Visit Jamaica Facebook: over 100,000 fans. Visit Barbados Facebook: 263 fans.

UK visitors to Jamaica up 13% due to “concerted social media campaign.”

Visit Jamaica Facebook page: 103,700+ fans.

“Official” Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook page: 263 fans

Many Barbados Tourism Facebook pages dead for months.

Over two months ago we reported on the sorry state of the tossed-together Barbados Tourism Authority social media campaign (and we use the word “campaign” very loosely). We told you about the haphazardly created and then discarded BTA websites and Facebook pages that litter the internet like used diapers at a daycare center. (See our October 5, 2010 article: Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook not updated for 3 months)

We told you how Barbados is paying big dollars to a US company to have 15 minutes of original content work done each week and how our Facebook posts are mostly adverts, with many created automatically by software. We told you how our Twitter campaign was mostly automatically generated with pre-used content.

“Sometimes you just want to cry or rage at the shear stupidity and waste.”

BFP’s Robert reacts to more BTA idiocy reported on the next page of this article.

We told you how even the Minister of Tourism’s website lacked links to the Visit Barbados websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feed that we’re paying the big dollars for. Then the Bajan Reporter asked Tourism Minister Richard L. Sealy (photo above) about the BTA Facebook pages not being updated in months and it was a total surprise to the Minister.

So what has changed in the last couple of months? Ha! Maybe you don’t want to know… but you should make it your business. After all: you’re paying for this mess…

The Bad News

The Minister of Tourism’s website still doesn’t link to the Visit Barbados webpages, BTA Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. The “latest news” section of his website still says “Type latest news here”.

(I know, I know. In light of the Minister’s fine speeches about the BTA social media and online campaign it is pathetic, isn’t it?)

But that’s nothing…

All those discarded Facebook pages we told you about in our October 5, 2010 article are still there luring potential visitors to waste their time at long dead web pages sponsored by the Government of Barbados. Only now they have been joined by the BTA USA Facebook page that was just discontinued in late November for a new “Official” Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook page!

Yup. That’s what happened.

The BTA spent untold dollars and months developing links, readership and fans for The Barbados Beat USA Facebook page and what do they do now? They toss it all away to start yet another new BTA Facebook page.

Yes, a central English-language BTA Facebook page is the best idea to consolidate effort and grow a large single community of English-speaking fans instead of a bunch of little pages spread out all over the place for each English-speaking BTA market. Yes, that makes sense, and the new Facebook page is well done and follows the “Visit Barbados” slogan for brand consistency across advertising methods. Good.

But didn’t anyone at the BTA or the American advert agency create a plan before they put up the USA Facebook page and continued putting effort into it? Didn’t anyone THINK that it might be a good idea to have ONE CENTRAL Facebook page for each language instead of a dozen half-baked efforts all over the place?

Before we spent all that now-discarded money and effort?

What is the matter with the BTA people and their big time American advert agency? I am not in advertising. I am not in tourism. I am not an internet expert, but any damned fool can see that this was done all wrong. It looks to me like we citizens are paying for somebody’s learning curve.

Sometimes you just want to cry or rage at the shear stupidity and waste.

The Good News

One good thing happened. It looks like someone at the Barbados Tourism Authority or somewhere read our article and demanded more original content and more work from the American advert agency that does the Facebook pages.

In the last few weeks there has been an obvious change and a ramped-up effort to deliver better and more content via the BTA’s social network campaign. This started on the Barbados Beat Facebook page (now abandoned) and continues with the “new” and “Official” BTA English-language Visit Barbados Facebook page.

Good. It’s about time somebody looked at the quality of the product being delivered versus the big dollars we’re paying. At Barbados Free Press we’re happy we could be of service in pointing this out to the BTA.

Another piece of good news is that we now have BTA Visit Barbados websites up in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese. Better late than never and kudos to those in the tourism industry who for over ten years pushed for multi-language official Barbados Tourism Authority websites.

More Bad News?

