Properties join new marketing cooperative

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -- Soliciting luxury Caribbean resorts for inclusion in the new Caribbean Escapes Cooperative Marketing (CECM) initiative requires some talking skills.

"The concept is great, but people are naturally leery of something that is new, is free, carries the word 'cooperative' in the name, but has no hidden agenda and appears to be a brilliant marketing strategy," said Glenn Harris, founder of the CECM program.

Although formal "invitations" to select upscale Caribbean properties went out only recently, Harris already has several properties that have committed to the venture.

These include Elite Island Resorts' Galley Bay and St. James's Club in Antigua, and Palm Island in the Grenadines.

"The business model and concept are unique," said Steven Heydt, Elite's president as well as a CECM advisory board member.

"The marketing strategy is designed to provide the affluent consumer with the ultimate Caribbean luxury travel-planning experience," added Heydt.

Neal Stephens, general manager of The Reefs in Bermuda, also is sold on the program.

"Our marketing consultants reviewed the program and commented that it is probably the best all-around marketing initiative we have planned for 2004," Stephens said. -- G.N.M.

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