Cayman embraces wedding tourism

One of the initiatives the Department of Tourism is considering as part of its new promotion and marketing campaign for the Cayman Islands as a wedding destination, is a special wedding concierge.

The concierge, who would work as part of DoT, would help sell the Cayman Islands as a wedding destination and direct interested couples to appropriate service providers.

This idea was voiced at DoT’s 2005/06 Destination Weddings marketing strategy and promotions plan for 2005 at the Westin Casuarina Resort Thursday evening, at which tourism partners attended.

DoT has created two pieces of collateral to promote Cayman: one geared towards the bride and the other for a honeymoon couple.

Wedding expert Rebecca Grinnals has been working with the DoT on the product and marketing of Cayman in this capacity and described the various methods being used to create awareness in the US market for Cayman as a high class wedding destination. She is the founder of The Caribbean Wedding Association and former co-founder of Disney’s Fairytale Weddings and Honeymoons.

She said the aim is to increase the number of non-resident weddings for stay-over visitors in particular, increase the group weddings segment of the market and maximise the length of stay of these visitors.

She outlined that the Cayman wedding brand has certain defining features, including being: sophisticated with many guests coming from old money, classy, casual barefoot elegance, convenient to get to, fresh and playful, not a free wedding (like in other destinations), unexpected (not a typical island wedding), and quality.

The unique selling points of Cayman include it being: family friendly and close to home, having a range of wedding experiences and accommodations, relaxed island casual but with an air of elegance, not pretentious and stuffy, world class wedding service providers (with no need to import anything), ease of marriage legal process and a safe environment, with many facilities and activities.

The key romance strategies being pursued include the following: advertising and media planning to maximise the effectiveness of advertising spending via an integrated and targeted campaign in the best and most read publications. These will include high end publications like Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Brides Magazine.

One promotion in the Fall with Fairchild Bridal Group will involve a lucky couple getting a complete destination wedding in Cayman. Editorial coverage will also be targeted with many prominent features on Cayman as a wedding destination coming on stream.

A Romance Familiarisation showcase will be held in Cayman in June, with leading bridal journalists coming to discover Cayman.

A PR wedding ‘pitch’ basket will be created to proactively jump on every promotional opportunity that arises.

Working in conjunction with the private sector, high profile or notable couples will be sought out to marry or renew their vows in Cayman.

Another promotional effort is the partnering of Cayman with the Platinum Guild at the JCK show. According to Ms. Grinnals, 71 per cent of brides choose platinum for their groom’s ring. The show would give exposure to thousands of high end jewellers. There will also be a Cayman honeymoon giveaway at that show.

Home furnishings company Williams-Sonoma also partner with Cayman at a show in California at the end of this month and there is a potential partnership with Watters bridal-wear which is considering doing a Cayman collection of gowns.

Crate & Barrel have already done a Cayman line of house-wares and this may be incorporated into a promotional idea for attracting weddings here.

Special offers and unique experiences for wedding couples could also be offered by on-island tourism partners to help lure weddings here.

Ms. Grinnals also outlined the importance of continuing and strengthening relationships with travel trade professionals and to create lucrative new relationships with romance professionals.

The need to continue to market specific travel trade shows was highlighted.

The targeting of the correct high-end consumer bridal shows is also important, she said.

One such show coming at the end of this month is the Wedding March. At this, the Cayman Islands partners with such high quality names as Cartier, Chanel and Wedgwood as sponsors.

A wedding and honeymoon micro-site already exists on the www.caymanislands.ky website, which also acts as a promotional tool.

Another idea is to create a listing of private villas for weddings of all shapes and sizes in the Cayman Islands.

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