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Printed in The Daily Herald, Aug 2001

St. Maartener is set to promote island by e-mail

PHILIPSBURG--Reply Services BV, a Dutch e-mail marketing company providing high speed, high volume e-mail delivery services and owned by St. Maartener Terrance Rey, has plans in place to promote the island of St. Maarten by using e-mail marketing.

Reply Services staff members at work at the new office in Rotterdam

"Our company uses an advanced e-mail broadcasting system that can send out millions of e-mail per hour," said Rey. "Here in Holland we have access to over 2.5 million e-mail addresses and in the US even more. But e-mail marketing works best when you have an ongoing relationship with the owner of the e-mail address. To build such a relationship we will be needing the cooperation of the St. Maarten government, Tourist Office and other local associations such as the Hotel Association."

Rey started Reply Services on January 1, 2000, after university research showed that 43 per cent of Dutch companies did not answer their e-mails on time or properly. "In 1999, through the Internet, I came in contact with an American, John Brogan, who had built an e-mail management system called ReplyNet to handle all the secure e-mails for NASA, the Pentagon and the US Army," Rey explained.

"I saw the possibilities for using such a system in Europe, as it offered many services which were badly needed, such as auto e-mail response, and obtained the rights from Brogan to market the ReplyNet system in Holland, Belgium and the rest of Europe," he recalled.

After writing a business plan and submitting it to Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Rey was offered office space in the Business Development Center at the university. "With the facilities of this center we were able to research the market, fine tune the business plan and market the services with the help of students," the entrepreneur said.

A highly motivated and super-active St. Maartener, Terrance Rey

Reply Services now offers e-mail broadcasting, e-mail management and e-mail marketing services and in its first year of operation turned over 100,000 Dutch guilders in sales and made a healthy profit of 18,000 guilders.

"This was the proof I needed that the business was viable," Rey said, adding, "This year we rented 230 square meters of office space for the present staff of nine, founded two new subsidiaries, started operations in Belgium and are set to turn over 1.2 million in sales this year. In 2002 we plan to expand operations in the rest of Europe."

Reply Services is staffed mostly by St. Maarteners. "Everybody works hard in the company," Rey explained. "At any given moment you can hear soca or zouk in the background playing. This keeps the team high spirited, motivated and driven."

The company plans to organize an Internet workshop for St. Maarteners studying in Holland in September during the official opening of its new office in Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek, a new Multimedia and IT business center in Rotterdam. "With 230 square meters we have enough space here to expand the company further as more companies discover the power of e-mail marketing," stated Rey.

"As Reply Services has the motive and the means to market St. Maarten by using e-mail marketing, we are in a position to effectively promote the island," he continued. "Up to now we have registered domain names such as, and even

"E-mail is fast, effective and cheap and sending out an e-mail newsletter about St. Maarten on a regular basis will be a good start. We can set up a St. Maarten portal on the Internet, link all relevant Websites about St. Maarten (such as and use the contents to target visitors to the island. Topics of interest can be history, culture, music, food, fun and attractions."

And, with regard to the island's involvement, Rey said, "We will need to coordinate our efforts with the St. Maarten government, Tourist Office and other associations. With a relatively small budget we can reach millions and track their responses with our system. We can see who is reading the e-mails and clicking on the links to the Websites. This way we can target people who are interested in travel with special offers to visit the island. All we need to do is start collecting e-mail addresses."

He added, "Hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, taxi drivers and even the airport authorities. Please ask the tourists for their e-mail addresses by telling them we will keep them up to date on the developments of the island, then send the e-mail addresses to us and we will do the rest. End result: more visitors to the island."

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