players will always try to walk over you, so you have to know how to work, not just hard, but smart as well. I had to be able to do both," Miller disclosed.
Miller turned the drawback of being a small entity into an advantage for her fledgling company with one masterful stroke.
"We are a personalised company. We treat everybody as a VIP. We are able to deal with you on an individual and very personal basis. We can tailor-make your vacation to fit your pocket," she disclosed. "So you tell me how much you want to spend and what sort of vacation you're looking for, and I will make you that vacation that makes you comfortable and fits your pocket."