Adrian Loveridge shares “secrets” of tourism business success – but BTA and government aren’t interested

UPDATED: December 3, 2011

With the breaking story that Tourism Minister Sealy took 135 Ministry employees to Guyana for a weekend “retreat”, we were reminded of this recent post by Adrian Loveridge.

As far as we at BFP are concerned…

Sealy blew it on the optics alone. If he thinks that the public will support this “retreat” in Guyana, he’s out of his mind.

Instead, he should have had groups of employees staying at hotels in Barbados and then getting together at the Hilton or other venues to discuss whatever it is they are going to discuss. As Adrian said in his original piece, he seldom sees anyone from the government at his place and he’s not alone.

Unless Guyana’s tourism product is so much better than ours that the intent was to show everyone at the Ministry how things are supposed to be done?

In which case, we are really in trouble.

Original post first published October 18, 2011…

“It’s almost as if the key decision makers have tried to make tourism more complicated and moved away from the simple things that actually make it work very well.”

Tourism MATTERS – Sharing a business formula that works

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

Back in the nineteen seventies, after working in Canada, I returned to the United Kingdom, taking two temporary non-travel related jobs to establish enhanced credibility for the purpose of obtaining a house mortgage. Both were important learning experiences which I have never regretted.

The first was working as a salesman in a branch of a high-end consumer electronics retailer selling audio equipment products made by manufacturers that included Bang & Olufsen and Roberts. The manager instilled a valuable lesson that has stayed with me for life. His view was that if you are ever going to effectively sell anything, whatever it was, that you had better know everything possible about it.

I think he sensed a genuine interest and allowed me to take, what at that time, were very expensive pieces of equipment home at night and weekends to familiarise myself with their features.

Months when later I formed a tour operator company, this acquired wisdom formed an integral part  of the business masterplan. Irrespective of the product or service, intimate knowledge of every aspect is critical, if you are going to fully understand your marketplace and prospective customer.

Surprisingly then, even after owning and operating a hotel for nearly twenty four years, I can count on two hands with fingers to spare, the number of senior Barbados Tourism Authority officials, both locally and overseas, Ministers of Tourism, Permanent Secretaries and other leading figures within the public sector that have visited our property.

Some may say, well they don’t have the time. But in reality that means visiting just one hotel each eleven days in a parliamentary term, to cover all 160 plus registered accommodation providers.

Any medium to long term planning and policymaking would surely have to take in the destination’s strengths and weaknesses, at every level? In fact without this knowledge, it is difficult to imagine how exactly the stated mandate as ‘the primary tourism marketing agency for Barbados’ could be effectively carried out.

What makes it even more difficult to comprehend, is that we are among a limited number of hotels that have consistently won awards, have one of the highest repeat clientele ratios, a 95 per cent guest satisfaction level, pay all our taxes and have never been forced to claim any government financial assistance.

Some properties may not be doing so well, so isn’t it in the national interest to try and take those to a higher level by sharing a business formula that appears to work?

It would be remiss of me not to mention two former Ministers of Tourism, the late Peter Morgan and Sir Harold St. John, who were both frequent visitors to our small hotel. Despite their political divide, they shared a passion for tourism and had that seemingly rare talent of listening, even to us little people.

In subsequent years, it’s almost as if the key decision makers have tried to make tourism more complicated and moved away from the simple things that actually make it work very well.

Could it possibly be as simple as that, ‘we’ talk more than ‘we’ listen?

Advertisements

50 Comments

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

50 responses to “Adrian Loveridge shares “secrets” of tourism business success – but BTA and government aren’t interested

  1. Tony Webster

    Dear Mr. Loveridge:

    I not only sympathise with you and “the missus”, I feel quite ashamed as a Barbadian because of your shabby treatment, at the hands of both political parties..easy prey to to the “political cudgels” often used when these “Great Leaders” are confronted by inconvenient truths, and resort to castigating the messenger, rather than addressing the message.

