If you are a travel affiliate or a travel supplier selling (or thinking of selling) the Caribbean, then the CHTA’s new research repository should be of special interest.  The CHTA (Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association) has just launched the CHTA Data Center, a ‘members only’ resource tool which provides destination-specific market research, surveys, reports, statistics, analyses and other useful travel information on the Caribbean region.

Possessing up-to-date information as what travel products and services travel consumers are buying, how these products and services are trending in the market, identifying and understanding shifts in the competitive environment and keeping an eye on the key ‘movers and shakers’ are all critical to ensuring the success of any travel affiliate’s or travel supplier’s marketing campaign, regardless of the destination they sell.

For the Caribbean, the CHTA Data Center has been designed to be the repository for much of this information – and more.  For example, according to the CHTA, the Data Center’s current database includes the following destination-specific statistics, data sets, presentations and reports:

  • Hotel occupancy, RevPAR and visitor arrivals aggregated from member hotel associations as well as Regional Monthly Reports on lodging performance and arrivals from Smith Travel Research (STR) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
  • The June 2009 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Economic Impact Study for Caribbean Tourism
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presentation on the airline industry delivered at CHTIC 2009
  • STR reports prepared especially for CHTA’s Board of Directors comparing the Caribbean’s hotel and tourism industry performance to other warm weather destinations
  • The Caribbean Construction and Modernization Report, a new monthly report prepared by Smith Travel Research

This sampling of reports and data sets are just the tip of the iceberg, for according to Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, President of CHTA, the Association will continue to augment and expand its knowledge database as more of its island members and their related tourism authorities report monthly statistics and data.

In the press release announcing the Data Center’s launch, Kaluche said that “As the voice of the Caribbean’s private tourism sector, it is our goal to provide a single resource for statistical information, studies and presentations relating to the region,” adding that “The aggregated data will have widespread applications for a variety of CHTA members from investment companies and developers examining current trends in the region to hotels and tour operators looking to be more competitive in the global market.”

The CHTA describes itself today as “…the voice of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industries,” and within that context, their mission is to “…facilitate the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members’ needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner.”  The Association offers two types of membership:

  • Property Membership: This category is restricted to Caribbean-based hotel owners and general managers.
  • Allied Membership: This category includes “…organizations that do or want to do business in the Caribbean,” including any organization with a “…vested interest in the hotel and tourism industry, or who wish to use CHTA as a platform to grow their industry knowledge, while networking and conducting business with other CHTA members.”

CHTA’s current membership ranks number more than 750 member hotels and 525 allied members.  As the CHTA Data Center is restricted to members-only, travel affiliates or travel suppliers that have not yet joined the association can do so under the Allied Membership category.  There is a nominal one-time initiation fee of $100.00 (click here to join via the CHTA’s online membership registration or to download a PDF application).

TravelDividends thinks the $100 is a wise investment for travel affiliates and travel suppliers alike, for in return, not only does it provide access to the CHTA Data Center, travel affiliates and suppliers also reap many other membership benefits, such as:

  • Have their company listed on the CHTA Electronic Directory: this membership feature offers travel affiliates and travel suppliers the opportunity to “Gain recognition regionally as the first choice for future business,” as CHTA membership enables other members and the public “to view your business profile and contact information at their fingertips on both the public and private sections on our website.”
  • Access to the hundreds of Caribbean hotels listed in CHTA’s Hotel Member Database; CHTA provides each Allied travel affiliate and tour operator member with one complimentary copy of their hotel database.
  • Receive CHTA’s Construction and Modernization Report, which provides travel affiliates and travel suppliers with a “heads-up” on who’s building, who’s renovating and who’s expanding their operations in the Caribbean. Updated on a continuous basis, this report is available in the ‘Members Only’ section on the CHTA website.
  • Participate at annual events like the:Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC), the premier annual private/public sector conference in the Caribbean which brings together governments, hoteliers, developers, bankers and investors in a unique business forum, andCaribbean Hotels Retreat, an informal event designed to “foster the open exchange of ideas and to display what’s new and improved in the market,” and enable travel affiliates, travel suppliers and other related travel industry companies to “…showcase their products and services directly to Caribbean hoteliers.”
  • Receive the CHTA Weekly Newsletter, an informative weekly bulletin that enables travel suppliers and travel affiliates to keep abreast with the “…movers and shakers in the tourism industry, marketing, environment, investments, new projects.”
  • Access to the CHTA Member Corner, an electronic brief where members announce new business and sales promotions, or offer discounts for their fellow hotel and allied members.
  • Receive the CHTA Membership Card, which affords members with access to significant discounts on hotel and car rentals in the Caribbean, as well as on selected hotels in the United States and Europe.

The value derived by being able to access to the CHTA Data Center alone far exceeds the $100 membership fee; in our view, these additional products and services are just ‘icing on the cake’.

As our readers are well aware, TravelDividends is a big proponent of research and analysis.  We applaud the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association both for their foresight and largesse to invest in this knowledge database;  it is through public-private partnerships and initiatives such as theirs that helps assure that the global tourism industry grows and prospers.