Barbados Government’s predatory pricing and large sector support destroys small hotels

Barbados Tourism Authority couldn’t care less about the small hotels sector

“Show me where you spend your money and I’ll show you what’s important to you.” That phrase goes way back to the Bible and it’s as true now as it was back then. In his latest article Adrian Loveridge says that the government “props up” Government GEMS hotels while ignoring the small hotel sector and he’s correct.

What he doesn’t say right out in this article is that the Government of Barbados failed miserably with every GEMS hotel it touched while hard working small hotel owners and staff who were successful made it on their own. The DLP and BLP governments wondered why nobody wanted to invest in the Barbados hotel business and the reason was the government was the “competition” and subsidized poor quality GEMS Hotels with hundreds of millions of tax dollars. What private sector can compete with that kind of government “competition”?

And even with the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidization, the amateurs running GEMS Hotels couldn’t make a go of it. That’s what happens when the government hires managers who have no personal stake in the business and couldn’t make it in the private sector if they tried.

All things considered, Barbados is a very hostile business environment for the small hotels sector. I think that the Barbados Tourism Authority ignores the small hotels because they believe their first duty is to the government owned and lower quality mass market hotels.

The Barbados Tourism Authority might say they care about small hotels, but considering 0% (yup zero percent) of the BTA budget is dedicated to the small hotel sector, you don’t have to be a farmer to smell the cow droppings.

And just for the record, the following title “The Big Lie…” is ours. Mr. Loveridge’s words start with the quote below our title…

The Big Lie spoken by David Rice of the Barbados Tourism Authority

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

“What needs to happen is this…we have to get out of this notion that the Government is here to prop up every business.”

David Rice CEO/President – Barbados Tourism Authority
Barbados Advocate – Thursday 24th February 2011

From a tourism perspective that is of course unless your business is called Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS). In which case you will receive almost unlimited support to ‘prop’ you up, including a reported BDS$247 million (losses) or nearly three times the annual budget of Mr. Rice’s organisation!

The majority of our small hotels have been left floundering while GEMS has for over ten years been ‘propped-up’ by Government and allowed to practice persistent predatory pricing.

No part of the BTA’s nearly BDS$100 million budget is dedicating to marketing the majority of our small hotels and there is still no functioning committee to support this sub-sector with the private sector trade association (BHTA).

The BTA chairman, Ralph Taylor is quoted on StarCom news this morning that were ‘looking for value-for-money’, yet three weeks after
being awarded the ONLY hotel on Barbados to be recognised as one of the 11 Best Value Caribbean Hotels, our property has not been highlighted by the BTA at all.

Mr. Rice has given the impression that there has been previous support for the majority of our small hotels by stating ‘Local businesses in the tourism sector need to take on the responsibility for marketing their own product, and no longer rely on the government for support in tough times’.

At best this statement is entirely erroneous.

Adrian Loveridge
Peach and Quiet

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking

26 responses to “Barbados Government’s predatory pricing and large sector support destroys small hotels

  1. what will they think of next

    The big is, “Government don’t help small hotels”.
    The fact is they are given great help by the administration in office.
    What I can’t understand is why these small hoteliers have such a mendacant attitude. Get out there and try for a change to help yourselves and quit with this constant begging it is disgusting. That is why they are not growing. 22 rooms in the past, 22 rooms in the present, 22 rooms in the future and 22 rooms forever.

    Take ACCRA BEACH HOTEL as an example, tremendous and continuing growth over the years without a cent from ANY Government. THESE BEGGAR HOTELIERS need to take a page out of ACCRA BEACH HOTEL’S book!

  2. Adrian Loveridge

    I really don’t think that ‘What will they think of Next’ has anything to do with the hotel that he/she purports to speak on, because virtually everything they say in inaccurate but two simple questions:
    1) Did Accra receive any TIRF (Tourism Industry Relief Fund) monies?
    2) Did it participate in the Best of Barbados programme for a number of years.
    If the answer is YES! to either or both questions, then the person is
    clearly misleading the public.

