Fall promo aims to stimulate travel

DoT and CITA join forces

Representatives of the CITA

Representatives of the CITA at the recent marketing meeting Photo: Cliodhna Doherty

The Cayman Islands is bringing out a new promotion to stimulate travel this fall.

The Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association are working on this promotion, which will allow couples to Upgrade their Fall.

Visitors can enjoy flight discounts, a fourth night free, property specific upgrades and value added on car rental, watersports, attractions and restaurants.

‘We’re soliciting member businesses to come on board for this right now,’ said Executive Director Trina Christian at a recent Marketing Committee meeting of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

She explained that in previous years the national promotion Summer Splash had morphed into the fall promotion called Free Falling.

Committee members said free falling carries negative connotations considering the economic climate, so they opted for a new tagline.

CITA Marketing Committee representative Tom McCallum explained the thinking behind the advertising for the promotion, which will mainly have an online focus.

‘While everybody is doing everything they can to make sure we still get some business in the fall months, the recognition from the Department of Tourism, and the industry tends to agree with this, is that there isn’t that much to be gained by spending a ton more money on advertising for September, October, November because really people aren’t booking and it’s not unique to this year – this year is just worse than usual.

‘The approach that DoT is taking, which we’ve agreed with, is that this doesn’t involve putting lots of TV money in the market for September, October, November but involves a mostly online strategy to do with online advertising. There will be a landing page that comes from this on the DoT’s website.’

The strongest offers will receive the highest focus in the advertising, he said.

Promotion of the offer will also involve direct marketing through email campaigns to the DoT database, public relations will target both consumer and travel trade media outlets and the DoT’s US sales team will feature and promote at scheduled consumer events, travel trade sales calls and trade shows.

Tourism related businesses interested in participating in the promotion were invited to put their proposals forward.

Although there has to be a consistent theme and advertising for the promotion, it’s up to individual businesses to decide what extent they wish to participate, said Mr. McCallum.

The offer will be for the travel period 8 September through 15 December with a booking period from 15 August through 10 December.

Ms Christian said Cayman Airways will give flight offers to be announced at a later date; there will be a fourth night free at participating accommodations (stay for four, pay for three) along with an upgrade or value added. Other offers include a dive offer where a buddy dives free; a companion can enter attractions for free; free wine, dessert or appetiser with the purchase of an entrée at participating restaurants; or 20 per cent off car rentals with a free upgrade.

Visitors will be required to produce a special promotion card to redeem on-island discounts.

At the meeting, members were updated on recent meetings with the Government in order to review and move forward with new ideas for co-operating and joining forces in marketing and with the Leader of Government Business and Minister for Tourism McKeeva Bush.

Ms Christian explained that there is a medium term tourism strategy going to be developed by the new government and between now and the end of September they are inviting CITA to meetings to give input as to what they want the tourism product to look like by 2012.

‘If there is a need for the marketing or brand strategies to change it’s going to come out of those meetings,’ she said.

At the meeting, members were encouraged to provide their input on tourism.

‘People are going to get given the opportunity to help guide the process over the next couple of months,’ said Mr. McCallum.

Ms Christian told members that the Minister of Tourism is to conduct a tourism economic impact assessment. This will inform Government as to what tourism contributes to the economy.

The last one done was at least five years ago, she said.

It was also mentioned that the Government would be immediately recruiting for the Director of Tourism’s position because Acting Director Shomari Scott is doing two jobs.

The Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism has also requested that there be a Director of Cruise Tourism.

The Minister is also looking into the restructuring of the DoT to allow for more private sector involvement.

Meeting attendees also learned that the annual tourism conference this year is not being held in the usual month of September, but instead, November, with the exact date still to be announced.