Making the cut

UK hairdresser army pressed into tourism service

The Cayman Islands has an unusual
set of tourism cheerleaders following a link-up between the European branch of
the Department of Tourism and a chain of British hairdressers.

Headmasters are running a
competition to win a holiday for two in the Cayman Islands, said Don McDougall
of Department of Tourism, Europe.

“You’re in a chair for two hours;
the conversation starts off about the weather and soon goes on to holidays and
travel. We felt that there was a large sales force out there that we can
motivate ourselves to talk about the Cayman Islands. They’ve all had Cayman
information and videos so they can see what it’s all about.

“Headmasters is a chain of
hairdressers across the UK that are more high end in terms of their customer
base; the sort of people who tend to be able to afford a holiday in the Cayman
Islands. There’s a skew toward female decision-makers on travel plans so it supports
all the marketing things that work in our favour,” said the marketing
executive.

The promotion, continued Mr.
McDougall, is cost-effective as all posters and information is paid for by the
hairdressers because they would be already producing that material for their
own purposes.

“It gets us high street exposure
without paying for high street and they pay for the production of the
posters… we just supply them with images that support our brand.

“They launch it online, through
their website, in the local papers and instore. All our leaflets and sign-ups
and whatnot are in their salons. For the cost of a holiday for two people it’s
a good way of getting coverage out there toward our target market. It’s an
almost no-cost way of getting advertising and exposure,” noted the marketer.

Getting hitched

Another upcoming boost for the
profile of Cayman is a one-hour special programme to be aired by Wedding TV
around 1 October. The show was shot in conjunction with a wide range of local
wedding and service providers on the islands and as part of the deal the
production company has also shot two commercials and will give the footage to
the Department of Tourism for free use. The Wedding TV show will also be
distributed by the tourism department to the tune of 1,000 copies, once it has
been screened by Wedding TV. It will be broadcast numerous times over the next
six months and the commercials hundreds of times, said Mr. McDougall.

“We got a lot of editorial control
because we set the itinerary, line up the interview subjects and [so on]. The
programme pushes destination weddings and for a very small cost overall we
[have a very good deal].

“The beauty of it is that we
recruited some of the best experts in Cayman to work with on this.

Jo-Anne Brown of Celebrations was
an absolute star who introduced many things including beaches, the Botanic Park
and different properties and venues. We had many other guests, including
Captain Chuckie talking about what he did at Stingray City, Steve Broadbelt talking
about underwater weddings, amongst many others [on Grand Cayman and Little
Cayman], getting across different points of attractions at the same time as
talking about weddings,” explained the European regional manager of the tourism
department.

He added that the programme
highlighted the island’s attractions as well as the wedding market and that it
could be used to globally market both destination weddings and honeymoons.

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Headmasters, a UK hairdressing chain, is running a competition to win a holiday for two in the Cayman Islands.
Photo: File
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