Tourism Authority MUST Maximize Social Media

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Much has been made of the lack of funds available to the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and reported outstanding debts, severely limiting the ability of the organisation to effectively market the destination. Whatever, the facts are, those of us that have spent almost an entire lifetime in business have learnt, usually from necessity, to do a lot with very little.

There are so many ways that you can raise the ‘brand’ profile, often at low or no cost. TripAdvisor, is perhaps one of the very best examples. Around 6,000 hotels have recently been awarded the so called Oscars of the hospitality industry, Traveler’s Choice Awards, in various categories for 2013.

At first you might say, 6,000 hotels, that’s an awful lot.  But when you then consider, those who receive this coveted distinction are selected by the highest ratings in a single year out of over 650,000 listed hotels in 82 countries across nine regions, worldwide. So less than one per cent make the grade.

As you would expect, many individual properties and savvy destinations now go into hyperdrive, using this incredible opportunity to highlight their product with media mentions and press releases at zero cost. The ratings are entirely generated and positions gained by guests personal experiences who have actually stayed in the featured accommodation providers. What could be a better accolade than reviews and opinions based on the feedback from those who really matter, their guests.

The proof is in the pudding.

I am pleased to report a small number of hotels on Barbados are winners for this year and I would expect that our national marketing agency will take every opportunity to highlight them, while at the same time growing awareness for the destination.

On behalf of the BU household we congratulate Peach & Quiet Hotel  – a property  owned by Adrian and his wife – who won in the category Top 25 Bargain Hotels in the Caribbean.

Staying with TripAdvisor, I would like to mention, what I consider some of the least recognised ‘unsung heroes’. These are the so called Destination Exports or senior contributors, who volunteer their time to answer a myriad of travellers questions posted on the Barbados Forum.

This is done with a certain amount of anonymity, doing so, not under their own names, but using a number of evocative ‘title identities’ like butterflysue1, footychick, InBarbados, Kirimist, LittleMiss Red, LoisInsider, Scary, Sunniebgi and perhaps the most prolific, BGIWorldTraveller with an incredible almost 11,000 posts, at last count.

I could not begin to calculate a value that they add to our island, entirely without costing ‘us’ a single cent. Just as we recognise visitors who return to our shores, year after year, personally I think its time the Destination Experts received some form of appreciation from our policymakers. These are people motivated by the love of the country, whether they live here or are frequent and/or long stay overseas guests.

There is no possible way that we could ever afford to employee sufficient people to perform the function they do. And as social media sites continue to gain a pivotal role in holiday selection and final accommodation choice, we really have to learn how to nurture these smart partnerships better.

0 responses to “Tourism Authority MUST Maximize Social Media

  1. Peple have been asking WHY the BTA was not represented at this major Travel Show in Toronto? Given the winter conditions, the fact that the BTA has an office in Toronto and that the Greater Toronto Area has a population of nearly six million people who live within an hours drive of Pearson Airport, what could be the reason?

    According to the exhibitors list, the only Barbadian presence was Swim Barbados Vacations.

    http://www.totravelshow.com/

  2. @Adrian

    Have you heard about a Russian wife of UK visitor stabbed 50 times in West Coast villa robbery and BTA & BHTA paying for the man to stay at Hilton as she recuperates? This is info sent to BU which we are unable to confirm.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    David,

    No! I have not heard. I chaired the BHTA Safety and Security Committee for a short time and even though there was a Police representative (tourism laison officer) on the same committee, I got to learn about criminal incidents involving our visitors in the media. Maybe communication has improved since then.

  4. To make matters sound even worse, the total number of inhabitants for Ontario is actually 13 million people.and that is only one province and it’s been bitterly cold for the past two weeks.

