Tag Archives: Barbados Tourism

Barbados Tourism businesses must get serious about sponsorships!

“2013 ended with the lowest number of stay over visitors for 11 consecutive years. We must do something!”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

When you are working with miniscule marketing budgets, securing sponsorship is absolutely critical to the overall success of most promotions. The secret is to ensure that any sponsor ‘investing’ in a bigger picture project achieves a cost effective return.

That cannot be done without a careful evaluation of potential linkages and mutual benefits.

Quoting from a well known business publication,

“Sponsorship should not be confused with advertising. Advertising is considered a quantitative medium, whereas sponsorship is considered a qualitative medium.”

Beneficial partnerships can add tremendous value and credibility, especially if increased sales and market share can be directly measured to the strategic alliance. It also makes it far more likely that the sponsor would be willing to support future ventures.  Continue reading

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Re-Discover Rewards campaign attracting and keeping tourists

re-discover barbados

Going Local helps tourists get value – and keeps Bajans employed

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While I can see the attraction of corporate Barbados offering Caribbean cruises as competition prizes or sales inducements, it is difficult to accept what if any real benefit the country gleans from the exercise. Payment almost certainly would ultimately be made in foreign currency (FX) to ship operators who legally avoid any significant taxation and largely employ extra regional crew.

We have been heartened at the initial response to recent launch of re-DISCOVER REWARDS vouchers by local companies – especially as many of those who have responded are looking at it from a national perspective. These businesses have made a considered decision to help protect Barbadian jobs, whether directly in the hospitality industry or sub-sectors like agricultural, food and wine distribution. Many of the participating restaurants have also made a conscious effort to use locally available produce, which again helps retain the foreign exchange and hopefully spread earned revenue right across the society.

While not wanting to use this column for propaganda or promotion, I just wonder how many people have figured out that this initiative is (to the best of my belief) absolutely unique across the Caribbean. It is a point that has not gone unnoticed by both our tourism planners and potential visitors to Barbados.

It was truly heart warming to receive a social media posting recently from a professor in Canada, who stated that one of the deciding factors why they chose Barbados over another Caribbean island was the fact they could eat every night of their stay at a different affordable restaurant, even over a three week stay.

Part of the battle is persuading the yet to be convinced various dining establishments to understand the concept. As with all businesses, there are fixed costs regardless of the number of customers. The first ten patrons per night at a set menu price perhaps will not be the most profitable, but they help negate those otherwise irrecoverable overheads. Continue reading

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Answering Loveridge about Barbados tax concessions to Sandals

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving to death.

by William Skinner

The granting of concessions to the hoteliers is a capitulation on the part of the Barbados government, which now finds itself with a one step forward two steps backward economic policy; trying to please an essentially lazy and backward corporate class while inflicting serious blows on the already poor and economically downtrodden.

The hoteliers in Barbados have clearly demonstrated that they have failed to capitalize on an industry that has been in existence for over sixty years. They have whined their way into the taxpayers coffers, on the spurious grounds that the concessions granted to the well established Sandals Group should be automatically theirs for the taking.  In other words, while very few of them can ever boast or hope to come close, to demonstrating that they can ever reach Sandals’ heights, they have blackmailed the government into giving them similar benefits. It’s akin to a fourth division footballer demanding the same salary and perks of a first division superstar!

Be that as it may, they have also refused to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be used to monitor  they operating in good faith with the agricultural community and other businesses , to ensure that the process is not exploited. In other words, the government wanted some formal agreement that the benefits will trickle down to local businesses. Low and behold, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said that it will not sign any MOU. Imagine a beggar being so bold faced, to be a chooser as well! It was very pitiful and embarrassing to witness a minister backing down from this group.  Continue reading

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The Bajan way? Set the house on fire – shoot the intended victim when they try to put out the fire

Neipaul Trotman beach murder Barbados

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Or should I say “Dear Lord, OH LORD!”

Is there something I’m missing about living on this rock? Have you ever seen and heard of so much violence?

Neipaul Trotman (above) is shot and murdered at Fitts Beach in broad daylight at 11am while playing with his infant son. A dozen tourists witness his execution. Then a day or two later Cyprian Payne was sleeping when somebody firebombed the home. The man comes out to fight the fire and is shot numerous times, and is hanging onto his life by a thread at the hospital.

We built a pedestrian overpass at The Pine so that folks could safely cross the ABC highway and now thugs are throwing concrete building blocks onto the vehicles below. There have been several serious incidents and injured motorists.

A week ago Dwayne Johnson was traveling in a ZR van when he had words with another man. Only words. That man shot him in the back right in the ZR van!