    I well recall what you said , as GEMS was launched. Now, we have a GEM of a mess, and this now is ignominiously being handed over to the private sector for rescuing some value for the tax-payers! May I offer to you however, that there are many, many bajans who live by principles above raw political expediencies, and applaud and respect you for pursuing your business and life here amongst us in Bim. You have every justification to hold your head high. Please stick around.

  2. Chicago

    The BLP especially Tourism Minister Noel (what was his name?) denigrated Loveridge at every opportunity for four reasons:

    1/ Loveridge is white.
    2/ Loveridge is not Barbados born.
    3/ Loveridge privately took a run down almost derelict hotel and made it into an award winning profitable business that is itself a tourism destination. (We and many other long standing guests come to Barbados because of Peach and Quiet. If P&Q shuts down, we’ll find another destiniation probably not Barbados.)
    4/ The success of Peach and Quiet undermines the credibility of government involvement in the hotel business because the government has proven itself incapable of running a profitable tourism business. The attempt to nationalize tourism with Hotels and Resorts etc was a disaster and Peach and Quiet’s continued success in difficult financial times shines a spotlight on the failure of government ownership and control.

    Free enterprise is better than government ownership but that is against the Bajan model.

  3. Now I know where to go since the ‘destruction’ of the Crane

  4. Anonymous

    The BTA and other ministers of Tourism still have no clue as to what is happening outsidt their concoon, they are still mired in the muck of inportance and thus unable to think outside the box. As tourism dimminishes in general due to economic upheavel there is still not an consious awarness as to how to address the downturn. Once Cuba opens up it will got worst and it will be to late to try to fix the spiraling downturn of toursim, Its a pity since BGI is still one of the best destination in the Carribean. A 4 seasons is a joke to develop. Why did Cunard pull Paradise Beach. Hopefully they will wake up before its to late,
    BOSNYCBajan

  5. Windsurfer

    But reliable sources tell us Loveridge hotel only opened for 5months of the year without any securty guards to boot if true it makes Loveridge secrets of tourism success frivolous yeh

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    Windsurfer,

    Absolutely NOT true and very malicious.

  7. 145

    part of the global initative is to see what works outside of BGI. remember those BTA and Ministers of tourism are still looking at a playbook that is 1990 and not 2011. they need to step up to the real world to begin to reshape tourism. its a national undertaking. look at the Bahamas as a sucess story.

  8. Canajan

    Unfortunately it would appear many of the people involved with BTA and the government are looking through rose colored glasses. Everything is fine with the brand name Barbados. Arrival numbers are fine, lengths of stay are fine, everything is wonderful.
    Meanwhile hotels are closing, and other businesses are having a hard go of it, the St Lawrence gap is a far cry from what it used to be.
    Tourists are really looking for value for their dollar these days as the economies of their homelands haven’t been great for quite a while now.

    Imagine the damage the condo market is doing to the name Barbados.

  9. missed one

    Chicago missed one reason for Noel Lynch’s attack on Loveridge

    Noel Lynch feels inferior and ignorant because he is.

    Color is simply an excuse by those who resent successful people who use common sense and hard work as their every day “work ethic”

  10. Alice in Dreadland

    1) The inhabitants at the BTA are tired, unimaginative, dullards without the capability of thinking beyond their OWN self interest. They have forgotten that their manadate is to promote BARBADOS not just get involved in pet projects that interest them.

    2) Due to their lack of creativity they resent ordinary folks who have the audacity to come up with novel innovative ideas.

    3) They have an inner cabal of ‘hangers on’ which they hand out candy to at the expense of the tax payers.

    4) They treat the money in their budget which comes from the tax payers of Barbados as if they earned it. They therefore splash it around at whim.

    5) We the people of Barbados get what we deserve as we allow this bunch of washed out johnnies to be in charge of our most important industry.

  11. Shine is off the Barbados Brand

    Tourism had many good years as an industry in Barbados. Those times are gone. What we are seeing now is partially because of external financial factors.but there is a great part of our decline that is related to the fact that the Barbados of 2011 is far different than our image. After our product declined (too much traffic, beaches gone, garbage, crime up) our Brand Name sustained us for a few more years.

