Best Of Barbados Travel Programme Brings In The Least Desirable Tourists And Minimal Profits

Discount Travelers Least Likely To Return To Barbados

For the sixth consecutive year, despite the hype regarding just how well tourism is doing in Barbados, the discounted Best of Barbados programme has been resurrected for 2007.

Let us just compare the differential in net yield for bookings with this programme and direct bookings based on a typical US$100 per night per room (two persons) accommodation cost for a 7 night stay.

All figures shown in US$.

Example ONE (Best of Barbados)

7 nights accommodation (one free) at $100 = $600

less taxpayer airline subsidy of $200 per person

Daily free breakfast and 50% discount on activities etc.

Net revenue to the country = $100 per person

Example TWO (direct booking)

7 nights accommodation at $100 = $700

Daily paid breakfast (average cost) for two persons $210

No airline subsidy (best to attract some of the 200 million people who have acquired Air MILES) and no discount of activities etc.

Net revenue to the country = $455 per person

To grasp the financial implications of the above, multiply the examples by 50,000 visitors.

Example ONE – net revenue to the country = $5 million

Example TWO – net revenue to the country = $22.75 million

In addition to the simple economics, it is widely accepted that the discount market is the least destination loyal and less likely to return.

They are looking for a bargain and wherever that bargain is to be had, that’s where they will travel.

Adrian Loveridge
24 February 2007


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

9 responses to “Best Of Barbados Travel Programme Brings In The Least Desirable Tourists And Minimal Profits

  1. John

    The subsidy to the Tourist industry appears to be the difference between the $5 million and $22.75 million, ie $17.25Million.

    What is the subsidy Government gives to the Sugar Industry, or the manufacturing industry?

    …. and if all of our major sectors appear to be operating at less than optimal and require subsidies, how come we are doing so good?

    Either the national debt is rising, or perhaps we are missing the contribution of the informal sectors of the economy like drugs and money laundering.

    If it is the latter, what happens if and when drugs and money laundering are curbed?

  2. Sales Analysis

    My madam works a small tourist-trap shoppe.
    She sees them all.

    She reports that the spenders are the Brits,
    and maybe the Canadians,
    but the Americans doan’ spend a cent!
    and I’ve heard this analysis repeated
    at several other locations/opinions/sources.

  3. Think!

    “what happens if and when drugs and money laundering are curbed?”

    We have been ‘curbing’ drugs and money laundering now..
    banging our hard heads against that wall.
    It hurts soo goood!

    We are not winning that war
    and never shall.

    It’s a very BIG if.. we ever put a small dent in drugs and money laundering…
    Those Guys are five to ten steps ahead of the puny law enforcement ‘arms’ that fail daily.

    Remember the outcome of Prohibition One?
    On Dec. 5th, 1933 Americans awoke to the shock of their lives.
    After decades of Roaring Twenties and social chaos
    (reminiscent of today’s Prohibition Two)
    suddenly..very suddenly..the law against alcohol(that blessed drug) had been changed overnight,
    and no-one had a clue that such change was even ‘on the cards’ !!

    Will that happen, re. Prohibition Two?
    Not on your life!
    Because now that Blessed Drug Alcohol is in charge of the Legal Intoxicant Industry Worldwide,
    the alcohol industry has NO intention of allowing the U.S.Fed. Gov’t. to legalize any competitor recreational drugs.
    This ‘war on drugs’ is a war for marketplace share/pie-slice!

    And already cannabis products are waaay more popular than alcohol and its awful hangover.
    Legalize cannabis, and Alcohol tumbles over the course of the next few years.
    That must NOT be allowed to happen !

    – better the world descend into the crazy disarray we see all around us, than have BigAlcohol,Inc. fall from its heights.

    Dontcha luv it?
    Priorities, huh?

  4. Mike

    My vote is for Adrian Loveridge for minister of tourism in the new gov’t surely he has a grasp for the industry more than can be said about Lynch who seems to be at sea on all issues pertaining to tourism but bluffs his way through to fool the electorate..

  5. Paddy O'Furniture


    You are right on with this point. It would be better if Barbadian hotels were able to maximize direct (and non-discounted) bookings. It is not only the “Best of Barbados” program that is to blame.

    Deep discounting is endemic at the larger hotels in Barbados. This undermines revenue yield, REVPAR, government tax revenues, service charge income for staff and the perceived market value of the hotel stock in Barbados.

    The largest hotel groups in Barbados derive 85% of their bookings from tour operators.

    The hotel groups provide discounts to the tour operators from 30 to 50% off the standard or “rack” rate. The direct booking guest pays the rack rate.

    The hotels own sales agents (often offshore) deliberately overbook the cheapest rooms at these hotels for the tour operators. This increases the odds that guests booked through tour operators get “upgraded” upon arrival to a more costly room at no charge to the guest or the tour operator. The hotels lose the additional revenue (even discounted) that they might have made on the superior room.

    The bottom line is that standard rates at many of the larger properties in Barbados are out of line with reality – since 85% of their bookings may be discounted. It is easier for the large hotels to sell their rooms in bulk, at wholesale prices, to large tour operators rather than concentrating on high value sales to direct booking guests and boutique travel agents.

    In these conditions it is not at all surprising that groups like GEMS operate at a loss.

  6. TO BFP: What I think Adrian Loveridge and many others in Barbados do not seem to grasp or want to accept when it comes to the real reasons behind the falling tourist numbers is this.

    The “Glory” days for Barbados as a Tourist Destination has come and gone. Back in the 70, 80 and early 90’s Barbados had so many things going for it then that it does not have now. And what we are now seeing was predicted would happen because it has happened to all kinds of similar tourist destinations, that did not listen.

