Out Island Charters is a family owned and operated tour company based in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. Since 1987, they have offered island and sea tours from snorkelling to sightseeing tours aboard powerboats, catamarans, and buses. Out Island Charters caters to some of the biggest international cruise lines such as Costa, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises to name a few, and they see multitudes of foreign language visitors everyday.
Double the Nation, Double the Adventure
St. Maarten, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is a major tourist destination and attracts visitors from every corner of the world. St. Maarten is the smallest land mass in the world to belong to two different nations – the Netherlands and France. The French side covers two thirds of the island and is governed by France. However, the Dutch side, while still a part of the Netherlands, has been independent since October 10, 2010.
It is home to beaches, lagoons, a mountain range, luxury hotels, five star hotels, and much more. Out Island Charters began as a company that wanted to showcase all of the amazing locales St. Maarten has to offer.
Looking to better serve island guests, Out Island Charters contacted AudioConexus to help them create a unique island tour to accommodate all of their multi-language cruisers.
“There’s a big turn right now for more foreign speaking people to be cruising through the Caribbean. We’re really trying to cater to that market and seemed like a great way to do it,” explains Eddie Parish, responsible for Operations.
AudioConexus installed TriggerPOINT GPS Commentary Systems on their busses and worked hand-in-hand with the team at Out Islands Charters to create engaging island entertainment, new professional audio commentary that is automatically played on bus routes throughout the island. As the first sightseeing business on St. Maarten to offer multi-language tours, Out Island Tours gained a competitive edge against the multitude of tourism operators present in St. Maarten.
“Originally we were the only company on St. Maarten with this kind of multi-language experience. Since then only one other company has done it but its being done on a much smaller scale. We’re still the only people doing this on a large scale which really sets us apart and is a really good selling point with the cruise lines.”
On their Explorer Tour, guests board buses and depart from the cruise terminal for a one hour tour of St. Maarten. The bus stops in Marigot, the capital of French St. Maarten, where tourists have an hour to shop in the numerous boutiques, bakeries, and cafes.
Afterwards, visitors board Out Island Charters’ double decker catamaran for a relaxing cruise around the island and then board a bus back to their ship while listening to a tour about the Dutch side of St. Maarten.
This tour is currently offered in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Eddie and his team hope to add Mandarin soon. They see a quickly growing Asian market in the cruise industry.
Cruising on Bus Tours the Multilingual Way
95% of Out Island Charters’ clientele is cruise ships. St. Maarten has a large cruise terminal called Port St. Maarten, which is a very common stop on many major cruise lines. The Port can accommodate up to 6 cruise ships at a time, meaning St. Maarten can see up to 15,000 visitors a day in its peak season!
“Just our first year in doing it with MSC and Costa, it went from a tour that would cancel sometimes due to low participation to selling out almost every call that they were here. […] There’s a lot of foreign speaking guides just because St. Maarten is such an international island […] and there’s a lot of people like this here. But, its tough when you have a bus full of 4 different languages on it. We are one of only two companies that has a GPS system that allows us to simultaneously be doing all these languages.”
Eddie recalls some of the feedback he’s received from returning visitors, “We had these people that had been on the tour 12 or 13 times and they came back again and heard our new audio tour and they loved it – it had been the best one they’d ever been on! It’s great when our customers know the product and they love that we’ve improved.”
Due to the success of their multi-language sightseeing tours, Out Island Charters has recently just launched a new tour called St. Maarten Hidden Treasures. This tour encompasses a power boat ride to Grand Case – a little town on the French side known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. Grand Case boasts of over 30 restaurants with high end French dinning and casual dinners of local style BBQ.
After spending a couple of hours in Grand Case, visitors board a bus back to their cruise ship listening to multilingual tours created by AudioConexus.
We’re so excited about all of the positive feedback for the new tours and the new tour expansion! Thank you Out Island Charters!