The message came through loud and clear at the Honeymoon and
Romantic Getaways Show earlier this month in Long Beach, Calif.:
Specialize, specialize, specialize.
What the niche is doesn’t matter. But at the show I learned more
about the fast-growing destination wedding market when I moderated
a panel on Caribbean resorts that included two sales executives and
a travel agent nay, a wedding coordinator from Royal Oak, Mich.
That’s what Sandra Smith of Directional Strategies calls herself
because that’s what she does plans weddings and honeymoons in
She advertises in regional wedding magazines, attends bridal
shows and networks with fellow members of the Association of Bridal
Consultants. She books five to 10 weddings a month, averaging seven
rooms per wedding.
Adding to her success is the fact that she only actively sells
22 resorts on eight Caribbean islands. You can bet she knows those
properties intimately, and can name the wedding coordinator at each
without checking her Rolodex.
And that expertise no doubt increases the odds couples won’t be
disappointed with their once-in-a-lifetime ceremony and that
they’ll return to book their first-anniversary trip.
Destination weddings are a booming segment of the honeymoon
market. Melissa Mango, an Orange County-based national account
manager for Sandals, said the high-profile, couples-only chain
conducted 12,000 weddings last year, a fourfold increase in seven
Becky Johnson, of Kahala Travel in San Diego, attended the panel
and was furiously scribbling notes on her recently chosen
specialty. “Specialization makes a difference,” she told me. “You
really need to know your little area and know it well.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.