  5. DO BARBADIANS AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE GLOBE REALIZE THAT THE SITE
    TRIPADVISOR IS PAID TO HIDE AND COVER UP ALL AND ANY BAD COMMENTS IN THEIR FORUMS ABOUT BARBADOS.IF YOU TRY TO TELL THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT BARBADOS YOUR POST IS QUICKLY ATTACKED BY BULLERS AND GRAB A GRANNY TYPES AND THEN DELETED.THESE SO CALLED DESTINATION EXPERTS KNOW ONLY GOOD ABOUT BARBADOS AS IT IS THEIR JOB SO THAT BARBADOS ATTRACTIONS ADVERTISE ON THEIR CORRUPT SITE.
    YOU ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND YOUR COMMENTS REMOVED BY PEOPLE THAT KNOW NOTHING OF THE REAL DAY TO DAY LIFE AND HIGH PRICES IN LITTLE TINY BARBADOS.
    TRY IT FOR YOUR SELF AND YOU WILL SEE.
    APPARENTLY TOURIST KNOW MORE ABOUT BARBADOS THAN US BARBADIANS DO .BUT THEY ARE THERE FOR FUN AND DO NOT KNOW THE UNDERLING PROBLEMS BAJANS FACE EVERY DAY.SO THERE SITE IS BIAS AND UNTRUTHFUL AND PAINTS A PICTURE OF BARBADOS AS A PARADISE WHICH
    FOR THE NORMAL EVERYDAY BAJAN IS CERTAINLY NOT SO.
    CHECK IT—http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ HOW CAN PEOPLE THAT COME FOR A
    FEW WEEKS KNOW THE REAL BARBADOS?????????????????????

  6. David wrote “WHY the BTA was not represented at this major Travel Show in Toronto?”

    I am sure there is a really good reason.

    Perhaps they are spending their Trade show budget in Calgary or Nova Scotia.

  7. Check-This-Out

    They must also be spending their advertising budget in Calgary or Nova Scotia.

  8. Adrian Loveridge

    Hants, please tell us what the reason was then? A large BTA delegation went to CHTA MarketPlace in the Bahamas a few days prior this show. Do you really think this event was more likely to drive additional business than Toronto? What was to stop a couple of BTA staff (ie: maybe the ones that staff the Toronto office) flying back from the Bahamas, after MarketPlace and ‘manning’ a stand at the Ultimate Travel Show and the 12,000 plus that attended that event.

  9. Would the people in the west of Canada not be inclined to go to Hawaii since it is closer. Ottawa is the size of Calgary probably with a larger West Indian community yet the btu do not push for travel from here

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    lawson, I think you are spot on. I am SURE that a once a week direct service out of Ottawa using the little A319 (122 seats) could work.
    I think it would be an interesting experiment if you calculate from the landing cards, just how many Canadian visitors live in or around Ottawa.

  11. A very SAD day in Barbados’ history. This knife attack is another nail in our Tourism coffin. Like everything else we the local public are the LAST to know about these incidences. Let me hear those like AC say that this man lied and sold his story for money to the Daily Mail.

  12. The irony is that we spend millions and millions of dollars on tourism BUT the need to reallocate 2 or 3 million to beef up security and bring penal reform is relegated.

  13. From that article someone robbed him again at the hospital, what the f$%%% is going on there. Do these pin heads not realize what they are doing if they think they are hungry now, wait. Remember when German tourists were targeted in florida for a while it cost the state billions. The penalties have to be made disproportunate to the crime to get this undercontrol. I prefer the Israeli method we find out you were the bomber we level your families house.

  14. Tourism guru coming to Barbados to give advice in todays paper ?……….. quit stabbing people …..quit robbing people……….quit killing people……. Thanks for my check

  15. Fact or Fiction

    More cutlases are sold in Barbados today than when the sugar industry was up and running……

    Behind the buildings on the highway between bridgetown and holetown .. is an ocean…

    Members of the btu have been known to beat African snails in a footrace….

    A Barbados inventor has incorporated an altimeter with a camera.. to prove you can get higher than a kite…

    If you re-arrange the letters from btu blp dlp nhc and four seasons… you get….. screwed no matter who wins…

    Barbados criminals are refusing to rob smokers citing cancer concerns…

  16. P.E.T.A. has vowed to protect the Barbados clod .If they can figure out what animal it is…

    The fastest man in Barbados doesnt remember his shorts getting caught on a Z bus bumber..

    Only having a laugh but from now on I am referring to the bta as the Barbados Tourism Undertakers (btu) their going to bury something. After buying over 100 tickets to the island I called them a few years ago and asked if I could get to meet the pm at one of his tourist appreciation events heard nothing Phoned the embassy in Ottawa and asked if any events are coming up in ottawa let me know, left my name and number heard nothing.

  17. This strategy makes the 5:30 evening news.

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