Smart Tourism Marketing: Taste The Cayman Islands

If you were traveling to Paris, wouldn’t you love it if the French Government Tourist Office sent you some coq au vin and a baguette?  Or maybe a Nutella croissant that is readily available as delicious street food? How about the makings for a café au lait?

Well, in a new and novel move, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is going to be sending travelers free meal kits so they can preview a taste of the islands typically known for offshore bank accounts. Since the Cayman Islands hope to reach many consumers who have never visited the destination, their first impressions will come through the meal kits and destination-infused recipes. As a travel marketing expert, a travel content provider, and a food marketing expert, I believe that this is an excellent example of smart tourism marketing. Foodies can rejoice!

Recently, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism launched a partnership with a Los Angeles-based meal kit delivery company that is named Chef’d; under this unique partnership, U.S. travelers can order meal kits containing ingredients of Cayman Island recipes so that they can get an idea of the exciting cuisine that the island holds in store for them.

This is unprecedented and one of the first examples of a tourism board working with a meal delivery service as part of a marketing campaign. “Unless you try something, you don’t know how successful it’ll be,” said Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “We were more specifically concentrated on a luxury, millennial, young professional clientele who is cooking at home and open to different kinds of cuisines.”

Chef’d said its customer base favors women but ranges from ages 18 to 65 and older. Consumers don’t need a subscription or membership to order from Chef’d and can place a one-time order for a meal kit.

So how about some chocolate bread pudding? The tourism board worked with four Cayman Islands-based chefs to develop the five meal-kit recipes for selections such as pina colada chicken and other delicacies.  Chef’d sources all ingredients in the promotion in the United States and will ship the kits from either its headquarters in Los Angeles or from a shipping facility in Brooklyn, New York.

For a small island country in the western Caribbean, Cayman Islands boast more than 230 restaurants; they include Ripert’s Blue, which is the Caribbean’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant that is definitely worth the reservation.

“We’ve been promoting ourselves as a culinary capital of the Caribbean for quite some time,” said Harris. “Outside of other Caribbean destinations where you have a property that’s all-inclusive, our country offers the option of dining out and having a different kind of experience.”

But while the islands have earned awards and distinctions for its dining scene, it’s a huge challenge to translate that to meal kits thousands of miles away through packaging and shipping facilities before they reach consumers’ kitchens.  The meal kits take between 40 to 90 minutes to prepare and cook.

The Cayman Islands are trying to distinguish itself away from traditional kinds of marketing; with the meal kits, consumers can directly engage with island recipes from hundreds of miles away from the destination. Bon appetit!

Debbi K. Kickham is Chief Content Officer of Maxima Marketing, a boutique full-service marketing firm in Westwood, Mass.,





Smart Travel Marketing: Set Sail With Ritz-Carlton Yachts

Like to stay at the Ritz?  Well, I’ve got news for you – the luxury hotel chain has just created its own line of yachts so that you can cruise in upscale style. As a travel marketing expert and a travel content creator, and Chief Content Officer of Maxima Marketing, I applaud this new venture!

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., part of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), last week announced its entry into luxury yachting and cruises – bringing the award-winning luxury hotel brand’s service and timeless style to sea. Created by The Ritz-Carlton and maritime experts Douglas Prothero and Lars Clasen, in collaboration with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., The Ritz-Carlton will provide luxury hospitality service under a long-term operating agreement. Named The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, this venture represents a unique foray into the cruise industry for a luxury hotel operator. The first of three lavish cruising yachts in this series is scheduled to take to sea in the fourth quarter of 2019, and distinguishes Marriott International as the only provider of luxury accommodations both on land and at sea. What a great way to go!

“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will have a distinctive personality and the vessels are sure to be true stand outs in some of the most glamorous ports around the world,” said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “This unique combination of yachting and cruising will usher in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover the world in a relaxed, casually elegant and comfortable atmosphere with the highest level of personalized service.”

