By Alexander Britell
She’s worked for hotels, airlines and as a travel agent for almost three decades. Now, Caribbean travel expert Suzy Trott is becoming a voice for the Caribbean tourism industry in Europe with her newest venture, SilvaLining. The company represents Caribbean hotels that “need a voice in European markets,” offering everything from building relationships to acting as a hotel’s full-fledged ambassador in the European market. To learn more, Caribbean Journal caught up with Trott to talk about her career in the travel industry and her plans for SilvaLining.
How did you start in the travel industry?
I started as a Travel agent 29 years ago – my ‘Saturday’ job was stacking brochures in the stock room – dreaming of visiting all the amazing destinations. It was at that point I knew I had to work in travel although my first fam trip was to Malta and I got run over by a horse and cart in Valletta during market day!
What is SilvaLining?
An innovative, relationship-based Hotel Representation Company. SilvaLining is for hotels that need a voice in the European markets, essentially becoming the hotel’s ambassador in Europe. SilvaLining prides itself on relationships with key tour operators throughout Europe.
Why did you start SilvaLining?
Having worked in Hotel Representation for 10 years, I saw a gap in the market, for a real need by hoteliers to leverage demand in the European market. SilvaLining brings all the necessary relationships together to create a concise and consistent business service – which accelerates delivering outstanding sales.
How has hotel marketing changed in recent years? Particularly for Caribbean clients?
In this digital age – we all spend more time on our mobiles, tablets and laptops, demanding immediacy. The challenge for hotels is to connect with customers through all these mediums in real time and create campaigns that work across social media and display advertising. Thanks to the Tour Operators, OTAs and technology generally, today’s consumers are more sophisticated and better educated than they were a decade ago. In the past, the only travelers who really understood the differences among brands were frequent business travelers. Now, with online ratings and ever more international travel, consumers can research and understand their hotel options – immediately. Increasingly, they are looking for a sense of local character especially when visiting the Caribbean. This trend has begun to re-define hotels away from the brand uniformity of the past, with location, not brand being the focus of the hotel experience.
You’ve worked across the travel industry – what are some of the biggest trends in the Caribbean right now?
With the world getting more crowded by the day, holidaying in a sustainable manner is becoming more important. We need to respect local culture, ensuring all communities benefit from tourism AND minimize its impacts on the environment.
Where are your favorite spots in the Caribbean?
They are all so very different. For instance, I fell in love with Grenada’s charm and warmth years ago, Jamaica for the incredible people, The Bahamas is simply stunning with the clearest waters I have ever seen. Whilst Saint Lucia really does ‘Inspire’ you and Barbados you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean on the very glamorous West Coast. And that’s just a snapshot of an incredibly beautiful region – that everyone MUST visit!
What’s next for the company?
To continue to grow by bringing new hotel groups into the European Market, further expand our unique business relationships and keep delivering outstanding results for our SilvaLining clients.