We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Pomeroy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Fiji Vacations was born from my passion about traveling to Fiji. From the time I was a small child my family traveled extensively throughout the South Pacific. By the time I was 18 I had stayed and nearly every resort in the Fiji Islands, most of the islands in French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and Tonga. My father started to let me plan our family trips in high school and it was then that Fiji Vacations was born. When I was a senior in High School we bought the domain www.Fijivacations.com and I slowly built this company and brand to what it is today. We are one of the top wholesalers from North America and we are 100% woman owned and operated which is something I am proud of. We have risen to the top in a typically male dominated field. There were many challenges in the early years but we grew slowly and steadily focusing on one thing excellent service and knowledge of the destinations we sell. Our clients returned to us and sent their friends. We have had to pivot a few times, once during the economic downturn of 2008 we really began focusing on Honeymoons and that was a resounding success as people would still find a way to celebrate their marriage with a honeymoon. With the current situation worldwide where travel has been put on hold for Fiji we are eagerly waiting for borders to reopen in Fiji. During this time we are all spending some extra time with our families.
What should our readers know about your business?
The main thing that sets us apart from other travel companies selling the South Pacific is that we have been there and we know the destinations we sell like the backs of our hand. My team have relationships with the managers, staff and resort owners and that goes a long in hospitality. We take time to curate these relationships, we co market the destination and always are looking for ways to get more people to experience Fiji. The most important take away is that if you or anyone you know wants to travel to Fiji, Tahiti or other south pacific islands please give us a chance to earn their business. We are really good at what we do and we want to share that with as many people as possible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well when visiting Fiji if lets say time was not an issue and they had 10-12 days I could really show them the country and hit all of the regions. Most are not that lucky and time is a consideration so I would need to find out what was most important to them. Is it beaches, stunning white sandy beaches? Is it diving, Fiji has over 500 species of hard and soft corals so the diving is world class. Is it luxury, Fiji has some of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in the world. I would have to listen to what is important and curate an itinerary for them ticking all of the boxes. Fiji is really made up of three main regions in my mind. The west which includes the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands and this region is known for its white sandy beaches surrounding low lying palm fringed islands. Some of our favorite resorts in this region are Vomo Island Resort, Yasawa Island Resort and Tokoriki Island Resort. The Northern region includes Vanua Levu and Taveuni, which are more volcanic islands with lush rainforests and waterfalls. I like to say that this is where the rainforest meets the reef. This region is also known the world over for its superb diving. Some of our favorite resorts here include Tides Reach Resort (local Malibu owner), The Wakaya Club, Matangi Island Resort, Jean Michele Cousteau and The Remote Resort. The third region is the southern side of Fiji and this region has some of the most exclusive resorts in Fiji and is a nice mix of waterfalls, beaches and diving. Some of our favorites in this region are Kokomo Private Island, Royal Davui, Nanuku Auberge Resort and Spa and Vatuvara Private Island. Visiting Fiji is on the map for its raw beauty of the land and sea but a vast majority of our visitors return to Fiji because of its people. They are the most warm, welcoming fun loving race of people in the world and the keep the tourist coming back for more. Some of the authentic cultural experiences that should not be missed are visiting a school and village in the rural outer islands as this is culturally and spiritually rewarding. Your soul will be renewed and it will leave a lasting impression on you.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I definitely had a mentor in my early years. She was at the time one of the resort representatives in North America It was really nice to have someone in my corner cheering me on and pushing me. Her name is Erin McCann and now she is the owner of Yasawa Island Resort, Fiji Islands. More recently I have been fortunate to have Ruth Daly, the Head of Tourism Fiji as a sounding board and she is always a supporter of her Fiji people. She is a great person to bounce marketing ideas off of and get opinions from.