Itineraries are being developed with an intent to combine the lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton’s five-star luxury properties and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation. Calling at intimate and signature destinations alike, voyages will range from seven to ten days. The first ship will cruise a wide variety of destinations depending on the season, including the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. Due to the intimate size of the vessel, the yacht will call at unique locations typically not accessible to large cruise ships, from Capri and Portofino to St. Barths and the old town of Cartagena. With a relaxed pace, that includes both overnight and daytime ports of call, guests will be offered a uniquely curated destination experience.

The specially designed small capacity vessel will measure 190-meters, accommodate up to 298 passengers, and feature 149 suites, each with its own private balcony. The yacht will also feature two 138 square-meter lavish duplex penthouse suites, with modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and leading cruise ship design firm, Tillberg Design of Sweden. The onboard experience will reflect the sublime comfort and unparalleled level of individualized guest service for which the iconic Ritz-Carlton brand is recognized; a first in the cruise industry.

“The Ritz-Carlton is known for its legendary service and high standards,” said Douglas Prothero Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. “We are delighted to collaborate with The Ritz-Carlton as our hospitality operator in offering the most exclusive yachting experience to be found at sea in a venture that will give new meaning to curated luxury travel,” continued Lars Clasen, Managing Director, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

Throughout the journey, guests will indulge in a cruising style that is unparalleled in the ultra-luxury cruise and private yachting sectors. The Ritz-Carlton yachts will feature a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the three Michelin-starred restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg; a signature Ritz-Carlton Spa; and a Panorama Lounge and wine bar, offering a wide variety of onboard entertainment. Additionally, the yacht will offer one-of-a-kind curated destination journeys through collaborations with local chefs, musicians and artists, allowing guests to experience the locations in unique and experiential ways, both onboard and ashore.

Reservations will open in May 2018. The ships of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are also available for private charter. How about chartering it for your destination wedding on board?  That would be delightful!

For more information, please visit Bon Voyage!


AT&T’s new “It Can Wait” Safe-Driving Campaign Is Brilliant and Smart Marketing

I am aggressive in my life, when it comes to working towards success, for example. Maybe I should just say that I am assertive. But there is one place where I totally give that up and become defensive every day: in the car. That’s right – I drive defensively. I totally “watch out for the other guy” – which was a successful driver-safety civic–marketing campaign, when I grew up in the Sixties.

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified of other drivers. Why? Because, chances are, someone behind the wheel – near to me and my car – is texting or Snapchatting while driving. It scares the bejesus out of me. Last night I drove three hours from Trumbull, Conn., to my home in the Boston area, and I worried the entire time that THE OTHER GUY was going to text and drive and swerve and crash into me on the Mass Pike. And then my life would be over.

That’s why I’m thrilled to know about – and participate in – AT&T’s excellent new marketing campaign called “It Can Wait.” See this link: This is one of the best driving safety marketing campaigns I have ever seen.
This wonderful, smart, and important program encourages every driver to “take the pledge” and to vow and commit to never texting when they are in the driver’s seat. It makes IMPORTANT points – that it’s never OK to text while driving (or to do Snapchat), and that NO ONE’S LIFE is worth a text. If you kill someone as the result of looking at a text when you are driving – would that EVER be worth it? Take the AT&T simulated drive and you’ll be terrified into action. Even if you are in the car alone, you are not alone on the road. In my opinion, you should just TURN OFF the cellphone in the car, so you won’t even be tempted. Turn the phone on if you are lost, and need to pull over to get directions or to make a phone call. Or to tell someone you are late. In my humble opinion, I think even changing the channel on the radio is dangerous – that’s probably why my brand new Toyota Corolla has a radio-changer fitted into the steering wheel of my new car. One second, if you take your eyes off the road – and disaster can happen.

Please read this impressive blog post that my husband Bill wrote about this – the powerful video he embedded in his post is one of the best I have ever seen on this subject. My husband Bill is a Boston personal-injury attorney and he knows firsthand how incredibly dangerous it is to drive and text.
With a AT&T campaign like this, I’m proud to be an AT&T customer. I’m also a published author of a marketing book, (Off The Wall Marketing Ideas) and a marketing communications writer, ( and a travel content creator, and I KNOW a great public-relations campaign when I see one. I am also a former Editor of Robb Report Magazine, where I wrote mountains of articles about luxury cars. Congratulations to AT&T. Now let’s all get onboard, in the car, and do the right thing. For everyone.

