Seeing Samoa by design is a promise that new inbound travel agency, TravelEazi, intends to offer travellers to Samoa.
TravelEazi caters to all the needs of inbound travellers wishing to “design’ their perfect holiday in Samoa to suit their budget and preference. It also has an element of event planning and management for occasions such as weddings, birthdays and conferences.
It is the brainchild of local business woman, Sheree Stanley, who launched her business last week after taking on her first big client Clem Wetzell, who also happens to be her big brother.
Wanting to ensure that his party of 124 guests enjoyed the best that Samoa could offer in terms of luxury – Mr. Wetzell reached out earlier in the year to his power networker sister, Sheree, about planning two side events for his six-day 70th birthday bash in Samoa.
Putting TravelEazi’s promise into practice, Sheree got stuck into designing their inbound travel tour.
“When Clem asked me to plan two side events for his 124 guest list, of course I said yes and I would do it in the best way I can,” Sheree said.
“By request of some of the guests who wanted to see the upmarket bars in Samoa as well as the experience of riding wooden buses, I organised with the local bus company to transport the guests on a ‘bar crawl’ to Sails, The Edge on the Marina and onto Taumeasina. They loved it and said how impressed they were with the service, the food – everything.”
“The other event took them out into the South coast (again on the bus) and they found To Sua absolutely fascinating, stopping off at Aga Reef resort for cocktails, canapés and a look around. They were very intrigued with the setting of Aga Reef and they loved Saletoga Sands where they ended with a scrumptious barbeque and a cultural show.”
Planning for a large group may have seemed daunting for any ordinary person but Sheree relished the challenge and what made it even easier for her was that it wasn’t her first gig.
Event planning was a pastime that Sheree enjoyed long before she made it official having designed side tours for large groups inbound for Samoa before.
In the last 10 years, she had organised side events and made travel arrangements for friends and family who came over in big groups to Samoa for special occasions.
But it wasn’t until a year ago Sheree found herself lying on a hospital bed in New Zealand (post-knee operation) that she got to thinking seriously about turning it into a business.
“From my hospital bed, I was organizing my cousin Joe’s 60th birthday party where he wanted to bring over 60 people to celebrate his birthday at Saletoga. From my phone, I was organizing all the rental cars, hotel accommodation, the music band. I had also helped organize my brother Clem’s 60th birthday about 10 years ago. Both my brother Clem and cousin Joe were sitting by my bedside as I am organizing for Joe and I turned to them both and said that next time I do this I was going to charge them,” she laughs.
From there, her family encouraged her to pursue the idea and make money out of something she loved doing and was good at.
So far, Sheree has been happy with the response from the tourism industry saying that to ensure that she designed the perfect holiday event, all tourism operators played their part.
“I’ve been happy with the response from the resorts, from the bus owners and different groups because they have all come to the party and things are just falling into place and I hope it continues that way.”
TravelEazi caters to all markets, according to Sheree.
Initially her target market were the travellers with the large disposable incomes she catered to prior to officially starting her business. However having worked well with those in the Samoa Tourism Industry she realizes that she can assist all types of travellers.
“At the moment I got a large group who are spending big money. It’s not a problem to them because they want a good time that’s why I’m ensuring that I keep my part of the bargain which is making sure they enjoy what I have organized for them.
“But I can do any market because we have lots of other travelers and there are people on a budget and I can help them too. I feel like there is a way to get the most out of their dollar.”
This year, Sheree will be celebrating 40 years of being in business having run a longtime successful hair and beauty salon in Moto’otua.
While she still has energy to pursue her ambitions, Sheree is looking at making her new venture work around her as she intends to get off the floor as a hairdresser and beautician.
“They say if you want something done – ask a busy person,” Sheree smiles. “ I somehow manage to do it – thank goodness for the internet. I like to keep busy.
“After 40 years of running my businesses I feel it’s time to get off the floor as my bones have started to ache and I have had a knee replacement. I need to ease off being on feet all the time. But I still got lots energy to do lots of other things.”
Helping travellers to Samoa create the holiday itinerary that suits their lifestyle and preferences is the name of the game for Sheree and she is looking forward to a future where she gets to tap into her other talents and play a part in growing our tourism industry in Samoa.
“This is exciting and I’m going to start off small. I’m taking small steps because I’m learning as I go, I didn’t even know what to charge for these services and I’ve had to ask around and do my own calculations. I’m hoping that this will be something that I can enjoy in my retirement from the corner of my salon with my laptop.”