ANGUILLA SEEKS TO SOLIDIFY THE ISLAND’S POSITION IN THE CONSUMER AND TRADE MARKETPLACES The first half of 2014 shows significant results with focus in targeted niche markets
ANGUILLA, B.W.I. – October 1, 2014 – In order to introduce new travelers to Anguilla and entice return tourists to visit again, the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) engaged in numerous events and launched several campaigns to target key segments of its major geographic market, North America, over the past six months. Additionally, the island was represented at key tourism and travel events throughout the United States and the Caribbean by personnel from the ATB home office and representatives of Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications (CAMC).
The first quarter began strong with the roll-out of the Mature Market Winter 2013–14 campaign in conjunction with AARP, a leading membership organization for people aged 50 and over. An ad in the Travel Partner’s Travelogue brochure in January was distributed to 500,000 homes of AARP members, a group that has been identified as having more time and disposable income to spend on travel. In addition, e-blasts through AARP and digital ads on “Your Travel Insider” reached two million subscribers.
In total, the campaign generated 290 room night bookings and approximately $87,000 in revenue via AARP’s partner booking engine Expedia.
Additionally, the “Certified Anguilla Travel Specialist” (CATS) program was launched in December 2013 in collaboration with leading travel agent publication Recommend. The program identifies, engages and educates travel agents on destination Anguilla and its key niche markets including Luxury travel, Wellness/Spas, Honeymoons/Destination Weddings and Culinary/ Culture. To date, 414 agents have graduated from the program, generating more than $271,000 of revenue in bookings thus far. The program was launched with a 24-page insert in Recommend magazine, reaching 46,000 travel agencies and tour operators in the U.S. and Canada, with a further 4,000 run-on brochures for travel trade distribution at shows and other trade events. The online program runs through December 2014.
“Initiatives such as CATS enable us to ensure that travel agents are well-positioned to promote the island to their clients by educating them about all that Anguilla has to offer,” commented the ATB’s Director of Tourism, Candis Niles. “By working with CAMC, our North American Sales and Marketing and Public Relations team, to identify and target niche markets both within the crucial segment of travel agents and the general consumer market we can continue to attract and motivate travelers to come and experience Destination Anguilla: Tranquility Wrapped in Blue!”
In seeking to expand the destination’s presence among key travel agents, the ATB and representatives of The Travel Marketing Network, the marketing arm of CAMC, also AND TRADE MARKETPLACES coordinated an On-Island Tour Operator Event in May 2014. Eight leading U.S. tour operator partners were hosted in Anguilla as part of on-site training on the destination and its hotels, restaurants, tours and attractions, thus enabling increased sales by these partners. The itineraries included site inspections, dining and exploration of the island’s attractions. An added bonus was a marketing presentation by the participating tour operators for the ATB and industry stakeholders as part of the event. As a result of the On-Island Tour Operator Event, Expedia will be conducting a test on selling single unit villa products and Bookit.com will begin selling the island for the first time. The event was exceptionally well received by participants, many of whom had not visited the island previously, and they departed with a greater sense of the authenticity of the Anguilla vacation experience. This event is expected to become a fixture on the calendar in future years.
Anguilla was also well-represented at the Caribbean Marketplace 2014, the Travel & Adventure Show in Washington D.C. and the New York Times Travel Show, reaching nearly 45,000 consumers, travel trade representatives, travel agents and press. The first half of the year concluded on a high note with the annual “Taste of the Caribbean” culinary competition in June in Miami. Representatives distributed Anguilla collateral to more than 500 consumers in attendance, where the Anguilla booth was the “best dressed” in the room.
Following ATB’s sponsorship of Classic Vacation’s “Circle of Excellence,” incentive event, which brought a cross section of Classic’s top travel agency producers and owners to the island, Anguilla is now invited to attend their “Agent Showcases” held in 12-15 U.S. cities and in Toronto during the month of October, 2014. These shows host between 75 and 125 agents each and will expose Anguilla to approximately 1,500 high-end agents and provide the opportunity for them to become Certified Anguilla Travel Specialists.
In addition to all the above initiatives, the team is in constant contact with online travel agencies such as Expedia and Orbitz, tour operators, potential media partners and travel industry professionals. TTMN also provides stateside support for APANY and the Anguilla Hotel & Tourism Association.
“These niche market and travel trade activities are part of our comprehensive campaign to strategically solidify the destination’s presence in the marketplace,” noted Tim Grace, principal of TTMN. “As a supplement to these initiatives, and to ensure that the island remains top of mind with the travel trade, our monthly Travel Agent E-Newsletter is circulated to approximately 1,000 agents and wholesalers with the latest news on Anguilla. The newsletter has an average open rate of 25 percent and an average click-through rate on links of 12 percent, both higher than industry averages.”
In the pipeline for future implementation are marketing programs with Expedia, Travel Impressions, Travelzoo, Google and several consumer magazines and websites. The team will also attend approved trade shows and industry events to further enhance Anguilla’s presence in the tourism marketplace.