Azamara Club Cruises: Smart Marketing

In my many years as a professional marketing expert, brand ambassador, and travel content provider, I’ve seen lots of examples of bad marketing. You can read about some of them on my blog. The Heart Attack Café in Las Vegas is just one example that comes to mind. Who in their right mind wants to frequent a restaurant that just might make you die?
But I digress.
I just love smart marketing. Marketing that puts a tiger in your tank, makes you admire its creativity, and inspires you to check out what the brand is all about. That’s why Azamara Club Cruises is a winner.
For one thing, what sets Azamara Club Cruises apart is that its ships spend more time in port – unlike the large, mass-market ships out there. There are none of the typical 3PM afternoon departures. Instead, what you get are days AND nights in port, so that you can, for example, go out to dinner, do something fun, or attend an “AzaMazing” complimentary evening. When we were just in Malta, for example, we attended an extraordinary concert by a choir, in the town’s main cathedral. It was awe-inspiring – and complimentary to all cruise guests. All of these things set Azamara Club Cruises apart. The small size of its ships also allows for frequent, easy access to towns, and docking at the piers – instead of having to take in the tender. Furthermore, why take a shuttle bus into town if you don’t have to?
And, in another example of great marketing, have you ever wondered where the name “Azamara” comes from? Azamara is a coined term derived from the Romance languages. This includes the more obvious links to blue (az) and the sea (mar). The name was also inspired by a star, Acamar. In classical times, the star Acamar was the most southerly bright star that could be seen from the latitude of Greece. Azamara, the brand, thinks of itself as a star on the blue sea. In their marketing materials, Azamara says, “We love the flowing name that conjures up imagery of magnificent journeys around the world.”
This is not just smart marketing; it’s brilliant marketing.

Limousines of CT: The Vroom At The Top

What to do if you’re a travel executive — or just an ordinary business person or on vacation — and want a car in Qatar?

We wanted a thoroughly professional car service, not only to JFK Airport, but one that could also easily transport us in Europe, and for that matter, all across the globe. We selected Limousines of Connecticut based on its excellent reputation and the fact that it has affiliates all across the globe, to assist you in your transportation in foreign countries – everywhere from Europe to Kuwait and Qatar.

This is smart travel marketing — I love the concept — and as a marketing writer and bestselling travel writer, I can tell you that Limousines of Connecticut is your go-to-guide for global transportation.

Limousines of Connecticut has been providing excellence in all aspects of wedding and 8-passenger limousine services, setting the highest standards. The Connecticut limousine service is taking the experience to the next stage by announcing that it has reduced rates for 2016. Now it will be more affordable to book limousines in Connecticut, even for those bigger parties with higher demands for large transportation options around Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
It offers transportation services for:

• Weddings
• Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
• Sweet 15 and 16’s parties
• Wine Tours
• Shopping Tours
• NYC Tours
• Casino Transportation
• Airport Service to all major airports in the Tri-state and Florida.

Most of the vehicles in the fleet are high-end brands: Mercedes, Cadillac Escalades, Hummers, and stretch sedans.
It’s first-class service — all the way.

