Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook not updated for 3 months

click to enlarge

Tourism Minister’s “social media” programme needs some attention

Our Minister of Tourism, Richard L. Sealy, was quoted on CBC TV8 News a couple of days ago stating that the Barbados Tourism Authority and his Ministry of Tourism are using Social Media to a greater extent, and how we hired some outside experts to assist our online tourism efforts. Indeed, Minister Sealy went on and on about the wonderful benefits of Facebook, Twitter etc and how effective and cost-effective online social media is. As Minister Sealy said (and I’m going by memory here), “There is no advertisement that can match the recommendation of a friend.”

True. Very true.

Too bad that Minister Sealy (above) doesn’t have time to log into his own Ministry of Tourism website. The gruesome details are at the end of this article, but the short story is that there are no visible links on Minister Sealy’s website to any Barbados tourism website or social media. Really.

The Ministry of Tourism’s website does contain a “Latest News” section though. Here it is in full…

“Latest News

Latest news here

Type text here”

It is also too bad that the Minister doesn’t have time to log into the various Barbados Tourism Authority social media sites once every few months to check up on the, ah, status. I was about to say “progress” of his social media programme, but I think I’ll let the following speak for itself.

How much is Barbados paying for Social Media?

For all the money we’re spending on social media (however much that is, we’re not allowed to know), Barbados tourism has one active Facebook page and a solitary Twitter account that automatically rebroadcasts the Facebook feed. That’s it.

There are some other, rather pathetic stillborn little efforts that we’re not counting, but we’ll get to those in a minute.

Meanwhile, let’s look at our “active” or “main” social media effort on Facebook: “The Barbados Beat”.

“I thought there would be much more activity by the Facebook author(s) who are taking our money. Twenty original words or a cut and paste every two or three days doesn’t make the grade.”

I presume we’re paying someone or a company to author this Facebook site, but I hope we’re not paying much more than a hundred dollars a week or less because here’s what we’re getting…

As of October 5, 2010 2:30pm, Barbados Beat Facebook has not been updated in 4 days. (click for larger view)

Every couple of days or even three or four days, the Facebook author links to an item somewhere. If we exclude the steady feeds from JetBlue, American Airlines and one or two holiday groups, there’s not much being posted by our Facebook author that requires writing effort or scanning for new and exciting Barbados items. (And some of the existing posts came from BFP tourism stories but that’s another story for another day!)

True, “The Barbados Beat” Facebook page benefits from the links posted by friends, vacation advertisers and passersby, but I thought there would be much more activity by the author(s) who are taking our money. Twenty original words or a cut and paste once every couple or three days doesn’t make the grade as a serious effort, in my opinion anyway.

Here are the Facebook author’s posts for early September, 2010

September 1, 2010 – Nothing.

September 2, 2010 – one post: “‎14 year-old Dutch sailor Laura Dekker just completed the first leg of her global journey from Gibraltar to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. She will remain there for two months, until hurricane season is over, before attempting an Atlantic crossing to Bridgetown, Barbados! The Beat will keep you updated when she is about to embark for her transatlantic adventure!” with a link to an online story.

September 3, 2010 – one post: “Don’t forget about Barbados when booking your JetBlue “All You Can Jet” pass! JetBlue flies direct from New York’s JFK airport to Bridgetown, Barbados!” with a link to JetBlue.

September 4, 2010 – nothing
September 5, 2010 – nothing
September 6, 2010 – nothing
September 7, 2010 – nothing

September 8, 2010 – one post: “HURRY TO BOOK! JetBlue’s Summer’s End Sale is offering $119* fares one-way to Barbados. Book by midnight tomorrow for travel between September 14 and December 15, 2010! *Taxes, fees and restrictions apply.” with a link to JetBlue.

September 9, 2010 – nothing
September 10, 2010 – nothing
September 11, 2010 – nothing
September 12, 2010 – nothing

September 13, 2010 – one post: “Great surprise performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last night by Bajan Babe Rihanna with Eminem and their current hit “Love the Way You Lie.” Check out the performance below if you missed it!” with a link to a Rihanna video.

September 14, 2010 – one post: “Make sure to stop by the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival booth at this year’s New York Food & Wine Festival in taking place in Manhattan from October 7-10!” with a link to the New York Food & Wine Festival website.

So that’s five posts in two weeks: Two JetBlue adverts, one link about the 14 year old sailor, one Rihanna video link and a link to the NY Food & Wine Festival.

We’re only spare time hacks at Barbados Free Press but we’re able to post one or two articles every day and sometimes more. We’ve never really counted how much we write, but our original content creation is many thousands of words every week.

