Discover Charlottetown promoting P.E.I. as wedding destination

Discover Charlottetown is banking on a new online wedding business directory and marketing strategy to get more people saying "I do" on the Island. 

Not-for-profit group working with businesses on new wedding directory, marketing strategy

Discover Charlottetown says a graphic designer and several members of P.E.I.'s wedding industry are helping with a new online business directory and marketing strategy. (Discover Charlottetown)

Discover Charlottetown is banking on a new online wedding business directory and marketing strategy to get more people saying "I do" on the Island. 

The not-for-profit group — which promotes the city to off-Island travellers — says it's set out to make envisioning and planning a P.E.I. wedding easier for tourists in particular. 

"Right now, they have a whole lot of homework to do, and a whole lot of unnecessary searching because all those vendors, whether it's photographers, or makeup artists, or cake decorators, or venues, all that stuff doesn't exist in one central location," said Heidi Zinn, Discover Charlottetown's executive director. 

Goal to register 150 businesses 

Zinn says with the help of a graphic designer and a committee of people involved in the wedding industry, Discover Charlottetown's working on a new website — 

She says more than 50 wedding vendors around the Island have already registered to be part of a business directory on the site. The goal is to grow that to 150. 

We're trying to flip the page, so we can market to them before they even search for us- Jamie Caseley, Caseley's Tent and Party Rentals

At the same time, Discover Charlottetown is working on how to best market the Island as a wedding destination and draw people to the website. 

"We want to make sure P.E.I. wedding pictures are flooding Pinterest, and are on Instagram. So maybe we host social media influencers that come and experience P.E.I. and see what a great place it is," said Zinn. 

"But then we need the directory.... We want to make sure that if we do inspire someone, then when they come for the information, it's not piecemeal and is easy to find."

'The industry is ready for this'

Zinn says the entire project will cost around $25,000. Some of that funding will come from the vendors themselves, who have to pay $99 to be a part of the directory.

She says Tourism PEI has said it will provide some amount of financial help to hire a social media influencer. 

Some businesses have called on the provincial government to do more to market the Island as a place to tie the knot. 

Jamie Caseley, the general manager of Caseley's Tent and Party Rentals, says he's hopeful this effort will ultimately lead to more government support. 

"What we've heard from the province is that industry buy-in had to be there first," said Caseley. "We've shown that the industry is ready for this now."

Discover Charlottetown's own website does include a directory with some P.E.I. wedding vendors listed, along with things to see and do in the city. The group says will be dedicated to wedding planning, and include a much longer directory. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Caseley is one of the committee members helping Discover Charlottetown with its efforts. He says he's confident the work will pay off. "I think this will make a big difference," he said.

"We're living in a world now where if someone does want to get married on P.E.I., they have to find us," he said. "It would be great if we could flip the page there ... and market to them before they have to come and search for us."

Discover Charlottetown says the aim is to have the new website fully up and running in May.

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