Caribbean holiday destinations are currently in peak global demand. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism product outperformed global competition last year, attracting a record 28.7 million visitors and injecting US$30 billion into Caribbean economies.
Against this favourable backdrop, May Hinds Consulting Inc., a Barbadian-based regional tourism and hospitality consulting firm, has teamed up with TCI Research, a United Nations World Tourism Organization-awarded global research firm based in Brussels, Belgium, to help position Caribbean destinations to generate even greater earnings by targeting more high-spending affluent visitors.
“A great opportunity currently exists in this high-end segment of the market for national tourism organizations, hotels and other tourism service providers,” says May Hinds, CEO of May Hinds Consulting Inc.
“Capitalizing on this opportunity, however, requires access to specialized market research information which is what TCI Research is providing through our strategic partnership.”
TCI Research, which specializes in international tourism competitive intelligence, destination and travel segment analysis, recently carried out a study which has yielded a conclusive profile of affluent visitors to the Caribbean. The findings form the basis of a marketing support product, specifically designed for the region, that targets national tourism organizations, hotels and other tourism service providers.
“Our aim is to enable these entities to gain a better understanding of the specific needs of affluent visitors in order to deliver a quality of service which meets or, better yet, exceeds their expectations,” says Hinds, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The product provides specific answers to questions like where affluent visitors tend to spend the most money, how they go about choosing the Caribbean over competing destinations, how long they stay on average, and into what age group they mostly fall.”
The TCI Research study found that affluent visitors to the Caribbean were mostly couples and families in the 35 to 50 plus age group. They choose the region mostly on the recommendation of friends and relatives, stay on average 7.7 nights, and come primarily to relax. During their stay, they engage in diverse beach activities and heavily patronize nightlife, bars and clubs, among other things.
The study also found that once they leave satisfied, 35 per cent of affluent visitors tend to return to the destination at a future date while 65 per cent will recommend to friends, relatives and others in their social circle that they too should visit. Another finding was that 65 per cent will go online and post write-ups about their holiday experience, making this segment of the visitor market highly active Web influencers.