December 2, 2009

The Lay Over in San Juan

In route to our final destination to Grenada the Exclusive Remedies Studio production crew stopped to take in the sites of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. With an eight hour lay over, you had many options of things to get into. On a previous trip with my family, I had the opportunity to visit El Yunque, the only rainforest in the United States National Forest System. However, this time I suggested seeing Old San Juan. However, if you're not comfortable leaving the airport and taking the possible risk of missing your flight, there is a Casino at the airport.

We took a ten minute taxi drive into Old San Juan and started on our quest for food. We quickly spotted a Starbucks and used that as our reference point to find our whereabouts in the area. 

After roaming the streets, reading menus, and considering all of the recommendations we heard from the locals, a nice lady stepped out from one restaurant and showed us their lunch menu. We were quick to notice the music and how nicely the restaurant was decorated. Before we knew it, we were seated and having a bite to eat at the Parrot Club.

So what should you eat? Ask anyone that loves Puerto Rican food and they will say, "if you go to Puerto Rico you must east mofongo." So of course, I had the monfongo with chicken; and for dessert, Andre insisted we try his tres leches cake. It was delightful.

We really appreciated the free trollies that ran every  fifteen minutes  making it quite easy to get around and see almost anything in a short time frame.  We stopped to view the Castillo de San Cristobal which can be seen in the picture below.

Hours later, we made our way back to the airport to check-in for our final flight. Needless to say, if you have a lay over in Puerto Rico,  you can find many things to do. We used this article to help us with ideas before we arrived.  Visit our blog frequently to learn about what's new with Exclusive Remedies Studio.

Exclusive Remedies Studio returns from Grenada


The Exclusive Remedies Studio production crew has finally returned from the Travel Industry's Best Kept Secret Contest video shoot in Grenada. Over the summer, E.R.S. launched a contest for individual luxury properties to enter and win a video shoot. Out of 250 eligible properties, a little known Grenadian luxury resort by the name of Maca Bana Villas, caught the attention of our panel.

For most Americans, a trip to the Caribbean means visiting the Islands of the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, or others like St. Martin or St. Kitts. However, with the November 2008 announcement of American Airlines offering flights to Grenada, there is much to be discovered about the country.

Most Americans associate Grenada, the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere, with either the renown St. George's School of Medicine or the 1983 US Invasion called Operation Urgent Fury. Even prior to our departure, anyone who inquired about the shoot alluded to safety concerns and the stability of the country.  On our flight we met several American vacationers and a group of professional divers eager to visit Grenada for the very first time as well.

So if you have never considered visiting Grenada, we can assure you and anyone else who plans to visit, we were greeted with smiling faces, warm hearts, and first class service. Stay tuned, as you will learn more about Maca Bana.

October 29, 2009

Demanding Customer Service: The Social Media Way

How many times have you found yourself on hold for twenty minutes only to find that you're still the fifth caller in line? Over the years as companies have grown larger, wait times have gotten longer, and customer service has declined. Sadly enough, often times doing something about it would take even more time and energy than one would wish to exert.

The good news for consumers is that social media is helping change customer service by giving them a voice. Throughout the tough period in our economy many businesses have taken matters into their own hands to ensure that they retain customers by monitoring customer service satisfaction. How? By listening to social media.

If you or your company is effectively using social media, I'm sure you've probably found a favorite site to use. For the example in this post we will use Twitter. I want to personally admit that Twitter has captured my heart. Not because I care about what everyone is doing, but because it is such an effective communication tool.

Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful. My friends like to call me the referral queen. If I like something, I talk about it and make sure to tell everybody I see. So when I'm dissatisfied, I do the same. Websites like Twitter allow you to learn about the latest stories as they happen.

By simply searching Twitter you can find people tweeting about any topic you want to know about. You can also find great discounts, events, potential customers, and what people are saying about your business. All of the examples used below are actual tweets that occurred within the last week.

Let me show you exactly how powerful Twitter really is. When people like something, they speak directly to their friends and to the rest of the world that may be watching. Throughout the examples you will see this done by using the @ symbol. Here are a few good examples of what customers are saying about businesses and products.

Just as fast as people can be angered by one of your service personnel, someone can tweet about it. Anybody who had plans to visit the store or buy a product, can just as quickly change their mind. This is why social media gurus encourage companies to engage in conversation with their customers directly. This ensures that you're not only listening, but that you are doing something about it.

The following is a good example of what is best known as the retweet (RT). Anything someone posts can be retweeted. That means anyone following the first tweeter sees it and then whoever is following the next tweeter, sees it also. You're talking about reaching hundreds to thousands of people within minutes.

At the top you will notice that VisitFranklin has retweeted Mizzie's comment about her satisfaction with Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tennessee. If someone likes what you said and cares to share it with others, then they may just retweet it. From my observation, many people will just retweet information just to have something to tweet about.

Whether you understand it or not, in my opinion Twitter is way more than a communication tool. It is a great way to share videos, find links to great articles, and connect with people unlike ever before. So if you're running a special or have information that could be of use to others; tweet about it. 

