Editor's Notes – June 2011

Welcome to our annual Destination Weddings & Honeymoons issue, an informational marriage of worldwide destination wedding and honeymoon facts that should help you get a piece of the $6 to $7 billion that was spent on honeymoons alone in 2010, according to TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com’s 2010 Honeymoon Study. The numbers on weddings? The telling figures here are jaw-dropping. The average wedding expenditure in 2010 was $26,984 and even more importantly from your standpoint, 24 percent of the brides in those weddings considered their wedding a destination wedding and the average number of guests at those 2010 weddings ran to 141 with 42 percent requiring overnight accommodations. Hello—are we hearing the ka-ching, ka-ching here, yet? Here are some more numbers on honeymoons you’re going to love. Last year there were 1.4 million honeymoons that averaged eight days in length, spending on average $4,466, and, when choosing the honeymoon destination, 25 percent booked their travel through a travel agent and more importantly, when choosing honeymoon accommodations and travel, 28 percent booked their accommodations with a travel agent. So where did all these couples go? It seems 30 percent of them honeymooned in the continental U.S., up from 26 percent in 2009, while 28 percent went to the Caribbean, down from 31 percent in 2009. The rest went to Mexico and overseas with the top 10 international honeymoon destinations as follows: 1. Mexico; 2. Hawaii; 3. Jamaica; 4. The Bahamas; 5. Italy; 6. St. Lucia; 7. France; 8. U.S. Virgin Islands; 9. Dominican Republic; and 10. Greece. On the overall top 10 destinations, it was: Mexico; Hawaiian Islands; Florida; Jamaica; The Bahamas; Italy; California; St. Lucia; France; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So how do you get into this? According to Ed Cotton, COO of DestinationWeddings.com, “We only use home-based travel agents, they’re our independent contractors…. We currently have about 170-plus agents—most of them in the U.S. and a few in Canada. We’re looking to grow those numbers, agents who can work with us to fulfill the needs of our brides and grooms in helping them choose a destination and a resort…” According to the company, its top selling agents have earned $75,000 to $100,000 in commissions annually so it’s a lucrative sell. “We normally look for agents with a minimum of five years leisure experience,” he explains, “and after they go through the interview process on the phone with us, we have roughly about a 2.5-week training.” Cotton says its in-house technology and back office system, “…was built from the ground up so agents would be able to manage their wedding. It’s kind of like a CRM—a Client Relation Management system—but it’s designed for weddings,” he says, which means it gives its agent affiliates the “…ability to quote group excursions to be able to sell beyond just a hotel night or a seat on the plane to get there. So there are a lot of opportunities for our agents to be able to earn additional monies and to be able to really help give a real true experience for a wedding.” For more information on DestinationWeddings.com, go to the company website or call (800) 788-0024.

In the 2011 Guide to the Caribbean, The Bahamas & Bermuda, included in the April 2011 issue, a couple of Sandals/Beaches Resorts had the wrong name within the copy. On page C16, that should have been Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas and on page C20, that should have been Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa. Additionally, on page C26, we wrote about Beaches Resorts’ “arts and crafts activities with Crayola”—the partnership with Crayola no longer exists. In the May issue, in theTeeing Up in Bermuda feature (page 26), we printed the wrong phone number for The Reefs—it’s (800) 742-2008. Also in the May issue, within the Mexico Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Planner, on page M12, the phone number for the Hacienda San Angel is (877) 815-6594.

next month
We’re going to give you plenty of experience on experiential travel next month with culinary features in North and South America; crazy, out-of-the-norm adventures in Africa and the Middle East, heritage tours in Europe, plus a whole lot more. In the meantime, have a great read.