The Barbados Beat Facebook page has a little over 1,200 “People like this” followers. I don’t know what to think about that when compared to 2 million plus visits a year to Barbados Free Press. Maybe it’s apples and oranges, but the number of Facebook “likes” seems really low to me.

The Twitter feed (which is simply an automated re-posting of Facebook) has just over 1,000 followers. Considering we have maybe half a million people enter or pass through Barbados each year I thought that our national tourism Twitter feed might have more than 1000 followers. The Frugal Traveler blogger has over 70,000 Twitter followers, so, I don’t know. Maybe apples and oranges but I expected that the official Twitter feed for Barbados Tourism would be doing better.

BTA Twitter feed advertises Amsterdam Concert Hall. How does this attract tourists to Barbados?

The Twitter feed is “following” over 500 feeds – and I see that a good many of the Tweets appearing on the feed have nothing to do with Barbados. For instance the current “Tweet” on the Barbadostourism Twitter feed is posted by the Amsterdam Tourism portal and takes our readers to a video about “Muziekgebouw” at Amsterdam’s Concert Hall.

“How does a video about Amsterdam’s Concert Hall benefit Barbados tourism? I don’t know, but that’s what is on the Barbados Tourism Twitter site.”

It looks like much of what we’re posting on Facebook and Twitter is simply rebroadcasting other people’s content, and a good deal of that is either automated or quasi-automated – like we’re linking to everything that JetBlue puts up that contains the word “Barbados”.

Once a day the author checks in for five minutes to make sure no one has posted any naughty stuff, and every two or four days the author links to somebody else’s content. The author is posting a dozen or so original words every couple or three days. That’s it.

HOW MUCH money are we spending for this Barbados Beat Facebook site and automatically linked Twitter feed?

Here’s what we found for official Barbados Tourism online social media sites. If we’ve missed something, please let us know…

Official Barbados Tourism Authority online social media sites

Barbados Tourism Authority – Main

Website – http://www.visitbarbados.org/
FaceBook “Barbados Tourism Authority” – Last updated July 13, 2010. (Shown at top of article)

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Bridgetown-Barbados/Barbados-Tourism-Authority/101583991628?ref=ts

Twitter – Can’t locate.
Blog – Can’t locate.

Barbados Tourism Authority – USA

Website (same as BTA HQ) – http://www.visitbarbados.org/

Facebook “The Barbados Beat” – Last updated 4 days ago October 1, 2010 (Shown above in article)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Barbados-Beat/58446797842?v=wall

January, 2010 – 8 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
February, 2010 – 6 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
March, 2010 –  12 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
April, 2010 – 16 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
May, 2010 – 13 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
June, 2010 – 14 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
July, 2010 – 14 wall posts by The Barbados Beat
September, 2010 – 11 wall posts by The Barbados Beat

Twitter “barbadostourism

http://twitter.com/barbadostourism

Most tweets are repeats of the Facebook posts.

Stillborn: July 19, 2010 Barbados Tourism Authority UK Facebook (click for large)

Barbados Tourism Authority UK

Website (same as BTA HQ) – http://www.visitbarbados.org/
Facebook – “Barbados Tourism Authority UK

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbados-Tourism-Authority-UK/111433195573727?v=wall&ref=search

Stillborn: Only two wall posts on July 19, 2010 – nothing before or since.

Twitter – Can’t locate
Blog – Can’t locate

BTA's Canada Facebook. No postings since June 6, 2010 (Click for larger view)

Barbados Tourism Authority (Canada)

Website (same as BTA HQ) – http://www.visitbarbados.org/
Facebook “Barbados Tourism Authority (Canada)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-ON/Barbados-Tourism-Authority-Canada/100101700038019?v=wall&ref=ts

Stillborn – dead.

First post on Facebook was May 17, 2010
Last post on Facebook was June 6, 2010

May 2010 – 10 wall posts by Barbados Tourism Authority (Canada)
June 2010 – 2 wall posts by Barbados Tourism Authority (Canada)

BTA Germany's Facebook page is having a near-death experience! (Click for large)

Barbados Tourism Deutschland Germany

Website: http://www.barbados-karibik.de/

Facebook “Barbados Tourism Deutschland

http://www.facebook.com/barbados.tourism?v=wall&ref=search

August, 2010 – 6 wall posts by Barbados Tourism Deutschland
September, 2010 – 3 wall posts by Barbados Tourism Deutschland

Twitter: Can’t locate
Blog: Can’t locate

Tourism Ministry website - no link to VisitBarbados.org (click for larger view)

Barbados Ministry of Tourism

Website – http://www.barmot.gov.bb/
FaceBook – Can’t locate
Twitter – Can’t locate
Blog – Can’t locate

The website of the Barbados Ministry of Tourism contains NO LINKS to any other Barbados Tourism websites or social media! No links to the Facebook, Twitter, Visit Barbados.org. Nothing!