  3. bajeabroad

    It is the sole responsibility for ANY business to ensure it has a marketing plan in place to attract customers to its product of service offering. Come on, how can you start a business or develop a business plan with the expectation the someone else is directly on the hook for YOUR livelihood

    With that said I am fully in agreement with any business that wants to go beyond their own marketing efforts to have co-ordinated marketing efforts with other organisations or the government, BUT let’s not take that to mean the gov’t should be totally responsible for marketing the business’ offering.

    Sandals does an excellent job marketing independently in addition to the Jamaica commercials that I see on cable tv here. Bay Gardens in St. Lucia does a good job of that for a “small” hotel as well.

    Let’s get off our lazy asses and be more innovative with the budget that our business has. Governments in the mid-east are being brought down by poor citizens via very powerful and ultra cheap internet twitter and facebook means. Shows the power of disseminating a focussed message via a cheap vehicle.

    If we as a small hotelier, don’t have the budget to atleast do that, then let’s get real, we really don’t have a sustainable business! Stop the belly aching and let’s be globally competitive for a change! Do you see Coca Cola, Pepsi, Apple and IBM advertising to you or the US Government!

    Exactly!

  4. Whats the real story here?

    Joint marketing support from the BTA to help small hotels is an issue, however, the real story here is the wastage and squandering of hundreds of millions of Barbadian taxpayer monies, through
    INCOMPETENCE AND A FALSE AND ARROGANT BELIEF THAT ONLY GOVERNMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO PISS AWAY MONEY THAT DOESNT BELONG TO THEM WITH ABSOULUTELY NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

  5. what will they think of next

    You really understand what you are saying,=INCOMPETENCE AND A FALSE AND ARROGANT BELIEF THAT ONLY GOVERNMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO PISS AWAY MONEY THAT DOESNT BELONG TO THEM=In other words give the money to small Beggar Hoteliers TO PISS AWAY.
    That is the solution! Am I right?

  6. Whats the real story here?

    WWTTON

    You have an uncanny ability to ask the wrong question and come to the wrong conclusion

    A small hotelier knows what a cost benefit analysis and return on investment is.

    If public monies are being spent to bring in tourist dollars and extra revenue it should be tied into who has done the best job in terms of accountability.

    The difference is accountability and return on investment. Adrian does not
    piss away his money so that these dollars are an investment capable of some sort of return on taxpayer money, not a free unchecked giveaway like GEMS.

    I think you already know this.

  7. what will they think of next

    What these small beggar Hoteliers want is $20.00 in Government support when they are only bringing in 3 cents in foreign exchange.

    ACCRA BEACH HOTEL does not go cap in hand to anyone and yet it is the prefered Hotel on the South Coast by Guests from all around the World. It is also growing by leaps and bounds.

  8. George

    ACCRA did in fact get TIRF
    Here is the date & Amounts

    04.06.2009
    Accra Beach Hotel
    $535,508.00

    18.11.2009
    Accra Beach Hotel
    $307,714.96

  9. Adrian Loveridge

    George,

    THANK YOU.

    I rest my case.

    P & Q did not apply or and therefore did not receive any TIRF monies or in fact ANY other Government funding. We survive entirely by our own endeavours and have done for 23 years. I cannot remember when the BTA last included us in any of their marketing/promotional/travel agent/tour operator activities but hundreds of millions of Dollars have been spent to attempt to put us out of business with the folly of GEMS.
    And then we are told by the most senior employed tourism official that Government is not here to ‘prop up every (tourism) business’.
    It is the height of hypocrisy.

  10. what will they think of next

    Adrian I see that you are resting a lot, you are not moving out of your comfort zone.
    22 rooms yesterday, 22 rooms in the present, 22 rooms in the future and 22 rooms forever.
    You rest your case!

    ACCRA BEACH HOTEL 143 rooms yesterday, 227 rooms today and 307 rooms in the future!

    Who is making the GREATER CONTRIBUTION and WHO HAS THE greater vision?
    Tell us Adrian!

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    what will you SAY next,

    Are you building the additional rooms with TIRF (taxpayer) monies to accommodation those 65,000 guests per annum you boasted?

