St. John Tradewinds News

Digital Guide Set to Revolutionize Villa Book

 

Trevor Sichel, above, at his activities center in Mongoose Junction.

The old days of those three ring binders bursting with restaurant menus and maps will be numbered if Trevor Sichel has his way.

Sichel has manned Trevor’s Activities Center in Mongoose Junction for seven years and four years before that he was booking excursions for guests across from the Cruz Bay post office.

While Sichel continues to book activities and excursions at his Mongoose Junction kiosk, it was a meeting with merchants which inspired him to jump into the villa information arena.

“I brought this out in February because after going to Mongoose Junction merchants meetings, I saw how much the retailers disliked the villa books,” said Sichel. “I found out that the villa companies don’t like the books either. But you need something and this seemed to work.”

The books often look worn and unsightly in a luxury villa, Sichel explained.

“There are a few problems with the books,” he said. “It’s hard to keep them looking nice. They get tatty and I’ve found many managers hid the books so the area looks good.”

“It’s also difficult to keep them updated and you don’t know if someone has removed something,” said Sichel. “You have no way of knowing if your flyer is even in the books anymore.”

The books are also time consuming for businesses, Sichel added.

“It costs a lot of money to print all of those flyers and that doesn’t include the cost of getting the pictures and creating the ad, much less all the time it takes to stuff the books,” said Sichel.

With help from his computer savvy son Travis, Sichel attacked the problem from a digital angle creating “What’s Up? On St. John.” The DVD includes information on everything from charters and activities to shopping and weddings.

The new digital format offers a bevy of features not available in the three ring binder, Sichel explained.

“Someone might pick up the book and look through it, but with the DVD you could have 10 people watching at once,” he said.

The DVD opens at a home page with a menu which allows the viewer to click one of 10 options. Click on the dining and cafe option and the screen switches to cuisine options, which lead eventually to local menus, hours of operation and even weekly specials, explained Sichel.

The options continue throughout the DVD, there are 1,400 control button options, which, according to Sichel, is the most ever produced on a DVD of this type.

The DVD also includes maps of the main beaches, with photos and descriptions of where the best snorkeling can be found.

Sichel released the first version of the DVD in February and has about 95 percent of the retail shops and restaurants included, he explained.

The father and son Sichel team also recently completed a smart phone friendly website, www.whatsupstjohn.com, which is identical to the DVD and allows for instant access of all of the information.

Sichel plans to release new versions of the DVD each year and can add any new information instantly to the website.

The digital guide book DVD can already be found in many St. John short term rental villas and Sichel sees that number only growing.

For more information about “What’s Up? On St. John” call Sichel at Trevor’s Activities Center at 715-4944.