The proverb ‘good things come in small packages’ often rings true for many things in life, including, in our view, the travel and travel affiliate industries.  Within this context, TravelDividends believes island vacation packages are a wonderful example of this old adage and representative of the types of untapped travel affiliate opportunities available in the world of travel niches.

Take for example, the Caribbean islands, which collectively attract millions of American and British travelers annually. While there are literally thousands of islands large and small spread across the Caribbean Sea, many of these islands (or island grouping) differ significantly with others in the region, and some offer travelers an experience unmatched elsewhere in the world.  But, how to turn these unmatched travel experiences into travel affiliate niche revenue?

There are numerous sources travel affiliates can use to help identify and assess niche opportunities in the travel industry, many of which are available for free, or at a nominal cost.  One such source is Travel + Leisure (T+L), arguably one of the most distinguished and highly regarded travel publications focused on upscale travel consumers.  Aside from the various articles and features they publish, Travel + Leisure conducts an annual survey of its readership to ascertain the ‘best in class’ winners for various segments and sub-segments of global travel and tourism industry.

In this survey, Travel + Leisure asks its readers to share their opinions of their favorite travel experiences as well as select their preferred hotels, spas, airlines, cruise lines, outfitters, cities, and islands around the world.   With respect to islands, readers rate each island in several categories, including: natural attractions, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people, and value.

The results of their 2009 survey – The Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2009 – were released this past week, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) earned top honors in the ‘Best Caribbean Islands Destination’ category.

Using T+L’s Caribbean winner as our travel niche ‘strawman’, let’s do a quick assessment of the attractiveness of the BVI as a travel affiliate micro-niche.

The Product

The British Virgin Islands consist of 60 idyllic islands, of which fifteen of the islands are inhabited.  Tortola and Virgin Gorda are the premier destination islands in the chain, and smaller and less-populated Anegada and Jost Van Dyke islands are also renowned for their beaches, sailing and diving activities.  A real jewel in the Caribbean, the BVI has long been the playground for the affluent traveler, though recently the profile of the BVI traveler to the islands has broadened a bit.  As such, the increased popularity of the BVI, together with their stellar reputation among travel consumers for its physical beauty, exceptional services and value, makes this destination very appealing for some travel affiliates that specialize in niches.

Part 2 will be published in tomorrow’s blog post.

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