JAM | May 17, 2023

Kesi Gardner | Capitalising on 1.5 million tourists to Jamaica for boutique hotels: A window to success

/ Our Today

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Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, addressing the United Nations (UN) General Assembly during a high-level thematic debate on the theme ‘Putting sustainable and resilient tourism at the heart of an inclusive recovery’ on May 4. (Photo: UN Web TV)

Amidst the fierce competition in the market, as the Jamaican tourism sector continues on its robust growth trajectory for 2023, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has revealed that as of May 10, 2023, the island has welcomed just over 1.5 million total visitors, with provisional gross earnings exceeding US$ 1.6 billion for the same period.

Due to the uptick of visitors to the island, the significance of publicity for boutique hotels cannot be overstated. In the ever-evolving landscape of the hospitality industry, boutique hotels have emerged as unique and captivating alternatives to traditional accommodations. With their intimate ambience, personalized services, and distinctive designs, boutique hotels offer a remarkable travel experience. 

Driving visibility and recognition

Publicity acts as a powerful catalyst for increasing the visibility and recognition of boutique hotels. Through targeted media campaigns, press releases, and strategic partnerships, these establishments can reach a broader audience and attract potential guests. By sharing their unique features, including location, architecture, amenities, and personalised services, boutique hotels can differentiate themselves from larger chain hotels and capture the attention of discerning travellers seeking a more intimate and authentic experience.

Enhancing reputational capital

In the digital age, the reputation of a hotel can make or break its success. Publicity serves as a conduit for building a positive reputation for boutique hotels. Reviews, features, and testimonials in influential media outlets not only generate interest but also foster credibility and trust among prospective guests. By leveraging social media platforms, boutique hotels can engage with guests directly, respond to feedback, and showcase their commitment to exceptional service. A strong reputation enhances the hotel’s desirability, leading to increased bookings and guest loyalty.

Tourists walk along the famous ‘Seven-Mile Beach’ in Negril, Westmoreland. (Photo: Sheldon Levene)

Staying ahead of competition

Competition in the hospitality industry is fierce, and boutique hotels face the challenge of standing out amidst a sea of options. Effective publicity strategies enable these establishments to highlight their unique selling points and capture the attention of potential guests. By creating compelling narratives around their history, design, sustainability practices, and local engagement, boutique hotels can differentiate themselves from the competition and carve a niche in the market. Strategic collaborations with local businesses, influencers, and travel bloggers can further amplify their visibility and foster a sense of exclusivity.

Showcasing authentic experiences

One of the key draws of boutique hotels is the promise of an authentic and immersive experience for guests. Publicity efforts play a critical role in showcasing the local culture, heritage, and experiences offered by these establishments. By partnering with local artisans, tour operators, and cultural organizations, boutique hotels can curate unique guest experiences that go beyond conventional tourist attractions. Promoting these experiences through captivating storytelling and visual content helps create an emotional connection with potential guests and positions the hotel as a gateway to the destination’s hidden treasures.

Contributing to destination development

Boutique hotels not only cater to the individual traveller but also contribute significantly to the overall development of destinations. Publicity initiatives that highlight the economic, social, and environmental benefits brought by boutique hotels are instrumental in garnering support from local communities, government agencies, and investors.

The crystal clear water at Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica, has a temperature between 22 and 28 degrees all year round. (Photo: REUTERS)

By showcasing their sustainability initiatives, community engagement programmes, and job creation efforts, boutique hotels can position themselves as responsible contributors to destination development, attracting conscious travellers seeking meaningful experiences.

In the competitive landscape of the hospitality industry, boutique hotels rely on effective publicity strategies to stand out, gain visibility, and attract guests.

As demonstrated by the recent milestones announced by Minister Bartlett at the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace, publicity plays a vital role in the success of boutique hotels in 2023.

From enhancing visibility and reputation to differentiating from the competition and showcasing authentic experiences, the power of publicity is undeniable.

Jamaican PR executive and CEO of The Storyteller Agency Co., Kesi Gardner. (Photo: Contributed)

By leveraging strategic partnerships, digital platforms, and compelling storytelling, boutique hotels can continue to captivate travellers and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the industry in the years to come.

Kesi Gardner is an educator, marketing consultant, and storyteller. She has worked in the non-profit world, PR, and marketing positions for more than 20 years and runs a lifestyle marketing agency named The Storyteller Agency Co., which is Jamaica’s premier luxury travel, hospitality, and lifestyle PR agency with storytelling at its ethos creating visibility for its portfolio of clients. 


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