Pands Events and Vacations among top travel services
The Pands team at the Playa Hotels and Resorts Travel Agents Awards in 2021.

P & S Events and Vacations Limited, trading as Pands Events and Vacations, is a company born of its owners', Paul and Sheneico Eastwood, love of travelling both locally and abroad.

Sheneico Eastwood shared, "Based on the love my husband and I had for travelling Jamaica, we created this venture. He was always planning hotel trips with his friends and I was doing the same with my friends. That is something that motivated us to move from the stage.

"We both wanted a better life and thought running a business would give us access to that as well as giving people a chance to explore and enjoy Jamaica and the rest of the world."

P & S Events and Vacations Limited was started in 2016 in St Catherine with the mission: "To make every client happy and satisfied by meeting all their needs and exceeding their expectations."

The couple's vision was to be "a premiere travel agency and events planning business, offering a variety of services which were affordable and of high quality".

Upon starting, the couple set about helping travellers with limited knowledge of the nuances in the local market to navigate booking a property and staging events.

They have, over the years, curated unique vacation experiences for friends, families and professional groups by providing personalised customer service and leveraging industry relationships to negotiate special promotional rates to suit any budget.

Value for money

Core company values are: "Value for money, convenience, great customer service, confidentiality, accessibility, innovation, being reliable, and a focus on negotiating special promotional rates to suit any budget."

Customer segments targeted are nuclear and extended families, couples, church general membership, church executives, church couple's ministry, schoolteachers and school administrative staff, from whom the bulk of their business have come.

P&S represents the Eastwood's first venture and has to date expanded to two full-time employees and five part-time sales agents who operate remotely.

"Setting up our business, we didn't need much start-up based on the nature of what we wanted to do. The major challenge we had was to gain and maintain our clients; as the business grew, the challenge faced was being able to promote and maintain an online presence in order to retain old and attract other clients," the entrepreneurs told the Jamaica Observer.

The travel service providers now say they believe that their competitive advantage lies in being "responsive, timely and friendly".

The Eastwoods stated, "We have good working relationships with popular local hotels and resorts." As such, they have also succeeded over time in curating for special groups special experiences such as couples retreats and family reunions.

Sheneico shared, "We have legitimacy due to over five years' experience in the business."

Rapid growth

The entrepreneurs estimate that the travel and events market is valued at billions and a driving force of the Jamaican economy. They estimate their current market share is ten per cent of the travel services market.

"Based on our awards, we know we have been doing well," they said.

Awards to date include: Top 3 Producing Agent for Royalton Resorts 2021 – 2022; Top 8 Producing Local Travel Agency for Riu Hotels 2021; Top 3 Producing Travel Agency for Ocean Coral Spring 2020; Top Producers for Riu Hotels & Resorts 2018; Top Producers for Riu Hotels & Resorts July 2018; and Top Sellers 2016/2017 for Sunscape Resorts."

Investment made to date in Pands Events and Vacations is approximately $500,000, an amount which has been recovered. The owners declined to comment on annual revenues and profitability.

Going forward, Pands Events and Vacations aims to maintain its promotions to support an increase in the events segment by 20 per cent by mid-June 2023.

They are also working on implementing a structured marketing approach. The company is part of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) accelerator programme and is receiving assistance in strategising for growth.

Financing sources to date are the JBDC and the Development Bank of Jamaica.

The company promotes events and travel service offerings on its Instagram page under the handle Psev_travel_agency and on Facebook

The entrepreneurs shared, "The JBDC programme has been everything we needed and more. We knew we needed help with operating the right way and this programme has provided us with the tools needed to do so.

"Being in the programme has helped us to have proper documentation of bookings. We now keep track of who we book, when the booking was done, where the client is staying, and which of our agents made the booking."

Pands Events and Vacations is a company born of owners Paul and Sheneico Eastwood's love of venturing on trips both locally and abroad. Their travel services business is now award-winning.
Pands Events is now named among the top 10 travel planners on the island, despite being less than a decade old.
Pands Awards rewarded as a top producing agency.
The Pands team collecting their award at the Ocean Coral Spring Travel Agents Awards in 2021.
Pands vacations recognused by RIU hotel.
BY AVIA USTANNY-COLLINDER Senior business reporter

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