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Looking for Love: Diversifying the Romance Market

Everyone is looking for love, especially Caribbean hoteliers. The romance travel market is a multi-billion dollar industry, which in spite of the hardships undergone in 2016, continues to grow. Destination weddings and honeymoons are wonderful ways to generate large ticket sales and grow a loyal client base. According to Travelmarket Report, the Caribbean is still the most desired destination for lovebirds. With beautiful sunsets over romantic beaches, affordable prices, and relatively short travel times, the Caribbean is still king when it comes to destination weddings, but it’s not just about the beach any more. The Caribbean needs to diversify its product and better target unconventional audiences to succeed in the romance market.

Unconventional Ceremonies
Couples are searching for wedding experiences beyond the conventional ceremony and reception. A breathtaking wedding ceremony on the beach is not enough. Bringing in a different location, like a wedding on a boat or on a rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean, are a bigger draw. Ceremonies that incorporate local culture and traditions are also highly coveted. In short, couples are looking for unique experiences. Bigger, better, and more lavish ceremonies with smaller guests lists at smaller properties that will photograph beautifully for social media, are driven by the millennial bride. One of the most popular trends are sunrise ceremonies in unusual outdoor locations. According to Travel Daily News, travelers are 1.5 times more likely to choose a location involving the outdoors.

New Types of Honeymoons
There are three new types of honeymoons that are becoming more and more popular with the millennial market:
• The Mini Moon: a short two-three day honeymoon instead of the longer traditional honeymoon. Especially popular among younger couples, this allows the newlyweds to celebrate their honeymoon immediately after the wedding, and plan for the “real honeymoon” when both the bride and groom can get more time off. Many properties that rate high for romance by guests offer great weekend packages to keep couples coming back to renew the romance.
• The Split Moon: in order to experience more of the local culture and explore more of the destination, couples are getting married in one location and honeymooning in another. Get married in San Juan, Puerto Rico and honeymoon at El Yunque.
•  The Volunteer Moon: a honeymoon to exotic locations that allow the bride and groom to satisfy their desire for adventure and social responsibility. According to Kaya Honeymoon Volunteers, couples are using their honeymoon as an opportunity to see the world, gain new experiences and have a positive impact on a community.

Target New Markets
• Indian and Southeast Asian weddings: according to Travelmarket Report, these weddings are traditionally large in size and very profitable. To profit from these niche weddings it is paramount to educate your hotel staff and event coordinators on the cultural nuances to best serve this lucrative market.
• Baby Boomers: this billion dollar market is made up of couples ranging in age between 50 and 70 years of age. According to a study conducted by AARP, when baby boomers travel to rekindle the romance with their partners they are looking to have a “bucket list” experience. They want to be able to have the honeymoon they were not able to afford when they first got married. They are not fans of colder climates, so tropical locations are at the top of their most anticipated destinations. They want to be taken away from their everyday lives, and relax in exotic and pampering accommodations.

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