Travel Agent recently sat down with members of the travel marketing firm, Caribbean Tourism Investment Company Limited (CTICo), and learned just what has made the company so successful in roughly one year of operation and also got the skinny on a new social media marketing strategy the company is undertaking.
CTICo is operated under joint venture with Edmund Bartlett, who is the company’s chairman and the former minister of tourism for Jamaica, where the company is based.
“This is the big advantage because tourism, as you know, is a business relationship,” says Bartlett. “It is about trust and the confidence that people have in you as an individual and of course the knowledge based on performance and I think my work as minister gives me a big advantage in these regards. Already we are stretching into to a lot of the islands of the Caribbean as well as Spain.
We are basically focusing on creating a one-stop supermarket for all tourism services.”
Ron McKay, CEO of CTICo and sister company ADS Global Limited, says his company is expanding office space to accommodate the business brought CTICo, which is a marketing firm involved in product and brand promotion for hotels and attractions. CTICo launched into business last year after months spent in product development and marketing since its conception in August 2012.
“We wanted to fill a void in the marketplace for hotel resorts, excursions, airlines, destination consulting, tourism board and ministries of tourism that are not directly connected or contracted out to large, huge management companies like your Marriotts, or Hiltons or Starwoods of the world, to be able to give them a level playing field for customer service, back office support, reservations, marketing support, loyalty rewards and now social media support,” McKay told Travel Agent.
The social media aspect McKay refers to is a recent partnership that CTICo undertook with social media analysts, Social Strategy 1. Social Strategy 1 is a total media intelligence service that combines natural language processing and data mining technology with subject matter-experts who analyze digital conversation to create profitable insights for its clients.
And social media is definitely where CTICO wants to be considering that two billion people are using social media across more than 100 social media channels and more than 85 percent of online purchases are driven by online ratings and reviews, says Jim Iyoob, senior vice president of corporate development for ILD Corp, parent company of Social Strategy 1.
“The market forces are changing with traditional advertising space,” says Iyoob. “Billboards, radio and all that stuff doesn’t really target your potential customer. It’s a broad range. What we have done is we are able to create call-to-action responses to target audiences. It’s true one-to-one audience engagement.”
To date, more than $1 million has been invested in developing back-office operations, leasing new space, legal representation, new hires and networking at ADS’ Montego Bay offices at Fairview Office Centre.
“One of the keys to our support is we drive brand awareness, repeat business, acquisition of a new visitor if you’re a tourism board or acquisition of new person coming to your hotel,” says McKay. “You want to get them back because of all of the competition out there.”