    Barbados is now a very busy, noisy, crowded, congested destination, plagued by other factors that impact the tourist product like pollution, garbage all over the island, noise, crime specifically directed against the highly VISIBLE TOURIST something most Barbadians do not see as a problem, or do not want to accept. Another important factor is the high cost of coming to Barbados even if you stay at a good basic hotel is not value for money. The middleclass tourist who wants to rent accommodation and do their own housekeeping is appalled at the high cost of food and basic services, that again is not value for money!

    Back in what I call the glory days that brought prosperity to Barbados and the Tourist industry Barbados had basically the same mainstream and average tourist coming to it’s shores that they are complaining about now as being cheap and don’t spend money. People will not spend money on things that have little value for the dollar just to spend money. They do not do it at home so why do it in Barbados. I came to Barbados for the winter in the Glory days and believe me what I am saying is the truth and based on fact. Me and many others witnessed over the years the killing of the Golden Goose because of greed!

    Adrian Loveridge says his small hotel Peaches and Peace I think is the name is full, obviously because he is offering value for dollar and from what I hear of his facility it is low key and quiet and in tgranquil surroundings. Yet we heard not long ago from a spokesperson of Intimate Hotels and it is my understanding these hotels are upscale and cater to the wealthy and he was saying that their bookings were disappointing this year. And the guests using those facilities are certainly not coming on the “Best of Barbados” promotion. They are the wealthy! So what is their problem!

    I say Barbados has to accept reality for what it is and the reality is that not only have they priced themselves out of the Tourist market but the islands beautiful landscape, beaches, etc have been allowed to go to hell in a tea basket.

    How many Tourist in todays Barbados can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of walking a remote beach in safety? How many can go to Cherry Tree Hill, River Bay, Consetts etc and not be harassed and made to feel threatened. How many as they did and loved to do and could do in the Glory Days can today drive around Barbados during the day or on a beautiful moonlight night in a Moke and be safe or free from harassment and many instances having to hear rude and obscene comments being directed to them. Especially if they are in beach wear?

    Another factor that was so important back in the “Glory” days that had people flocking to Barbados were the infamous “Merry Men” who put Barbados on the National and International cutting edge of Tourism. Along with the equally infamous “Jolly Rogers” that were known and revered around the Globe with equally bizarre stories of Tourists euphoria some generated by rum punch that though true were hard to believe ! Some of which I witnessed personally!

    Nothing is as simplistic as some are trying to suggest on this blog as being the real cause for falling tourist numbers. The problem is complex, multi faceted and will be hard if not impossible to fix at this late stage. Barbados has developed a reputation as being expensive, the value for dollar is lacking and the serenity, peaceful and free and easy tourist lifestyle has been seriously compromised.

    But here is another well kept secret that people in Barbados do not seem to know about or want to accept. The Off-Shore business in Barbados is probably generating contary to what Bajans are led to believe far more dollar bills to the Government Treasury than is Tourism so where do you think the Governments focus will be?

  7. John

    ….. when you eliminate all posilibilities, what remains is the truth!!

    If Sugar according to some is dead, Manufacturing doesn’t have a hope and we are subsidising Tourism, then what’s left is the “offshore sector” …….. and the informal sector.

    This is what keeps us afloat, plus the fact that we are selling off our land.

    All we have to do now is to zero in on the Offshore Sector, the Informal Sector and the Sale of our Land and eliminate to discover which one predominates and really keeps us afloat.

  8. John you have also hit the nail on the head about the selling off of land that I did not touch on because of it’s social volitility and I do not want to become embroiled again with rhetoric that is unbecoming what I think we all want for Barbados and its peoples and that is Social justice.

    However, for those who might have forgotten this letter to the editor by Mr. Bizzy Williams a few months back and Bizzy I am not trying to be disrespectful to you but your comments in that letter I respectfully suggest need to be carefully examined and I will tell you why. And I will give a graphic and sad explanation for why I see it in this light!

    When we read in the press about the sad state of affairs at the QEH where many not just a few allege that they have lost loved ones because of unthinkable circumstances that should shame every Barbadian into taking action you made this stsatement in the letter in question I am talking about. And I may not be quoting you verbatim but I will quote you accurately and fairly.

    In defending the sale of Barbados land to Foreigners you suggested that it was necessary because it brought it “Foreign” exchange that is no longer being brought in by “Traditional” sectors (Tourism) and it resulted in the maintaining of “our” high standard of living and lifestyle. I gave benefit of doubt to you in interpreting the word “our” lifestyle as meaning ALL BARBADIANS!

    Bizzy when hearing of the atrocious conditions at the QEH and the poor and mainly black people of Barbados crying out in anguish over losing loved ones because of the atrocious conditions, incompetent medical care etc. at this facility. And which seems Bizzy to impact the Black populous mainly how can your argument for selling Bajan land to foreigners possibly correlate in it maintaining the high standards of lifestyle for them?

    Only two weeks ago we all had to read about the sad loss of the life of a CHILD at the QEH which was allegedly caused by incompetency. What startled me is, that little was said by the Government, the Influential Movers and Shakers in Barbados regardless of their color and the Canadian/Barbadian Verdun who writes so eloquently in the press about racism about this tragedy and what they would insist be done to see why it occurred and to take steps to see that it would not occur again. I saw nothing from the Government expressing disgust about the incident or what they intended to do about holding a formal inquiry to see who or what was responsible. My next question that no doubt will bring roars of outrage against me, but begs to be asked of a decent God fearing society is this. Would the same silence and indifference have occurred had the CHILD been white? Not even the clergy of the many churches in Barbados seemed to be concerned!

    In most countries a full enquiry would have been demanded and by the Government and people would have been held accountable not in Barbados———- Pity

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