Tag Archives: Barbados Tourism

Discover re-Discover Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

This last week has been what can only be described as an adventure in learning or how to maximise the results of a microscopic marketing budget while transforming a concept into a revenue generating tool.  Hopefully it will play at least a small role in maintaining viability and employment in our tourism sector. The very first lesson learnt is that you cannot expect to achieve this by yourself, but need ‘likeminded’ people who are willing to donate their time and often incredible skills to take the initiative to a higher level.

Another prerequisite is having a cluster of interested players who can see beyond normal existing boundaries or to coin a rather over used term ‘think outside the box’. It is then also absolutely critical that the initiative is supported at a national level rather than ruling out ideas that may appear to be emanating from personalities or messengers who may not garner universal approval.

Using the social media, I have frankly been amazed at the reach it is possible to achieve, at no or very low cost. By targeting specific areas and special interest groups, a higher take-up level is clearly attainable. The Barbados Tourism Authority have given their full support by compiling superbly written full page features in both local newspapers and have already, or are about to issue media releases throughout all major markets. Ideally these will be used by travel publications and trade press to spread the word to a massive potential audience.

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Barbados Tourism Officials Asked to be Customers for a Day

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

Should we, as a sector or in fact a nation, be overly concerned that the Ministry of Tourism has not had a functional website for months? In this time when both foreign and local investment is absolutely critical to upgrading existing plant and product, what sort of message are we sending when a default statement ‘This site is temporarily unavailable’ is the response that greets potential users of the portal.

For those non-nationals not familiar with how things work on Barbados it could also be the first point of reference and a vital source of information, including contact details for the Minister, Parliamentary and Permanent Secretary together with other heads of department that may facilitate any possible investor’s plans. It should also provide important links to other agencies, both public and private to help facilitate seamless access to enable informed decision making.

Frankly from a prospective overseas investment perspective you are currently forced to plough through a multitude of websites. And that’s even assuming you actually know the names of the many agencies involved, which is highly unlikely unless you have intimate local knowledge. If there was ever a legitimate call for a single ‘one-stop-shop’ then this is a prime example. Yes! Continue reading

Sandy Lane Private Jet Service Launched

Submitted by Douglas
Sandy Lane Jet service

Sandy Lane Jet service

When the hoteliers on the island like Mr Adrian Loveridge rejoice in writing every week the trifle and myopic vision for tourism, I am forced to ask if he ventures outside and into the areas that are really doing business in tourism and that are the ones generating serious inflows of foreign exchange for this island .

Take for example this fantastic innovation being created by Sandy Lane hotel, for the Winter Season of 2014 – 2015, we have a first for Barbados a Private Boeing Jet Service flying from. Heathrow to GAIA bring some of the most wealthy to our shores and to our wonderful Sandy Lane Hotel.

We also are now aware that despite his vocal claims that hotels do not make money and the industry will die according to the former BHTA President Mr Gordon Seale, despite his gloom and doom he has amassed enough earnings from tourism to now further invest in the same industry he has continually cried shame on the same industry that has provided him with lavish homes in Portugal and Barbados, the same industry that has provided him the luxury of owning the top of the line BMW’s and sports cars, the same industry that provided him the opportunity to buy another hotel in Amaryllis but yet still guys like Seale and Loveridge continue to cry down the same industry that makes them millions.

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Tourism Practitioners Must Work Harder to Deliver Value for Money

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

If there was ever a time when the expression ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ could be applied, then it was perhaps written to give life to a personal challenge over the last couple of weeks  while trying to resurrect one of the most successful dine-around programmes in recent history. Some restaurants understand and assess the merits immediately, even though it may not produce the profits that they would like or require on all business generated.

But in these days, guaranteed uniform profitability is not a reality. Almost all airlines use sales and other offers to fill a critical percentage of their seats just as hotels contract lower than rack rates with tour operators to achieve a minimum viable occupancy mass. Other tourism entities are not isolated from this actuality in the way business is now conducted. The target was to persuade a minimum of ten restaurants to offer a fixed price 3 course dinner menu at BDS$99 per person with a half bottle of wine, VAT and service charge included. Take away an average 10 per cent service charge and the establishment is left with $89 to provide the consumables and contribute towards the upkeep and operation of the premises. Valued Added Tax is exactly what the description implies, a tax that is offset against taxable input costs.

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Barbadians Need Authorities to Come ‘Clean’ About the Sector

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

We are now midway through the peak winter tourism season and it is small wonder that the general populous becomes confused or even bemused when trying to monitor exactly how the industry is performing. Especially when there are a number of proclamations emanating from our policymakers, who many may feel should be better informed. Two of these recent utterings really stand out!

The first when a Minister of Government stated in the foreign press that we have had a good start to the season, when in fact December 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for that month during the last eleven years. Meanwhile, while accepting the numbers are down, the actual Minister of Tourism partially justifying the dismal sector performance by stating ‘value-added’ is up, totally contradicting the Governor of The Central Bank in his latest video report on our economic condition, who clearly revealed that factually, it is down.

If these incidents were rare or isolated, perhaps it could be just brushed off as possible journalistic misquoting, but the latest ones come after a long list of heady predictions that simply have not materialized. Last year these included ‘a resounding success’, ‘upbeat about arrivals’ and ‘extremely strong’, when referring to Crop Over and July. Later in 2013, ‘it is already a November to remember’ and ‘November had been one of the best Barbados had seen in a while’. In reality, both months set new records over the last decade for recording the lowest stay-over visitors for comparable periods. Tourism interests are then left clambering to source accurate information on which to make educated choices and decisions.

