Expedia: Caribbean is on the up

The Cayman Islands is ‘trending up for 2012’, according to Expedia executive Brent Minzner. 

In 2011, booking growth was 1.68 per cent but expected to reach 6.83 per cent during 2012, he told the Caymanian Compass. 

The highest growth in Caribbean destinations saw Trinidad and Tobago register a 46 per cent increase in bookings, Dominican Republic 40 per cent and Bahamas 
25 per cent. 

Bookings through the travel site during the fourth quarter of 2011 saw increases from several markets, the largest being 44 per cent from Brazil followed by Germany (37 per cent), United Kingdom (31 per cent), Italy (22 per cent) and the United States (12 per cent). 

These figures are somewhat based around vacation package deals, said Demetrius Canton, director of market management for the Caribbean. 

“It is highly beneficial for our hotel partners in the Caribbean to participate in vacation package offerings as a strategic merchandising tool,” he said. 

Increase across the board 

The Caribbean posted a 12 per cent increase in room nights across the board during the fourth quarter of 2011, he said. 

“Vacation packages enable hotels to bundle their rates with flights or car rentals, allowing hotels to maintain rate integrity, while attracting travellers who typically have extended booking windows and longer lengths of stay. It’s truly a win-win proposition for hotels and consumers, who benefit with a completely customised vacation package that best fits their travel needs.” 

The travel company added 120 Caribbean properties to its portfolio during 2011. Nearly 60 million people visit Expedia sites each month. 

Mr. Minzner said vacation packages typically resulted in a longer advance purchase window and a longer stay. He said there were several ways to attract more growth. 

“Keep your photos and texts updated, constantly review your platform and actively engage with the opinions and questions made by travellers to the site and make sure to have a strategy for mobile channels. Expedia reports a strong growth of bookings through the mobile channel, especially in city markets.  

“Also, look beyond traditional markets, focus where the growth is.”
He said special sales and seasonal promotions also assisted, as did keeping in touch with industry trends through industry relationships such as Expedia. 

Brent Minzner Expedia

Mr. Minzner