One lucky California couple got to visit the Cayman Islands for the first time free of cost and what made that even better was the fact that it was for their honeymoon.
A wedding and honeymoon can be an expensive affair, therefore many couples compromise their wishes to stay within a budget, or end up paying for it for months or even years after their nuptials. Brides Magazine ran a competition in early 2013 allowing voters around the world to choose one lucky couple that would win their dream wedding and honeymoon; no expense spared.
Six weeks later, Briana Hainley and Jason Schnitzer from California got the happy news that they were that couple. After a fairy-tale wedding at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, where every aspect of the ceremony down to the bride’s dress had been voted upon, they flew to the Cayman Islands for a magical seven-day honeymoon, sponsored by the Department of Tourism.
When interviewed on their last day in Grand Cayman, Hainley and Schnitzer were both effusively positive about their trip. It was interesting to note that neither of them had known much about the Cayman Islands prior to the competition.
“We knew it was part of the Caribbean,” said Schnitzer, “but not a whole lot. We did a bit of Googling.”
Once they had spent a week between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman, they were eager to spread the word upon their return to California.
“Now we’re excited to go home and tell our family and friends about it,” said Hainley, “[and] bring them out here!”
They also said they would “absolutely” recommend the Cayman Islands as a honeymoon or wedding destination.
Hainley and Schnitzer’s wedding was streamed live on the Internet and the entire competition involved voters from the far reaches of the globe.
The tourism department’s decision to be a sponsor of such a high-profile promotion is just one example of how it is endeavouring to make international markets more aware of the Cayman Islands and what they can offer as a vacation, wedding and honeymoon destination.
Shomari Scott, director of tourism, feels that it was an extremely worthwhile promotion, allowing the Caymankind campaign to reach people around the world via the competition and associated social media.
“The CIDOT promotes the destination in a number of top tier magazines and as a result of our existing media relationship, we were approached by BRIDES with the opportunity to become involved in this innovative initiative by offering the couple an unforgettable honeymoon in the Cayman Islands,” said Scott.
“The Department of Tourism is continuously striving for innovation in the way that we produce results for the Cayman Islands Tourism Industry and as such, we were delighted to augment our business relationship with Brides Magazine – the world’s foremost bridal brand – in this way. Through this partnership, the Cayman Islands has had the opportunity to be a part of the first-ever crowd sourced wedding to be streamed live on Facebook, which is arguably the world’s most recognized social network.”
Scott said the goal in offering the honeymoon package was to demonstrate that the Cayman Islands is innovative, courageous, and far ahead of the curve compared to what other destinations are currently doing.
“Additionally, from the perspective of having a diverse tourism product offering which encompasses three islands, the DOT was confident that we could offer the couple a wonderful honeymoon experience, filled with a range of activities and environments, affording the couple the chance to do as much or as little as they wanted to do.”
Scott said the competition has given the Cayman Islands good exposure to an important target market.
“The BRIDES Live Wedding encouraged thousands of individuals to become involved by participating in several rounds of voting prior to the wedding,” he said. “This was intended to be social media extravaganza, whereby everything from the dress and shoes to the rings and the tuxedo was voted upon by people all around the world. The wedding cake, for example, was a creation by Buddy Valastro, otherwise known as the Cake Boss from the America reality TV reality show.
“The wedding day statistics themselves are exceptionally impressive. The total viewership of the program from all sources that were carrying the video (Vestream site, Facebook app and Brides.com) was 24,322 on Sunday, 7 April 2013. These numbers are expected to grow in the coming days/weeks/months with the video on demand platform for viewers to watch it on Brides.com.”
Scott said that as of 11 April 2013, there were over 789 Million impressions for the programme, which had exceeded expectations.
“In addition, the partnership has also delivered high PR value and confirmed editorial coverage for the Cayman Islands. Overall, we are delighted with the results.”
Scott said the Department’s goal in offering the honeymoon package for the innovative social media wedding was to demonstrate to consumers that not only is the Cayman Islands the best place for romance, but that it was also way ahead of the pack compared to other destinations.
“It should be noted that the majority of the persons who followed the couple through this experience and voted on their wedding experience have an interest in romance/honeymoons and may well consider the Cayman Islands as the destination for their own future wedding or could recommend our destination to friends and family who are getting ready to walk down the aisle. With our Islands fast earning the reputation as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, we are thrilled that our leadership position has been further enhanced through this creative and exciting partnership.”
Scott said the Department of Tourism was happy to have been a part of the creative partnership with Brides Magazine.
“Through this enterprise, we have had the opportunity to make Jason and Briana’s honeymoon one to remember and now that they’ve come and experienced our Caymankindness for themselves, we are sure that they’ve departed as new ambassadors for the Cayman Islands.”