The Visit Barbados websites are beautifully crafted, pleasing to the eye and generally do what they are designed to do: promote Barbados to people in their own language.

The potential problem is, the Visit Barbados websites were created with Adobe Flash: a technology that is on its way out for reasons of slow delivery, unstable performance, security vulnerabilities, the inability to be viewed usefully or at all on many popular mobile devices and the fact that search engines like Google and Yahoo are blind to Flash content. (A few moments searching Google told me all that. Wasn’t difficult.)

But okay, the Visit Barbados website creators razzle-dazzled the BTA and the Tourism Minister and showed them some fancy workups presented on a powerful in-house demonstration computer – instead of presenting it over the internet so everyone could see how pathetically slooooooooow the actual end-user experience can be.

I wonder if the Minister and the BTA were told that they would need separate “mobile content” websites to have the content viewed usefully (or at all) on many popular mobile devices? I wonder if we have mobile content BTA websites?

But at least the Visit Barbados websites are up and they look good – from computers anyway. I’m not so sure about how they look on mobile devices that are driving the growth in the internet now. You know: the kind of mobile devices that tourists with money have.

Let’s do a test – How do the Visit Barbados websites look on your mobile?

Would some of our American, British, Brazilian, Spanish, Chinese and Canadian readers please use their iPhones, iPads, Nokia and Blackberry phones and take a look at the Visit Barbados websites? Please let us know if you are able to view the content in each language and use the menus etc. And don’t forget to tell us what kind of smartphone or other mobile device you’re using. Thanks!

(Oops! I forgot that Barbados Free Press is blocked in China by the Chinese Government.)

Here the BTA’s Visit Barbados websites:

English, French, Chinese: http://www.visitbarbados.org/

(Menu at the top for language selection)

Portuguese: http://www.visitebarbados.com/

Spanish: http://www.visitebarbados.com/espanol/

Chinese: http://lvyou168.cn/travel/Barbados/

Further reading…

UK visitors up to Jamaica despite recession

New figures from the Jamaican Tourist Board show the destination experienced its highest August UK visitor numbers since 2006 this year.

Arrivals for the month compared to August 2009 jumped by 13%, with 17,085 people heading for the Caribbean island.

In August 2006, 17,274 UK visitors travelled to the island.

The tourist board attributes the rise in numbers to its concerted social media campaign. It has created three new YouTube channels, launched a blog and manned two Twitter accounts. It also has a VisitJamaica Facebook page which has just chalked up 100,000 fans…

… Continue reading this story at Travel Mole

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Technology, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

16 responses to “Visit Jamaica Facebook: over 100,000 fans. Visit Barbados Facebook: 263 fans.

  1. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘Tourism Australia’s fan page on Facebook, which was launched in 2008, now has more than one million fans who are sharing their love of Australia with the world’.
    Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvroy stated ‘With thousands of fans uploading video, photos and stories it’s like the ultimate holiday slide night every day’.
    ‘Word of mouth has always been the most effective way of spreading the word about holiday destinations’.

    ‘Now Facebook, and platforms like it, have just made that faster and more powerful than ever before’ McEvoy added.

    Source: 4Hoteliers Hospitality and Travel News – 1st December 2010

  2. Markie M.

    “discarded BTA websites and Facebook pages that litter the internet like used diapers at a daycare center.”

    LOL!

  3. Kammie

    @Adrian, they can employ me as a consultant for free to show them how to use social media as part of their marketing arsenal. As a former board member can you make the recommendation? Get back to me soon before I change my mind! Its not rocket science, I would achieve more fans on Facebook by working 3 hours nightly than what they now have. Ah even got more twitter followers than them too.

  4. The man wiv no name!!

    Correspondingly, visit any prison anywere in the world and, what will u find? 100, 000 Jamaican prisoners. No. of Bajan prisoners? Nil. And thus is the lesson. Still envy the Jamaicans?!! I think not!!