Still unsure about using social media? Check out another article entitled why Customer Service Should Be in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Written by: Danielle Smith

October 8, 2009

Grenada: There's more to this country than beaches

As Exclusive Remedies Studio prepares for their production shoot with Grenadan luxury resort Maca Bana (located just outside of St. George, Grenada), we take a moment to consider a different side of travel.

While planning a vacation to a remote island or destination resort, leisure travelers rarely consider anything other than: "What is there to eat?," "Where are the best beaches?," and "What can I do for fun when I'm not eating or at the beach?" While yes the whole point of a vacation is to relax, lounge and soak up the sun. However, soaking up a part of history may be a new consideration to squeeze in on your next vacation. Why not take a piece of history with you back home, while enjoying the modern day delights of the countryside? Visiting a historic site, building or landmark is a great way of gaining a deeper appreciation of your desired vacation spot.

One Grenadian recounts his experience around the historic Fort George on October 19th, 1983, and his current reflections surrounding the town. Click here to read.

Written By: Krystle Solomon, Senior Photographer
photograph by DesignSigh

September 10, 2009

Hotelier Tips: 10 ways to prepare for a hotel video shoot

So you’re thinking about having a video made about your destination or maybe you’ve already hired a company to shoot it. Are you still unclear as to how it might go or what the crew will do once they arrive? Even if the producer has not given you any direction upfront, you can still prepare yourself and your staff members to ensure a smooth production shoot.

1. Before you shoot, make sure your property is “photo ready.” Just remember, that whatever is captured on camera has the possibility of being seen for years to come. If there are plans to change the drapes or comforters or if the property is undergoing renovations, we advise that you schedule the shoot immediately afterward, as everything will look brand new.

2. Before hiring actors, consider using some of the staff you already have. You might be surprised with their performance.

3. When the production crew is on your property for the very first time, be sure to give them a thorough tour of the grounds. Consider assigning a primary contact person just in case the production crew needs help or has questions during the production shoot.

4. Before filming starts invite the production crew to a brief staff meeting so that they may introduce themselves and briefly go over the production schedule. This will help with logistics and ensure that no one is caught off guard throughout the days of your shoot.

5. Upon check-in, notify all customers that a production is taking place. Even though they may not be filmed, have them sign the photo and video release form anyway. You never know, they might want to help out and be extras! If you have too many guests to keep track of inquire about group release forms.

6. Designate a secure room or area for the production crew to store their equipment. Any crew would appreciate such a gesture. Hauling heavy equipment from the parking lot and making multiple trips is never fun and could possibly interfere with the foot traffic of your guests.

7. Make sure your best-looking rooms with the nicest views are available to be filmed. This is especially true for properties on the ocean. You want to put your best foot forward and allow all of your grandeur to show.

8. If you want flashy scenes of beautiful people having dinner, we suggest filming restaurant scenes when it is either closed or when business is very slow. This is mainly true if you will be using models and extras. However, if you want a more natural feel then pick a good day when the restaurant will be full and lively. If you want nice cooking shots, make sure your chefs are available to prepare the dish and that the food being prepared adds a little pizazz to the shot.

9. If interviews are being conducted stage them in an ambiance-friendly location. In other words, make sure it is not near a busy street, a loud and splashy pool area, or in a heavily air-conditioned space with appliances that add their own soundtrack. You may not hear it at the time but if the editor is not good at cleaning audio, you may be in for a horrific treat. A good crew will make sure it’s done right.

10. Lastly, never rush your production crew. Ask anyone in the film industry. Lighting scenes properly and setting up shots is an art form. Crews that promise they can come in and shoot everything in one day will probably do just that. They will come in, film a few areas, and leave. That is a good thing right? Wrong.

We suggest allotting anywhere from three to five days for a shoot. It may sound like a long time to you but this will give them a cushion just in case it rains or if equipment is lost or broken in transit. This is also important if they are capturing surrounding areas highlight such as tourist attractions, events, or aerial views.

If your crew is coming from a far distance the first day could consist of touring locations, planning a shot list, obtaining proper permits, casting actors, designing interiors and prepping equipment. It can be exhausting. So be patient and let them produce the best video they possibly can for you because once they leave, they should never have to come back to pick up another shot. The more coverage the better.

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Hotel video production tips coming soon

I have to admit I was never a fan of blogging a few years ago. I barely even kept a diary as child, so what did I need to try and write a story about the day in my life for? I can read for hours and I thoroughly enjoy doing so. But after much thought and considering that at this point in time with the boom of social media networks and the importance of search engine optimization. I can finally see the value of contributing content to the World Wide Web.

Welcome to the official blog of Exclusive Remedies Studio. The postings shared on this blog will not be strictly from me, but hopefully others from our production team. I hope we'll be able to share our personal stories, successes, travels, newsletters, events, and the beauty of the destinations from around the world we capture through the lenses of our still photography and video cameras.

We hope you enjoy. In the meantime, please visit our website at