(203) 344-0066

Smart Travel Marketing: Sealed With A Kiss

How do you make lemonade out of a lemon? Especially in the travel business? I discovered an effective travel marketing program at Sandals, Jamaica, and as a travel content marketer, I can tell you it is a great idea.
Apparently, at Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, management was worried about the noise due to the hotel’s proximity to the airport – just ten minutes away. So, when the flagship property in Montego Bay opened back in 1981, founder Butch Stewart came up with an idea. He created a special tradition. Whenever a plane flew overhead at Sandals, guests were told to kiss each other, while team members were told to instructed at the plane.
The tradition lives on and all guests are seen smooching while planes fly overhead.
Apparently no one seems to mind!
And here’s another example of smart travel marketing.
In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, tourism to Brussels dropped. As a result, Visit Brussels launched an incredibly clever program to boost visitors to the city. It was called the #CallBrussels campaign, and it was born to enable local people to convince visitors of the city’s safety. Three phone booths were installed in three different locations in Brussels so that passersby could answer the phone, and vet that their city was safe! Calls were made to the phones between January 7th and 11th via the website, and there was even a webcam to film the action.
More than 12,000 people from 154 different countries called in!
It was a smart way to convince travelers that Brussels was indeed, not a war zone but a lively city filled with a wealth of fun and cultural activities.

I love smart, clever marketing ideas such as these.

This is what my book, Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, is all about! Let me know if I can design some clever marketing, PR or social media for your business.

Too-Small Airline Seats? Here’s A Solution.

If you’ve traveled anywhere by plane recently, I’m sure you’ve noticed – the seats have progressively shrunk. When you’re squished into an airline seat – with nowhere to go, never mind stretch – you’ve felt the pain. The seat pitch – which is the distance between a point on an airline seat, and the identical spot on the seat in front of it – has shrunk from 35 inches in the Seventies, to about 31 inches now. That’s four inches of legroom. G-O-N-E. Seat widths have also dropped from 18.5 inches to about 16.5. And now someone really wants to do something about it. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat in New York, wants the Federal Aviation Administration to finally establish special standards for seats on airlines. In his words, the airlines have been causing passengers to sit like sardines. It’s true. My husband Bill and I dread any flight, even it’s for an hour. Note to airline marketers: You would do well to market and promote the fact that you aren’t going to change the size of your seats, and may in fact, even enlarge them. As a travel content provider, and travel marketing expert, I know that an airline that could ensure comfort and safety would entice passengers in droves. That would be very smart marketing. (And you thought only George Costanza of Seinfeld spoke about “shrinkage.”)

Fairmont Kea Lani Has Smart Marketing Afoot

Here’s a marketing tip that’s perfect for summer.
The posh Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui is one of my most favorite resorts in the entire world. Everything about this haute hotel is divine – from the all-suite rooms, to the private villas where celebrities stay, to its award-winning restaurant Ko that has been named the best restaurant on Maui.
Recently, my husband Bill needed to mend his broken beach sandals, when we were staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani on assignment for several magazines. He bought his sandals to the concierge, who gave them to one of the team members in Maintenance. Faster than you can say, “Flip flops,” Bill received his mended sandals. The Fairmont Kea Lani maintenance worker simply used tile caulking to fix the sandals and they were good as new.
Furthermore, making the situation even more sweeter – the maintenance worker also gave my husband a complimentary pair of the hotel’s signature flip flop sandals. That action was a fantastic example of how this resort always goes the extra mile, for guest satisfaction. We were wowed by that. And get this: Not only do these sandals bear the hotel’s name, but the underside, on the sole, carries a marketing secret: The words “Fairmont” and “Kea Lani” are carved into each of the soles, so that when you walk on the beach – especially wet sand – the name of the resort is embedded into the sand. Brilliant!! This literally makes these sandals the epitome of a “walking advertisement.” Clever!
As a Boston marketing consultant, travel writer, and content creator, who loves savvy marketing ideas, the Fairmont Kea Lani’s signature sandals are a great example of a creative marketing solution. This is thinking outside the beach — and dare I say it? — thinking outside the bunion.

Fairmont’s Lifestyle Cuisine is Smart Marketing

I’m a food-lover.  Yet, because I’m always watching my weight and trying to eat healthy, I am constantly giving up the things I crave (well, almost).   I always desire all kinds of delicious goodies – who doesn’t?  Such as Nutella.  Or Muesli. Or cheese omelets. Or ravioli filled with wild mushrooms.  I could go on and on.

