When we left our native Denmark and traveled to Punta Cana together for the first time in 2004, we had no intention of actually moving to the Dominican Republic, let alone buying a business there. We came as “seasonal workers” and were only planning on staying in the country for a couple of months.
Anders was (and still is) a PGA golf pro and during the winters, he would work for travel agencies abroad where he also had the opportunity to practice and keep up his own game. Rawnie had just graduated from the University of Southern Denmark with a master’s degree in International Business Communication. In the winter of 2004, we were given the opportunity to travel to Punta Cana and spend the winter working on the destination. Anders worked for a Danish travel agency as the head of their golf destination and I was hired by a local, Danish-owned tour operator to work as their office manager.
After a few months on the destination, unforeseen circumstances forced Rawnie to change jobs and she was fortunate to be offered a job at another, Dominican/Dutch-owned tour operator & DMC, called PALMERA TRAVEL / PALMERA DESTINATION SERVICES. Things went along nicely after that and a few months later, we started talking to Rawnie’s new boss about helping him expand his business. Not too long after we had begun brainstorming business ideas, he offered to sell his business to us, which would help him make a much-desired change in his own career path. We accepted, applied for a loan with our bank in Denmark and, in the spring of 2005, we became the new owners of Palmera Travel / Palmera Destination Services.
Back then, we were mainly working with groups & incentive trips coming to the Dominican Republic. We did a few hotel reservations for individual travelers, airport transfers, golf reservations and excursions, but the bulk of our business consisted of handling incoming business/leisure/incentive groups from the U.S, Canada, Latin America and Europe. We had rented a small 2-bedroom apartment, which was converted into an office – with only a tiny space for our private living area. About 2-3 years later, our company had grown and we bought a real office space on the 2nd floor at Plaza Shopping Bavaro on Avenida Italia – where our Punta Cana office is still located today.
As our company grew, and our business model developed, we eventually rebranded our company as GROUP PALMERA. We began offering more services apart from the regular travel-related services. We incorporated services in the then booming field of real estate, started arranging golf tournaments for golfers from all over the world, opened a golf academy, etc.
Business was excellent until the global financial crisis hit in 2008. During the next few years, we hunkered down and kept grinding. Even though tourism in the Dominican Republic slowed down and the real estate boom stopped, we had already built a strong company with a good customer base and a reputation for always giving excellent, fast and on-point customer service. These were key factors that allowed us to survive the crisis.
In 2012 we launched the Danish website DANSK PUNTA CANA GUIDE, a destination guide, specifically aimed at servicing Danish tourists traveling to Punta Cana. See more at www.danskpuntacanaguide.com
In 2013, we launched our fishing website PALMERA FISHING, offering deep sea fishing charters around the Dominican Republic. See more at www.palmerafishing.com
The same year, PALMERA VILLAS was born and became part of the Group Palmera brand as we began managing luxury vacation rental villas in the areas of Punta Cana, Cap Cana and Casa de Campo. The vacation rental business quickly grew as many tourists coming to the Dominican Republic started looking for alternative accommodation other than the regular all-inclusive resorts. Working with vacation rental properties became our main business and continues to be the focus of our operation and expansion. See more at www.palmeravillas.com
In 2018, our company received the award for DOMINICAN REPUBLIC’S BEST INBOUND GOLF TOUR OPERATOR by World Golf Awards, and we were nominated again in 2019 (as of October 2019, the winners have not yet been announced).
In 2019, we opened PALMERA LUXURY VACATIONS and a 2nd office location in Florida, USA. This step was part of our natural expansion and made sense seeing that the far majority of our customers are American. We chose Florida due to its close proximity to the Dominican Republic that allows for quick and easy commute to Punta Cana as well as being a good base for further expansion both into the U.S. market and other Caribbean destinations.
We continue to focus on offering luxury vacation rentals in Punta Cana, Cap Cana and Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic as well as offering our customers destination services such as private airport transfers, accommodation at select golf & luxury resorts, golf reservations, excursions and exclusive concierge services.
We look forward to continuing servicing travelers to the Dominican Republic and promoting the country as the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean and we look forward to growing our brand to include other exciting destinations as well.
For more information about our company, Group Palmera, our products and services please feel free to contact us directly:
Mrs. Rawnie Hansen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Anders Bogebjerg email@example.com