April 05, 2012
Papa John's, a multi-billion-dollar corporation, is partnering with hotels in the Family Islands to boost tourism numbers.
The marketing alliance is expected to touch up to 120 million U.S. citizens every month.
Arguably one of the largest joint marketing campaigns between the two nations, the initiative is also meant to finally place lesser-known islands on the map.
"We are launching a joint marketing deal with Papa John's across the country in the next week or two. It also looks like we'll have Bank of America," said Jim Swieter, the president and owner of TrendRight Marketing. "For years, nobody in the U.S. possessed a true understanding of the Family Islands. They only know Atlantis. The problem is, you can't get the airlines straightened out with the demand. So we're trying to fix that."
Swieter is now in the country signing up hotels to join the ambitious campaign.
The first promotion, he said, involves a "Caribbean Combo" offered by the popular pizza franchise. If a customer orders 15 of them over the course of a year, it entitles the individual to three free nights at a Family Island hotel.
Customers are directed to the TrendRight Travel website, he said, and bookings are made from there.
"Many of these hotels have empty rooms, why not use them? he asked. "These hotels are contributing room nights to the Papa John's reward program in exchange for massive marketing. There are no hard dollars."
The hope is U.S. tourists will add additional nights when they come to The Bahamas, become repeat visitors, and of course spend while they are in the country.
This should also come as welcomed news to Bahamian and foreign airlines operating out of the U.S.
David Johnson, the director general at the Ministry of Tourism, called it an "ambitious program". According to him, creating an awareness of far-flung destinations is the most important benefit. While it's difficult to quantify what the campaign could be worth to the bottom line, he said "awareness will stimulate business, but it's not immediate".
"However, the campaign seems very broad. To predict the number of room nights though would be impossible at this stage," Johnson added.
Based on the estimation it should reach 120 million people per month - through commercials, the Internet and the mail - Swieter told Guardian Business that even if just half of 1 percent are hooked, "you're talking about tens of thousands of people".
He noted that Bank of America is also close to joining the initiative, adding a further 120 million prospective eyes to the campaign. By the end of the year, Swieter said he wants the Family Island initiative to be a "billion-dollar marketing gorilla".
The executive said the campaign may eventually incorporate New Providence.
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