BASSETERRE, St Kitts -- Voicing support for the re-launching of the Caribbean regional brand as a single destination, Jose Salvador Icaza, director of membership development, Caribbean for Choice Hotels International, has urged smaller hotels to consider branding options to increase their visibility and operational efficiency in a highly competitive marketplace.
Praising last week's Caribbean Tourism Organization State of the Industry conference in St Kitts, held under the theme "Developing a Winning Tourism Strategy," Icaza confirmed the Caribbean remains a highly desirable destination, and will continue to be a destination of choice for travelers.
"We wholeheartedly support pronouncements made by regional leaders this week to promote the diversity of the region under one brand," stated Icaza.
But, he urged hotels and resorts -- especially some of the smaller ones who are struggling to keep their heads above water -- to examine the benefits of selective branding and options which help them retain their uniqueness and charm while expanding their reach.
Icaza pointed to one such product being offered by Choice Hotels International -- the Ascend Hotel Collection membership program. The upscale affiliation, he added, offers Caribbean hotels access to a powerful reservations system and robust marketing without abandoning their unique, historic or boutique identities.
Choice Hotels, one of the world's largest hotel franchisors, is the franchisor for eight hotels in the Caribbean islands of The Bahamas, Curacao, Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico. The company currently has projects under development in Anguilla, Dominica and Haiti and is in the final stages of negotiation to award a franchise to a hotel development in St Maarten in the Dutch West Indies.