PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -Here's a new twist on marketing to the
Caribbean's luxury travel niche: Invite top luxury properties to
participate in a venture that will not cost them anything but will
guarantee them high exposure and visibility through specially
produced TV travel shows, a 400-page annual publication and a Web
site with a booking engine linked to specific hotel partners.
Glenn Harris, founder of the new Caribbean Escapes Cooperative
Marketing (CECM) initiative and a former Caribbean marketing
manager with American Express, officially launched the program at
World Travel Market in London last week.
He admitted that the venture had more than several hoteliers
scratching their heads, somewhat skeptical about a deal that
guaranteed them so much, asked so little of them in return and
carried no hard dollar requirement.
Here are the "bones" of the program, as Harris described it:
• By invitation only, the collection will feature 100 upscale
resorts on 25 islands, plus top restaurants, golf courses, spas and
The number of hotels and destinations "is not written in stone,
but that's the approximate figure," Harris said.
"The hotels will not have to pay anything to be in the
collection," Harris said. "Naturally, they will be the
top-of-the-line properties, chosen on the basis of industry rewards
received, reputation, recommendations and past history."
Harris is deliberately selecting "smaller upscale properties
that do not have a lot of marketing and promotion dollars to spread
"Typically, if these hotels have some extra money, they would
rather put it into infrastructure improvements than advertising and
He said the program "is indeed a cooperative, in that it enables
two sides to bring something valuable to the table and work and
The only obligation that the venture places on the properties
that are invited to join -- and accept -- the program is that each
hotel guarantees four five-night stays per year that can be used as
giveaways and promotions on radio shows.
• Property descriptions and photos will appear in CECM's annual
publication, a glossy, 400-page book entitled "Extraordinary
Caribbean Escapes," set to debut next July.
Harris described the book as "the cornerstone of our program.
The revenue generated by advertising sold will enable us to operate
the program and its components, such as the radio shows, Web site
and sales support staff."
The publication, which will contain editorial on select
properties, restaurants and retailers and reviews of spas and golf
courses, will be marketed through CECM's Web site and radio
promotions, and sold at bookstores and through subscriptions.
Harris said that the book will be placed in the guest rooms of
each resort featured. "The estimated initial [readership] is more
than 2 million affluent Caribbean travelers," he said.
• A 30-minute TV show on two cable networks will be aired four
times a week beginning in April, showcasing destinations, selected
hotels, top restaurants, spas and golf courses featured in the
"The programs will reach 225 target markets, aimed at the
upscale traveler," Harris said.
He described that traveler as being between 45 and 65 years old,
with an annual income of at least $250,000, and vacationing "at
least three times a year for five to seven days each time."
• A Web site, to be operational by March, will have links to the
properties and the destinations in the program. The site will
provide extensive information on each participating resort,
including room categories, rates, restaurants and available
Virtual tours of hotels and island highlights also will be
available. The site, at www.caribbeanescapes.com, will be capable of
handling online bookings by both agents and consumers.
"We are only involved in land arrangements at this point,"
Harris said. "We hope to offer air and land programs" at a later
Also, destination guides -- sort of like miniguidebooks -- will
be available for downloading from the Web site.
• A separate CECM brochure will promote special offers at the
participating resorts and destinations and will be distributed at
key U.S. gateways, within Florida at tourist attractions and
upscale shopping malls, and through various golf shops and U.S.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
For more details on this article, see:
• Properties join new marketing cooperative
• What's in it for agents?