Am I going crazy, or is this island going crazy? It never used to be like this.

Yours truly,

Mr. Meters.

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Tourism businesses must do more to help themselves

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While this may not be universally accepted by all, can and should the private sector tourism industry do more to help itself?

The simple answer must be yes!

I firmly believe there are so many more ways that we can build smart partnerships to build our destination awareness in all the key markets.

As an example, many years ago we persuaded the three largest villa rental agencies to jointly produce a full page ‘ad’ that appeared in leading travel magazines like Caribbean Travel and Life. By collectively sharing the costs they were able to attract an audience that would have been price inhibitive if attempted individually.

As first you may think that you were collaborating with the ‘enemy’ and handing valuable business to your competition, but in today’s reality the consumer is savvy and well informed. They can make a defined choice based on their own preferences.

There would be nothing stopping our car rental agencies, major attractions and small hotels doing exactly the same and ideally, in one concerted effort, together.  Continue reading

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Barbados hotel investment collapsing as government concessions to Sandals set the expected standard

level-playing-field

Barbados tourism investment ‘level playing field’

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It reminds me a little of the rather repetitive ‘ad’ aired on local radio, ‘how low can you go’. There are almost always consequences for the failure to implement policies and address the overwhelming concerns of an entire industry.

Therefore it was inevitable that it would manifest itself in the shortest possible time. The Daily Nation article published last week ‘Jobs on Hold’ graphically demonstrates the dangers of attempting to invest, upgrade and re-open one of our many closed hotels, in a climate that lacks a level playing field.

If the reporting was accurate, then a potential 320 jobs, $4 million refurbishment plan, $5 million in foreign exchange and getting 145 improved rooms back into the marketplace for the upcoming critical winter season is now beyond possibility. That could represent a further loss of almost 300 airline seats per week, which may play a crucial part in helping fill and ensuring the sustainability of the two new Delta flights from Atlanta and New York starting early December.

An enhanced Amaryllis would have also helped bridge the gap of product quality offerings from when Sandals is scheduled to re-open its doors in late January 2015.

What I find so incredulous is that did our policymakers not think through that no substantive investor in their right mind would speculate millions of dollars into new or improved plant, before having in place the unimpeded similar concessions that Sandals extracted.

I also think that as a matter of urgency, some analysis needs to be done by the Central Bank of Barbados to see in ‘real’ terms if foreign exchange generated by our accommodation sector, that is retained in the country has fallen in a desperate attempt to replicate Sandals policy of collecting revenue offshore.

If in fact this figure is down there will be further negative implications in terms of taxation collected and payable to Government through VAT and any corporate taxes payable.

These issues have to be addressed now if there is any realistic chance in returning our tourism sector to growth and lifting it out of the current prolonged period of arrival numbers stagnation.

The longer the administration delays universal implementation of all the pledged concessions, the closer is the risk that more hotels will close.

As a destination, we currently hold the record for the most failed tourism accommodation properties within the Caribbean.

Later this week the Minister of Finance has kindly consented to address the third quarterly meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association. It would seem like this would be an ideal forum to declare that the promised ‘permanent’ legislation is now in place. Only then can the entire industry start rebuilding a sector that clearly is experiencing prolonged and severe distress.

Using the Minister’s own recent ‘instant coffee society’ analogy, as the pot has been on the boil so long already and the expectations have evaporated, it will not be the beverage of choice for me this Thursday.

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Connect 2014 – the most important event for Barbados tourism industry

“While all the figures are not yet a matter of public record, nearly every other Caribbean country is recording tourism growth of up to 18.6 per cent for the first six months of 2014.

Barbados currently lies eighteenth in terms of numbers with no significant improvement at all.”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

For three days later this week one of the most important travel trade events takes place, called Connect 2014. It is estimated that around 97 tour operators representing 74 companies from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Continental Europe and the Caribbean will attend. Courting their crucial business and hoping to positively influence choices around 125 local hoteliers and ancillary service providers will also be taking part.

 Along with a number of other industry interests including the Barbados Food Wine and Rum Festival and Bushy Park, the Barbados Tourism Authority (or perhaps I should now refer to the new name, BTM Inc) have been kind enough to invite me to make a presentation on our re-DISCOVER initiative.

 With so many destinations to choose from, often at substantially lower cost, it is in my humble opinion that we must collectively make every possible effort to get across that Barbados can offer value-for-money by providing a greater selection of more affordable options.

For us, the perfect scenario is to persuade the tour operators to place our website address on their client’s final documentation, whether in print or electronically. That way the consumer can plan ahead, budget for their out-of-pocket expenses which helps maximise the potential for participating restaurants.  Continue reading

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