The new leadership group believes that past efforts to forge meaningful, long-term relationships with the diverse Bocas Del Toro community were adversely impacted by a lack of consistent, sustained "on the ground" activities to further our objectives. Moreover, while sincere efforts were made on many fronts, the size and scope of the project ran counter to the perceived wishes of many constituent groups including environmental organizations, neighboring indigenous communities and local business people who believed that the project's beneficiaries were to narrow in scope. A new outreach plan is likely to be far more successful given that new leadership has addressed many of previous concerns including: the size and scope of the project, a desire to showcase natural amenities and a new commitment to a sustained and consistent approach to community relations/outreach. Consequently, we feel that we can now approach many of these constituent groups pro-actively and from a position of strength. Our new messaging campaign will highlight many of the changes so that perceptions will change to better reflect new realities. As always, execution is paramount. Outreach programs to the following groups are currently in the works:
Bahia Honda community. This group was instrumental in the annulment of Phase II EIS approvals and they will be courted carefully and consistently. Consistency, trust and relationship building is key.
- Approach the community from a standpoint of their needs and wants
- Highlight potential tourist generating activities for their group (group tours)
- Work with leaders and educators to impart message of change
- Follow-up, keep promises, be consistent and be respectful in all negotiations
Local Business Owners. Strive to form beneficial alliances with those who can serve our clients and guests well. We can recommend and support an eco-system of local businesses that help to enhance the client experience by offering links to "best of breed" hotels, restaurants, dive shop operators, tour companies. We have local expertise and experience and this should be reflected in our offerings. These businesses can and will flourish under our umbrella and the volume of business that we bring.
- If we take care of this "ecosystem" of vendors- they will take care of us. Ancillary services at no charge to Oceans Group and our customers.
- Links from our website to preferred partners
- Support local Bastimentos businesses- our neighbors and friends
Realtors & Local Developers. New messaging to be disbursed to local realtors and developers. A more inclusive approach to working with professional realtors. They are the "frontline" for many looking at real estate in the region and our brand and reputation must be resurrected. Our goal is to show them that they can win by working with us. A healthy incentive structure needs to be put in place. Local developers face many of the same issues that we face. We can unite and be a stronger group with collective interests. Concept of "co-opetition" to be introduced- we compete and cooperate depending on the deal, client needs.
- Attempt to build a relationship with every agency in town. If no relationship then at least they need to be aware of facts.
- When sales volume picks up- they need to know. Realtors follow the dollars.
- Showcase win-win outcomes to incent others to work with us.
Local & Regional Government. Cultivate relationships across the political spectrum in Bocas and the region. This means ties to new mayor, senator of Bocas Del Toro, new governor and local Chief of Police, Bastimentos Sherriff. Relationships should be based on how we can help them and their constituents. Help them recognize that a healthy project means a healthier (and wealthier) Bocas.
- Set-up meetings to welcome new representatives.
- Showcase contribution of new community investments in conjunction with Officials- let them be part of success.
- Be consistent, reliable and establish credibility by following through on commitments.