    Lorrrrrrrdddddddddddddddddd!! 🙂

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    Kammie,
    Nobody listens to me anymore, least of all anyone in the BTA or Ministry of Tourism.
    Being a revoked Director of the BTA does not get you any priviledges, I am afraid.
    Markie M,
    If they are not current, get them of the website. Makes us look like a bunch of amateurs.

    I am told 4 people attended the first White Paper Town Hall meeting.

  6. 217

    Yesterday’s (30 Novemer 2010) MSNBC homepage had an article extolling the virtues of 15 Caribbean islands considered “best” in an equal number of categories. Strangely, Barbados did not make it for best in any category.

  7. I am noisy -therefore I AM!

    Barbados is definitely on the down-slide.
    Check availability in most supermarkets:
    it sure as heck isn’t what it used to be, 5-10 yrs. ago!!

    We took it for granted that the golden glory days wud last forever
    now it’s slipping away from us in so many little ways that all add up to a bigger way.

    Barbados -“the BEST place in the whole world to live”
    – oh how he boasted and patted our own backs in self-congratulatory fashion.

    Well fellas, the time is NOW for some REAL SUBSTANCE, sight?
    -not talk…not brave talk.
    We need actual improvement of the tourism product here on the ground on this island
    so when visitors who have succumbed to our illusory advertising,
    and book, and travel, don’t find the island to be semi-dumpy,
    in need of cleaning up LITTER all over the place,
    in need of PAINT and freshening up!

    Bajans DOAN SEE ‘UGLY’
    –this is one of our big probs here on this island.

    Whuh? “Doan see ugly?” -whuh dah mean?
    It mean de same thing as
    “What noise pollution? I thought mekkin noise fuh sport wuz normal!

    Wunnuh keep runnin de tourisses an dem.
    De IMF gyne soon own dis place, whether bees or dees!

  8. jdid

    cheese onn bread den! the bajans against owen arthur facebook page only start how long and dem got half dat number a fans aready 🙂

  9. Well I think the Tourist Board need to find new marketing strategies.

  10. Well all i would like to say is the two islands offer a different tourist attraction jamaica is more of an all inclusive destination and dont forget its hedonistic resorts , plus in the past Barbados tourist trade came from the cruise ships until 9/11 hence we are now looking towards europe , so dont knock it these boys have only been in power for two years the others were in when the rot started and the did didley squat ( head aint mek for hat alone ) .long live life

  11. That visit Barbados site is a bueaty. Only problem I find with pretty sites is that nobody is able to update them and the information gets stale.

  12. Kammie

    I should probably paint myself and set up a company over in away to get some that money for empty marketing. Would this happen in the private sector?
    Just needed to say that!

  13. Nasty litter-y Barbados!

    Pretty marketing is one thing.
    Product delivered is another.

    We need to close the gap between the quality we purport to offer
    and what’s really on da ground, when dey reach!

    Simple stuff like…I recently walked along Pine Road, Belleville.
    OK so few tourisses beat dat strip but
    lemme tell you, the litter all around, in the bush, was amazing.
    It was EVERYwhere!

    This same situation purports as you WALK anywhere on this island.
    You need to get out of your car -and WALK to see it.

    Such are the little things that worldly sophisticated people with higher standards than ours NOTICE!

    End of rant.
    Nothing to see or hear here.
    Move along now…

  14. BREAKIN’ News – BTA’s FB page updated, jumps straight from July 13 to Current! “THE 2010 CRUISE SEASON LAUNCHES
    The cruise department held a performance spectacle at the Bridgetown Port on November 13th to mark the start of the 2010/2011 cruise season. One this date there were four cruise ship calls with a total of 6855 passengers and 2500 crew members with the Emerald Princess producing…” (see more)

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    Ian,

    Perhaps they are listening after all!
    Let us hope that its not another 5 months before it gets updated again.

  16. Jinx

    I don’t think that tour buses and island safaris stopping to show visitors a cock fighting match would help to entice more tourists here either. Too many have reported to me that although the country has such breathtaking views, it is very painful for them to see how animals are treated here and it is a big deterrent for future visits!