Oh… wait. I found a link to visitbarbados.org three pages deep on the Tourism Ministry’s website. I can’t remember how I found it, it is that deep in the website. Nothing on the sidebars or link page. No Facebook, No Twitter link, no links for prospective visitors. Nothing.

The Ministry of Tourism “Links” page displays links to the following…

Caribbean Tourism Organisation
Government Information Service
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Nope… no link to our country’s main tourism website: VisitBarbados.org

Oh well, I’m sure the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is very inspiring to any prospective tourists!

The “Latest news” section contains nothing. Zip. Nil. Well, not “nothing”. It says…

“Latest News

Latest news here

Type text here”

So, Minister Sealy… How much have we spent on Social Media? How much do we spend each month on an ongoing basis?

Hey… We’re just asking!

(Our thanks to BFP reader “Q” who suggested this article.)

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging, Technology

23 responses to “Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook not updated for 3 months

  1. reality check

    Where are all the young savy Barbadian tech wizards who could help BTA?

  2. BFP

    Hi Reality Check,

    Ahhhhh, I think the tech experts are in New York or Montana or wherever the company is that the BTA hired to do this. Oh, and they are not Bajan.

    I’ll try and dig it up. I saw a press release many months ago and I think it’s tucked away somewhere bout this place. Multimillion dollar multi year contract for advertising etc. I forget. I’ll try to find it after I cut in some more photos of the various websites and facebook pages that haven’t been updated in months and months and months. It took two of us about six hours to put this article together. The websites are that hard to find and then we had to take a picture of each and write it up etc.

    That makes us wonder how much the BTA is paying the Facebook people for their five minutes every three days. Anything more than beer and mauby money be a waste!

    And why go outside? There must be somebody on the island that would and could do a good job and be excited about it.

  3. BFP

    Hey! Maybe the BFP crew could do Facebook for the BTA.

    hmmmmmm. On second thought that might not work out. 🙂

  4. PrettyPolly

    Look for the last couple of years the BTA have been involved in the Taste of Barbados that used to happen during this time of the year and events were free of some $30 sort of price. Me & the kids would pass thru the free ones, while & my partner would go to the ticket events.

    This year I can hardly believe my eyes. They have replaced Taste of Barbados with some big mugguffin event Food & Wine something with ‘International Celebrity Chefs’ being flown in from all around the globe. Ticket prices in all the ads show big & bold costs of $150 or $200!!!! What the france is that???

    I am so frigging mad that I have been priced out of this event. It is my tax payers money that is paying for these same celebrity chefs to be here. This is not the same as an Elephant Man concert that is a privately funded event, THIS IS MY FRIGGING TAX MONEY.

    The BTA is answerable to nobody and they are wasting our money on elite events which they & their cronies can go hang out & feel superior to the rest of us mere mortals. It is sickening!!!!

  5. Deutschland has just updated – Canada & USA remain comatose, I did a Prt-Scrn of each for posterity… “Fischen Sie einige Barbados-Impressionen unter http://www.barbados-karibik.de und lernen Sie ein wenig über die Karibik-Insel kennen!.” Translation via Google? “Barbados fishing a few impressions in http://www.barbados karibik.de- and learn little about the Caribbean island know one!

  6. Update on the links, please release?

  7. Main stream

    I’m betting this story is a collaboration between Ian Bourne and Kammie Holder two morons with nothing to do but criticise and not constructively either.

  8. Peter Gilkes – how are you?

  9. mac

    Who knew the BTA had a Facebook page??

  10. mac

    Well Well, they do indeed have a page!

    Last updated on 13th July 20210 at 15.26. Which was a Tuesday, at the end of a long week presumably. being resting ever since, hard work all this FB’ing don’t you know.

  11. BFP

    Hi Main stream,

    Just curious. If we paid and are paying people at the Barbados Tourism Association for the writing of all these Facebook pages, don’t you think that Barbados taxpayers deserve better than websites that are dead, stillborn and not touched in three months? Shouldn’t someone at the BTA be monitoring Barbados’ online presence to spot just this kind of thing? It looks so banana-republic to let these dead websites stand, and to not present the best image that we can to the rest of the world.

    After all, an online presence is all about crafting an image for Barbados. What kind of image are we presenting?

    Forget about your hate for Kammie or Ian or BFP. Sit back, take an objective look at the BTA’s social media and decide whether you think the campaign is being handled properly and how much Barbados should pay for it.