And that’s when they are confronted by the next obstacle.

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What Does the Merger of American Airlines and US Airways Mean for Barbados?

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways has now pushed the combined frequent flyer membership above the 100 million mark. Put another way, almost 33 per cent of the world’s third most populous country, the United States. In any market it would be a difficult segment to persistently ignore, but from our second largest source of long stay visitors, it defies belief, especially during times of economic challenges, when holiday budgets can be among the first to suffer. It may also partially explain why some of our neighbours have overtaken us in American long-stay visitors.

Sadly, the loss of the American Airlines direct service out of New York will further restrict the potential, previously having lost Dallas/Fort Worth and San Juan, plus Philadelphia with US Airways. But with the miles now totally interchangeable between the two carriers, we still have daily service from Miami and currently once a week from Charlotte. Whether the re-organisation will result in a downsizing of the North Carolina hub and curtailment of this flight remains to be seen.

Route changes have yet to be announced, so ‘we’ are not fully aware of any new opportunities that it may present, but that should not stop exploiting what already exists. One of the reasons why I am so passionate about airline loyalty programmes is because existing marketing initiatives in the USA simply have not worked. There has been no overall long stay visitor arrival increase from this market for six years, so surely it’s long overdue that alternative strategies are at least tried.

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Top Gear is Coming to Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

After a dismal 2013 from a land based tourism perspective, certainly up until the end of November, it was refreshing to get some good news to end the year. After many early media releases in July, it was finally confirmed this month by the Barbados Tourism Authority that the Top Gear Festival, will make its Americas debut at the renovated Bushy Park Circuit on 17th and 18th May 2014, the first of three consecutive annual events planned for this location.

Several similar ‘festivals’ have already taken place across the world including in Australia and South Africa and according to the organisers ‘further destinations are in development and will be announced in the New Year’.

There can be no doubt that this event has the potential to attractive massive destination coverage overseas. Based on the BBC television series, the audience reach is what can only described as staggering and includes holding the Guinness Book of Records holder for ‘the most watched factual programme in the world’.

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Barbados.org is that You?

Submitted by Due Diligence
Adrian Elcock, Chairman of the BTA

Adrian Elcock, Chairman of the BTA

When I Googled “Barbados All Inclusive” yesterday [17 November 2013] I clicked on the barbados.org link, then http://www.barbados.org/allinclusive_vacations.php#.UoohrxaSKRY,There I found a list of 8 all-inclusive resorts, I then printed pages 1 to 3 of the 5 pages. On the printed page 2 of 5, the same two pictures of the two kids and the two adults which appeared on the website were printed – and, unbelievably,  under those pictures there is an ad for Transat Holidays for – SAINT LUCIA!. A copy of the printed page is attached. When I revisited the same page this morning, and printed page 2 of 5, the Transat/Saint Lucia ad was replaced with an Air Canada/CIBC ad.  Copy also attached. Apparently barbdos.org sells ad space to travel organizations which rotate and appear only in the printed material.

I suggest it might be timely for those who control barbados.org, the “Official Website of the Barbados Tourism Authority“, to do a bit of due diligence into the workings of its website.

Unanswered Questions About the ROI on Tourism Initiatives

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

As we have now passed the latest ‘book-by’ date for the several times re-launched Barbados Island Inclusive promotion, is it time to analyse how cost effective the initiative has been? Especially as it was one of the very few, national marketing initiatives for this year that has either not been postponed, cancelled or simply just not implemented in the first place.

Just to remind readers, the stated objective was to generate an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors between the end of May and the 21st December 2013 who would spend BDS$30 million at a quoted cost of BDS$11 million to cover the promotional costs. Minister of Tourism (MOT), Mr. Sealy is on record as stating ‘all but $4 million will actually be spent on advertising’. On 22nd July 2013 the Barbados Government Information Service reported the MOT ‘had revealed that more than 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered under the programme’.

We know that even before the October figures are published, that ‘we’ are already experiencing an unprecedented 18 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline. So the word ‘additional’ is critical to evaluate because if the initiative had in fact generated any incremental numbers then it has been at a huge cost.

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Is the Ministry of Tourism Underachieving?

Excerpts related to tourism Budget Speeches 2008 to 2012:

  • There are some critical national concerns and a Tourism Master Plan is currently being designed by a new Unit in the Ministry of Tourism designed to look at our tourism development strategy in a holistic way addressing our product, land use policy, marketing, carrying capacity and linkages to our other sectors and the lives of Barbadians among other matters.
  • The expansion of the luxury tourism market will include the construction and opening every two years of a major internationally branded luxury hotel and associated branded residences catering to the five-star and ultra luxury tourism market.
  • The expansion of the luxury room stock will also assist in the establishment of the Health Tourism market in Barbados.
  • I [the late David Thompson’s first budget] have just returned from a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting at which tourism, regional and international transport were discussed for one full day. Some important decisions were taken including the commitment to a regional brand, the establishment of a Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund and discussions are taking place between LIAT and Caribbean Airlines Limited on their future together – Budget 2008

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