  12. Parker S. Smith

    We live outside of town near Shellbrook in Saskatchewan Canada. We are coming to Barbados in March for a holiday this is the first time we have been out of Canada and the United States for a holiday. We went to Orlando in 2005. We decided we want a smaller resort to stay at on an caribbean island that is not too crowded with tourists. We are giving Barbados a try and we are excited because your island is different than anyplace we have been. We chose Barbados because we think it is less commercialized. Big hotels as not what we want.

    The large hotels don’t appeal to us because they are impersonal. We had to hunt for a place to stay because every advertisement is for large hotels. We will let you know our experiences after.

    Parker S. Smith

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Mr. Parker,

    First of all thank you for having the confidence in Barbados to choose us for your holiday choice and wherever you stay I hope you have a wonderful time.
    We are blessed to have some good (if not excellent) small and large hotels and of course its down to individual guests preference and personally I would not want it any other way.
    Count the days down, as a former Winnipeg resident, I am very familar with your current weather conditions.
    Down here we had an early morning heavy shower. but the sun is now out with a steady north easterly breeze and a very pleasant 29 degrees C. (plus of course). The whole island currently looks beautifully green
    with amazing tropical vegetation. Try and get to Hunte’s Gardens, St. Nicholas Abbey, lunch at Atlantis, dinner at Tapas and maybe Tides
    and one of our outstanding beaches like Bottom Bay, Ginger Bay and Enterprise (Miami).
    Have a fantastic holiday!

  14. what will they think of neaxt

    Not a single room has EVER, EVER been built with taxpayers monies, in the past or will they be in the future.

    ACCRA BEACH HOTEL does not operate that way.
    Adrian when I read that P(each)&Q(uiet) is a property without AC, TV, internet, a real beach front, etc.. I was shocked beyond belief, I thought I was reading CAVEMAN NEWS BLOG, in this day and age these are standard features and to find that your INN has none of these, no wonder you are 22 rooms forever.

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    what will you SAY next,

    What did you do with all that the taxpayers monies then?
    Telling fibs again?

    Better do some research, we have free WiFi.

    Funny isn’t it that we seem perfectly acceptable to members of the British Royal Family, some of the world’s leading surgeons, psychologists scientists. authors, actors, corporate heads, musicians, politicians and a whole bunch of nice people.
    You must have been full with all those 65,000 guests per year and we were their second choice.

  16. what will they think of next

    Adrian said:Funny isn’t it that we seem perfectly acceptable to members of the British Royal Family, some of the world’s leading surgeons, psychologists scientists. authors, actors, corporate heads, musicians, politicians and a whole bunch of nice people. Funny enough so is ACCRA BEACH HOTEL.BTW did you install your wifi yesterday, what about tv, ac, beach front, multipule restaurants and bars, swimmup bar, gym, games room, world class spa, multilpe meeting rooms, jucuzzis,inromm safes, 100 tv channels, oh i forgot no tv, business center, slot machine room, world class cuisine, world class Exec. Chef, I did not see you mention any of thoses did you forget?

  17. Adrian Loveridge

    What will you SAY next,

    What about the rates you charge?

    I realise that with over $840,000 of taxpayers monies you can charge lower room rates than hotels that have to operate in the commercial world of reality.

    I am pleased that OUR efforts have helped keep you in business.

  18. yatinkiteasy

    Adrian, you are wasting your time with this person.
    “Take ACCRA BEACH HOTEL as an example, tremendous and continuing growth over the years without a cent from ANY Government.”
    “Not a single room has EVER, EVER been built with taxpayers monies, in the past or will they be in the future.”

    ACCRA did in fact get TIRF
    Here is the date & Amounts

    04.06.2009
    Accra Beach Hotel
    $535,508.00

    18.11.2009
    Accra Beach Hotel
    $307,714.96

    I guess close to a million $ subsidy in one year is not significant.
    What an a hole.
    Let him live in his little world of fantasy!

  19. what will they think of next

    Guest count per year in the near future wll top 85,000.
    Read and weep Andrian.