    Are

  12. 215

    First to commend BFP on posting this.

    Secondly, Main stream,

    As taxpayers, do we not have the right to objectively comment on how 130 employed people spend nearly BDS$100 million a year of OUR money?
    And that doesn’t include the MOT.

    I personally wish the current Minister of Tourism every success, BUT we are not doing him any favours by trying to ignore fundamental deficiencies and lost opportunities.

  13. cq8

    This took a lot of effort to research and write and BFP should be thanked for looking out for our interests. I believe that the Barbados Tourism Authority signed a contract some time ago for a major BTA campaign. Social media and the web were part of that campaign but I would not bet against the truth that there was one big price for everything.

    Our BTA probably never broke down the costs vis a vis individual parts of the campaign. The BTA probably never specified how many hours of work or posts per week they expected for the money.

    We’re probably paying three or four thousand dollars a week for two or three posts of 20 words each.

    I wouldn’t bet against that analysis. Government people have no grasp of reality because they have no limits on spending.

  14. Makin' Sense

    As long as those who have been in power at the BTA remain in control of the spending and decision making, there will be no change in how we market this country. Many smaller marketing companies/private sector companies locally have tried to get their foot in the door without success; the Avril Byers of the BTA will not even give you the time of day….and they are the gatekeepers. If you don’t get through to them, forget it.

    It is a shame to think about the amount of money that has been spent on marketing Barbados over the last 10 years that has been the equivalent of flushing many millions down the toilet.
    Until there is some level of accountability – i.e if the top brass at the BTA had to review their results each year against spend, then perhaps we would see a different story. The BTA has been allowed to run riot for so long, and seems to be incapable of having a consistent, professional and up to date approach to their marketing….we all see it, we all know it.

    Adrian’s comments about the lack of presence on You Tube just shows so clearly that the current BTA management just does not care enough about this country, and are too old school to understand what needs to happen. They are pulling huge salaries – paid for by our tax dollars and yet are never held accountable. They must all think they have it made….and that the people of Barbados are just stupid. It really is a travesty that they are allowed to continue screwing up the marketing of what is our main industry and source of revenue. How long will they allow this to continue? The question is, how long will we continue to put up with it?

  15. Hello BFP – just saw a RT on Twitter about your post & had to come over.

    Some things never change. Seems like this is the same conversation from years ago about BTA & their marketing efforts.

    OK, I am confused – does BTA have 3 facebook pages?

    Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia – Profile limited to friends only – (rather odd for a tourism site)
    http://www.facebook.com/BarbadosTravel

    Barbados Tourism Authority – http://on.fb.me/bmeN5m

    Barbados Beat – http://on.fb.me/b2U5Lo

  16. digg deeper

    The company doing the social media for Barbados is MMG. They have rooms full of people who astroturf without revealing they are being paid. That is what they say they do. How many are only automated feeds? Only they know.

  17. passin thru

    Many internet companies like MMG are making a fortune because governments and businesses don’t realize that computerized re-publishing of OPC (other people’s content) is hunted down with a vengeance by Google and the other search engines. That’s the only way that the search engines can maintain their own quality of product and search results. Barbados is probably paying tens of thousands of dollars a month for automated astroturfing that produces questionable real returns.

    That’s my opinion but I haven’t seen anything to shake me from it yet. I watched a video of MMG’s VP of astroturfing (he isn’t called that but that’s my nickname for him). It’s all buzz words in his video with no explanation of exactly what MMG does to get the “results” it quantifies itself to prove it’s effectiveness.

    There is something circular about MMG’s process in my opinion.

  18. Maria

    We are too complacent here in Barbados – Saint Lucia’s Tourism Authority coming through with innovative means all the time (they just had some British black cab drivers visit Saint Lucia for a week etc. when they go back to England, their cabs will be branded with the “Saint Lucia” pitons etc. and people riding in their taxis will be given information and briefed about Saint Lucia as the Saint Lucian tourism authority realised that taxi drivers all over the world meet hundreds of people per day and they are the best source of information! But no lets status update twice in five days – that should be good enough -we’re Barbados

  19. Sherlocvk Holmes

    Its about time Saint Lucia come up with its own ideas they’ve been stealing Barbados’ ideas and strategies for decades

  20. Adrian Loveridge

    Sherlocvk Holmes,

    What an interesting comment.

    If they are copying all ‘our’ ideas, why are they currently attracting 3.5 times the number of long stay visitors so far this year, than Barbados is?

    Why can’t ‘we’ fill one B737 out of the world’s busiest airport a week, but they can fill up to 10?

  21. yatinkiteasy

    Adrian…St lucians are nicer.

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