    The shine is off the brand.

  12. Alice in Dreadland

    @ Shine is off the Barbados Brand

    There is much to commend what you have said. We are an old brand name that has evolved due to the progress (good & bad) of the island. HOWEVER this should not signal the demise of Barbados’s tourism product. It just needs of tourism industry to adpat to the reality of our situation.

    If you come from the UK & many parts of North America, Barbados is still an enjoyable place to come visit. The weather is usally pleasant, some of our beaches are beautiful, the East coast still retains some charm and we the people are not total barbarians. We Bajans still enjoy chatting to visitors, sharing a drink & just enjoying some of lifes basic goodness.

    Apart from Sandy Lane Barbados does not have many World Class facilities that would stand up to scrutiny from products being offered by Mauritius, Bahamas, Bali etc. Whilst the BTA pretend that we can compete then there is no chance we will ever re-brand Barbados to play to our true strengths.

  13. LT

    If only the government would stop beating their big ‘ol gorilla chests and grinning with pomp and just think for a moment that they are not as smart as they think they are.

  14. rasta man

    @LT: And when yo say big include the bellies.

  15. Christopher Parravicino

    People put in posts who have no passion for tourism or understanding of the basic principals let alone the various players in the market, both internal and external. Just influenced by ‘numbers’ and ‘spend’ but not interested in the inputs and struggles that various stakeholders face. Worked in the industry for many years in a direct tourism service and spent considerable money to go on most BTA organised trade shows to market Barbados. Always found Ministers and the insider hangers-on indifferent and aloof with no real sense of camraderie or interest for the national good being exhibited. Used to be so in the past. Only interested in what they can get for themselves and friends. Wrong people put in wrong job with no interest/understanding but for themselves = stagnation!

  16. Health & King

    Adrian was let go from the BTA for being argumentative and arrogant and he cannot handle that reality. He should join his friend Macriminhale of Ocean Reef with his dodgy condo hotel project.

    The Minister was encouraged by lawyer Yearwood to fire Loveridge and he did just that.

    Loveridge did want firing and the DLP will not apologize for getting rid of this waste of time from the board of the BTA. People should read some of the non-sense he said as a director and which litters to minutes of the BTA.

  17. Adrian Loveridge

    Health and King,

    As you appear to be so well informed, can you please advise why the Minister fired eight other directors as well at the same time?

    If asking reasonable questions about spending vast amounts of taxpayer monies is ‘nonsense’, I make absolutely no apologies.

    I was in fact one of the very few directors that attended every meeting and even asked questions.

  18. millertheanunnaki

    @ Shine is off the Barbados Brand:

    Your pseudonym says it all! The day of reckoning has arrived for Barbados’ tourism industry. The myopic planners and bureaucrats have by their lack of vision, sensitivity and professionalism have contributed to the dire state of affairs in the industry. Failure to diversify the attractions and protect the natural environment and beaches, deteriorating physical plant, reduced value for the money being asked for, verbal and physical harassment of visitors, fake products made in China passing off as “souvenirs of Barbados” and most of all stiff competition from other “un-spoilt” destinations especially with the opening up of Cuba to Europeans and North Americans, spearheaded by the Canadians will hammer the final nail in the coffin carrying the dying body of the brand “Barbados- Land of the flying fish, sand sea & sun”.

  19. true

    In 2013 we will be suffering more in tourism? SVG will be opening there international airport, most of their resort & hotel guest come through Barbados, to go to their mainland & the Grenadines.

  20. 145

    I echo the same about Cuba as well. the BTA refused to listen to my numerous suggestions to develope a meeting and conference concentration from the states. it fell on deaf ears and hence you now have a dimminition of tourism.
    NYCBGI

  21. Health & King

    @ Adrian

    I will answer your question with a question, is it not true that all of the directors who were fired with you, except you, have been given positions on other boards or given consultancy contract?

