Cayman has the opportunity to check out the competition when it comes to incentive travel.
That’s according to the incoming president of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, Jane van der Bol. She recently returned from a weekend retreat during which members of the Florida-Caribbean chapter discussed strategy.
“[An item] that came out of our whole-day meeting and flurry of activity was that we determined that we will have a [showcasing] event in Dominican Republic from 26 to 27 April,” she said.
It was important to set something up that Caribbean people could attend as the chapter is now expanding from its former Florida-only focus to include the Caribbean. However, intra-Caribbean travel challenges are ever-present, Ms van der Bol added.
“We are working with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association on addressing that subject,” she said. “Even to do something in Dominican Republic means that probably lots of Caribbean partners will have to fly through Miami.
“One of the things we like to do for members is have you experience a destination,” she added. “We will have a hosted buyer portion for those who buy incentive travel. Cayman is supplier-heavy; we supply hotels, experiences, restaurants. We do not have a lot of buyers and the ones we have are mostly meeting groups [rather than incentives].”
How it works The Dominican Republic will showcase itself as a destination to the buyers, she explained. However, it would also be of interest to suppliers as it is a good opportunity to network with all the buyers in one place, as well as gather vital business information.
“Suppliers may also like to go and see how other destinations do things,” she said. “You always learn things when you go to these places about how other venues fix up their events and so on.
“Also, it is always useful to see what the competition is,” Ms van der Bol added. “I would encourage Cayman members to experience this event and see what Dominican Republic offers. For example, why might a buyer choose them over us? That information might give us an edge. In many cases, our incentive hotels may be in a bid war with other Caribbean destinations so we need to know how we can sell ourselves over the competition.”