By Laura Gelder – January 2020 – 5 minute read
With its pastel-coloured houses and pink beaches, Bermuda screams 'beach holiday', but agents who get to know its other USPs can reach a wider audience.
Why sell it
Say Bermuda and many people think ‘shorts’ or ‘triangle’ but the islands have many other unique selling points and can be a great switch-sell for clients interested in the Caribbean or Indian Ocean.
Many think Bermuda is an island in the Caribbean, but this British Overseas Territory actually sits hundreds of miles north and its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras in North Carolina – 665 miles away. Bermuda’s position gives it the advantage of a shorter flight time than the Caribbean – around seven hours.
Prestige is a specialist when it comes to Bermuda and has sold the destination for 30 years. Marketing Manager Nicky Shafe says it’s ‘a special place’. “It’s British with a twist,” she says. “Imagine Britain in the 50s, but with more soul. Everyone is so friendly and I always recommend visitors take a local bus because it’s the best way to soak up that atmosphere and meet the locals.”
Who to sell to
Bermuda’s main target market is couples over 40 and agents can specifically target those keen on watersports like diving, kayaking or paddle boarding and golf.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority likes to point out that there are more courses per square mile than anywhere else, with courses like Mid Ocean Club, Tucker’s Point Gold Club and Turtle Hill Gold Club ranking as fine as any courses in the world.
There's plenty inland for active couples - horse riding, hiking, exploring the dramatic stalactites and stalagmites of the Crystal Caves or bird watching. Bermuda will appeal to those looking for a laid-back barefoot escape but offers the chance to enjoy an upscale holiday thanks to a wealth of five-star hotels and attractions like celebrity Swedish/Ethiopian Chef Marcus Samuelsson's fine dining restaurant at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club resort.
Shafe says that the islands also have lots to offer families with bigger budgets. “Bermuda is a relatively short flight way, incredibly safe and has some good hotels for families, such as the Fairmont Southampton and our lead-in property Grotto Bay, which offer numerous activities for kids."
What to sell
Hamilton is the capital and a bustling harbour town with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and attractions such as the Botantical Gardens, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo and the Bermuda National Gallery.
Other popular places to visit include Dockyard, a former British Navy stronghold that is rich in maritime history and arts and crafts; Horseshoe Bay, with its crescent of pink sand; and former capital and historic town St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with lots of churches and local boutiques to browse. Active types can traverse the Railway Trail, a railroad-turned-pedestrian-path that sweeps the length of the 21-mile island chain.
There are many tour options in Bermuda. A Hidden Gems tour begins with a jungle hike, followed by dry cave explorations, cave swimming and cliff-jumping into the turquoise water, walking up to St. David’s Battery (one of Bermuda’s highest points), for sweeping island views and relaxing on the pink sand of a secluded Cooper’s Island beach.
Less conventional, a Haunted History Tour sees visitors walk the Town of St. George after dark. As one of the first settlements in the New World, its residents were involved in the American Revolution and the American Civil War and storytellers in period costumes guide groups of up to 25 people through the winding alleys and narrow lanes of the town, telling true tales and ghost stories from more than 400 years ago.
How to sell it
Although often referred to as one island, Bermuda actually consists of 181 islands with a total area of 20.6 square miles. Eight of the larger, populated islands are connected by bridges.
Bermuda has introduced electric cars, making it much easier to travel around and explore the islands in depth, and Shafe says that island hopping or twin-centres aren’t really needed because it’s such a small area.
“It’s all about picking the right hotel and in Bermuda they are all genuinely very different,” she says.
“It depends if your client wants to be near the action or is happy relaxing at a resort hotel by the beach and it also depends if they want a more formal atmosphere, dressing for dinner, for example, or a casual place to stay. I recommend speaking to our reservations team who have lots of experience.”
British Airways flies direct to Bermuda, but a popular way to package the destination is as a twin-centre, with a stop in Boston, New York or Toronto on the way out making for a nice contrast.
When to sell it
Bermuda has a year-round subtropical climate and is not habitually affected by the hurricane season, which runs May through to November.
The most popular months to visit are April to June. December and January are the coldest months but still warm, with only light jackets required for evenings. Bermuda has a year-round programme of events but perhaps the most notable is Bermuda Heroes Weekend, a Carnival-style party that features local cuisine, Soca music, bands and races in early June.
One to include on a summer itinerary is Harbour Nights. This takes place every Wednesday from 19.00-22.00 between May and September along Hamilton's Front Street, which is closed off to traffic so that everyone can experience al fresco dining, mingle with local artisans and enjoy music and dancing in the streets.
For cricket lovers, Cup Match is the biggest event of the year. This match between island rivals St. George’s and Somerset is the centrepiece for a weekend-long event, with concerts, beach parties and plenty of food and drink. The next Cup Match is July 30-31.
Shafe points out that part of the Bermuda's appeal is that it is doesn’t really ever change!
“Strict building regulations prevent overdevelopment,” she says. “But Bermuda has seen some subtle but positive changes, especially since it hosted The America’s Cup in 2017. Hotels have been upgraded and trendy restaurants and beach clubs with DJs have opened. It has become less traditional and more chic and informal, and is consequently attracting a younger clientele.”
Bermuda’s new airport opens in 2020, aiming to improve the travel experience.
Where to book it
Prestige Holidays offers seven-nights room-only at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, flying with British Airways from Gatwick on March 31 2020, with private transfers, is £1982pp, saving £1378 per couple if booked by January 31.