  20. Rumboy

    P and Q does not need all the various luxuries that are mentioned above and yet it is very comfortable. Not everyone needs to have an AC or cable to be able to spend a relaxing week. I personally love to hear the sea as I slide off into dream land.

  21. bajeabroad

    Don’t really want to get into the back and forth with P&Q and Accra Beach but tourism is not rocket science and there are many examples globally that our “astute” hoteliers can turn to for solutions on how to position our hotels correctly to offer value for money.

    Adrian L at P&Q mentions that he NEVER received TIRF yet he employs common sense practices….or atleast common sense practices in every other part of the world to ensure that his business is successful. Other small hoteliers can do the same, as it seems to work for him. No wheel re-invention needed

    Now I am not saying that government must not offer ANY assistance to the tourism industry to maintain foreign exchange but come on there is alot that can be done by these hoteliers to be globally competitive….can list if you like.

    It is absolutely astonishing that we focus so much on Tourism as an example yet the same abundance of sunshine is not put to better use in relation to reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. Same can be said in relation to the abundance of wind. We should be focused on subsidising business and industries that can be directly responsible for providing energy generation from alternative means, because in the long term it would have a large impact on foreign exchange spend on ever costly fossil fuels AND underpin EVERY business on the island. This is certainly an area where capital and operating costs are high because globally we are still on a technology learning curve. It’s no surprise that the US is focusing on these subsidies now because in the long run that is where all economies will have to evolve to. Note that China is the top producer of Solar technolgy as well. The earlier Barbados gets on track the earlier we can decouple our foreign exchange from fossil fuels.

    We already have an example in B’dos in the solar water heating industry. Barbados has saved $375 million Bds dollars in foreign exchange from 1974-2002 due to solar water heater penetration and has the highest per capita penetration in the Caribbean. This was LARGELY due to Government’s fiscal incentives where homeowner’s can deduct the costs of the unit. Clear example of government policy matching consumer behaviour for the benefit of the country and reduced foreign exchange demand. The same scenario is ready to be repeated with respect to alternative electrical in Barbados. Government leadership is certainly needed here.

    That is just one example of where Government needs to really focus to solve structural problems WHILE providing smart assistance to key existing industries. I will leave with a few questions.

    (1) How many hotels buy fruits that are literally dropping off the tree from our small farmers to make purees or juices for their guest instead of buying expensive artificial imported jubilee juice from SBI

    (2) How many hotels pool together and direct buy from suppliers out of the USA or Caribbean to eliminate the middle man distributor here

    (3) How many hotels pool together to support specific local farms, and even advertise this as a potential visitor attraction to their guest a la winery tours in Tuscany Italy or Napa California.

    (4) How many hotels have rooftop gardens or regular vegetable gardens on their property for that fact?

    (5) How many hotels have solar technology employed to reduce cululative electrical costs over the next 5 years?

    (6) How many hotels have active Facebook pages and twitter accounts as well as multi-language websites with a “web cam” view of current beach and sun conditions that you can experience “if only you were here”

    (7) How many hotels “give away” 3 days at their hotel and collaborate with an airline to offer a gift package on a North American radio station just to generate buzz on their property and the island to listernships in the millions.

    (8) How many of them pool together and jump on a plane to offer that packages themselves in person on popular radio stations in NY, Toronto or London for that fact?

    (9) How many hotels employ local chefs that know how to cook what we grow around here and in the Caribbean as opposed to Steak and Pasta?

    Government assistance….man give me a break!

  22. Rumboy

    Excellent response ‘ bajeabroad’. Me thinks that this discussion could end here and on the above.

  23. Barb

    Thank you bajeabroad! I’ve been visiting your island for the past 5 years and was wondering the same thing. I hope some small hoteliers will incorporate some of your ideas. I come to Barbados to get a taste of your homeland not an imitation of my own.

  24. Pingback: Adrian Loveridge’s Tourism MATTERS: Some questions and a bit of praise for the Barbados Government | Barbados Free Press

  25. I am NOT White

    Heard that P & Q has been sold. Can Mr. Loveridge confirm or deny .

  26. Adrian Loveridge

    I am NOT.

    Absolutely NO truth in that rumour. Currently 100% full.