That’s why, as a hospitality marketing expert,  and a food marketing expert, I’m thrilled – yes, THRILLED – with the incredible Lifestyle Cuisine that is offered by Fairmont hotels and resorts around the world.  In all of my travels, over the past 25 years, I would be hard-pressed to find another hotel brand that offers such a terrific array of cuisines that are Heart-Healthy, Sugar-Balanced, Vegan, and even Raw and Macrobiotic. If you care about your weight, health and well-being – especially when you travel – check out Fairmont and take advantage of its  brand-wide healthy initiatives. You’ll be amazed.

For example, when my husband Bill and I stay at the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui, we always take advantage of their delicious breakfast buffet.  One big reason is that I can request a made-to-order, butter-free, dry two-egg omelet made with just one ounce of cheese.  It’s absolutely delicious, and I don’t have to feel guilty. And it’s easy to fill my plate with fresh fruits that are filled with fiber and vitamins. I might even have one of the buffet’s  small bran muffins or an English muffin.

But guess what.  On the breakfast menu are other unbelievable tasty goodies. Heart-healthy entrees include delicious Bircher Muesli; tropical granola made with yogurt and lavender-honey; and wholegrain pancakes.  Dee-lish.

Watching your sugar intake? Have the toasted macadamia-nut waffles or the mushroom omelet.

Vegan? Try the tofu scramble with upcountry vegetables or the banana French toast.

No matter what you order or what your diet is, Fairmont promises that your special dietary needs will be met, and that your dish will be both flavorful and elegantly presented.

This is excellent, excellent marketing, and a welcome addition to the travel world. Fairmont is to be applauded for its Lifestyle Cuisine. It will help you make smarter nutritional choices including those that are low-carb, lowfat, Mediterranean and vegetarian.

There’s even a special Lifestyle Cuisine PLUS, which is designed to cater to people with diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease or food allergies. It’s impressive – especially since the USA is in the midst of an obesity epidemic.

Other wellness initiatives that Fairmont offers include Fairmont Fit athletic gear delivered to your guest room; Fairmont wellness teas at your room’s coffee station; ionizers placed in your guest room upon request; and signature pillow menus as well as hypoallergenic pillows and duvets.

These are all hotel marketing ideas that make taste, not waist.

Kristin Chenoweth New Godmother for Royal Caribbean International

What do cruise lines do to market themselves, to set themselves apart from the competition? They select a prominent individual to be that line’s “Godmother,” who is part spokesperson and part role model and advertisement for the cruise line. As a Boston copywriter and Boston branding expert, I believe that selecting the perfect Godmother is always a smart cruise line marketing strategy.

Actress Kristin Chenoweth has been named Godmother to Royal Caribbean International’s much anticipated new cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas. RCI announced the appointment during a red carpet-inspired commercial that aired during ABC’s broadcast of the Oscars in February 2013.

According to a RCI press release, the petite blonde was selected because of her effervescent, bubbly personality and ability to wow her audiences with her performances. The press release states that Chenoweth’s versatility made her a natural fit, especially since Quantum of the Seas, which is set to debut in the Fall of 2014, will showcase unprecedented experiences and amenities only attainable on Royal Caribbean International. Cruise line Godmothers not only break champagne bottles to christen a ship, but each one also serves as a guiding spirit to crew and guests. Typically, Godmothers have been heads of state, politicians and celebrities. Royal Caribbean hopes to capture the essence of the Godmother role by choosing women whose achievements and accomplishments showcase the courage, dedication and determination that are an inspiration to all.

“Kristin’s effortless grace and dynamic performances align perfectly with our newest class of ships and we could not be more honored to have her represent Quantum of the Seas,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises. “Working with such a remarkable and versatile woman for one of maritime’s longest-standing traditions is an exciting experience.”

Royal Caribbean is famous for its world class entertainment, and was the first cruise line to introduce fully-licensed Broadway productions onboard its ships. They currently feature Saturday Night Fever, Hairspray and Chicago:The Musical. With Chenoweth’s renowned background as an entertainer, the two brands perfectly complement each other.

Said Chenoweth: “I am so excited to be named Godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas. I have been lucky to play many roles and I am looking forward to this one.”