If you were traveling to Paris, wouldn’t you love it if the French Government Tourist Office sent you some coq au vin and a baguette? Or maybe a Nutella croissant that is readily available as delicious street food? How about the makings for a café au lait?
Well, in a new and novel move, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is going to be sending travelers free meal kits so they can preview a taste of the islands typically known for offshore bank accounts. Since the Cayman Islands hope to reach many consumers who have never visited the destination, their first impressions will come through the meal kits and destination-infused recipes. As a travel marketing expert, a travel content provider, and a food marketing expert, I believe that this is an excellent example of smart tourism marketing. Foodies can rejoice!
Recently, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism launched a partnership with a Los Angeles-based meal kit delivery company that is named Chef’d; under this unique partnership, U.S. travelers can order meal kits containing ingredients of Cayman Island recipes so that they can get an idea of the exciting cuisine that the island holds in store for them.
This is unprecedented and one of the first examples of a tourism board working with a meal delivery service as part of a marketing campaign. “Unless you try something, you don’t know how successful it’ll be,” said Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “We were more specifically concentrated on a luxury, millennial, young professional clientele who is cooking at home and open to different kinds of cuisines.”
Chef’d said its customer base favors women but ranges from ages 18 to 65 and older. Consumers don’t need a subscription or membership to order from Chef’d and can place a one-time order for a meal kit.
So how about some chocolate bread pudding? The tourism board worked with four Cayman Islands-based chefs to develop the five meal-kit recipes for selections such as pina colada chicken and other delicacies. Chef’d sources all ingredients in the promotion in the United States and will ship the kits from either its headquarters in Los Angeles or from a shipping facility in Brooklyn, New York.
For a small island country in the western Caribbean, Cayman Islands boast more than 230 restaurants; they include Ripert’s Blue, which is the Caribbean’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant that is definitely worth the reservation.
“We’ve been promoting ourselves as a culinary capital of the Caribbean for quite some time,” said Harris. “Outside of other Caribbean destinations where you have a property that’s all-inclusive, our country offers the option of dining out and having a different kind of experience.”
But while the islands have earned awards and distinctions for its dining scene, it’s a huge challenge to translate that to meal kits thousands of miles away through packaging and shipping facilities before they reach consumers’ kitchens. The meal kits take between 40 to 90 minutes to prepare and cook.
The Cayman Islands are trying to distinguish itself away from traditional kinds of marketing; with the meal kits, consumers can directly engage with island recipes from hundreds of miles away from the destination. Bon appetit!
Debbi K. Kickham is Chief Content Officer of Maxima Marketing, a boutique full-service marketing firm in Westwood, Mass.