    Is it not true that you were trying to further your own personal interest by your position on the board of the BTA, something which occupied the attention of PM Thompson and who agreed with Cabinet to fire you.

    Why not tell people if you tried to promote your vested interest while being a board member and how in matters of corporate governance that is what is called a conflict of interest.

    Barbados does not need to be preached to by the likes of you. Anyway didn’t you close the derelict hotel anyway?

  22. Duppy Lizard

    @ Health & King – Your name Liz Thompson?

  23. Steupse!

    @Health & King
    “Barbados does not need to be preached to by the likes of you”

    Well, that says it all. Our tourism planners and politicians grow up in a 14 x 27 mile island, visit New York and Miami and a couple of other places, and they know it all. It’s funny, that when they legislate, the pick and choose from legislation from other countries around the world, but when it comes to tourism, they know everything already. To me, the BTA budget has always been about who can get the most out of it personally, with boondoggle trips staying at fancy hotels, and achieving absolutely nothing. Conflict of interest? That’s a can of worms that opens with the politicians and CLICO, so better not go there! Steupse!

  24. Xenophobia

    @Health & King. A typical ignorant, pestilent position you have established on an issue that affects us all. So what if the man was let go from an incompetent BTA board, does that mean his message automatically goes in the bin? Why do you make it personal? If the big up poser-wannbe social climbers who we have elected to serve the country could ever manage to remove those enormous chips from their uneducated shoulders, then the tourism issues could be resolved. But it will never happen. Resentment is a terminal cancer. No tourists, no foreign exchange. Debt. Layoffs. Irreparable damage has already been done. Tourism is the way we earn money!
    @Alice in Dreamland: We Bajans still enjoy chatting to visitors, sharing a drink & just enjoying some of lifes basic goodness. Well said. Exactly.

  25. Adrian Loveridge

    Health and King,

    (vested interest’ – Not quite sure what you are trying to insinuate here. If you mean the re-DISCOVER SHOW and programme, you should know in the first year of the domestic re-DISCOVER programme ( following 911) it attracted over 5,200 Barbadian diners into our restaurants, protected employment and literally kept some restaurants open at NO cost to the BTA. The show generated over $7 million of foreign currency earnings over 7 consecutive years and I am still trying to get the BTA to pay for their token commitment.
    As a Director of the BTA, I never cashed my director fee cheques endorsing them to a Barbados charity and the two advances of expenses for overseas trips I GAVE my time to, have never been touched.

    You really have to learn the difference between fact and outright lies.

  26. 145

    not only is preaching warrented a few lashes with the cane is on order. get real and stop defending the inability of the BTA to seize the moment and step into the 21th century
    NYC/BGI

  27. Peltdownman

    Adrian, re: your comment about Ministers and other officials visiting the hotels – the Barbados Manufacturers Association (BMA) has successfully organised visits to various manufacturing facilities for successive Ministers of Industry, together with officials from the monistry and the BIDC. Would it not be a good idea for the BHTA to do the same with the Minister of Tourism and other officials?

  28. Energy Star

    @ Adrian

    Given your charitable nature, should we now nominate you for the some national prize? Stupse.

    You didnt answer my question about the other directors and about the status of your hotel. Can you prvide some clarity?

  29. 67

    “Barbados does not need to be preached to by the likes of you.”

    Out with it “Health and King.” Who are the likes of you?

    Bearded men? Small hotel owners? People called Adrian?

  30. millertheanunnaki

    @ Health & King:
    “Is it not true that you were trying to further your own personal interest by your position on the board of the BTA, something which occupied the attention of PM Thompson and who agreed with Cabinet to fire you.”

    The firing of a man by the likes of Thompson and his toy cabinet should be seen as a release from the den of corruption and ignorance. After all, this was a man (the one who did the firing) that used to keep company with the likes of Leroy of CLICO and engaged him as special advisor and pimp man.

    We are sure that a king like you with a healthy mind would wish to be freed of this cesspool of thievery and incompetence.

  31. Energy Star

    @ millertheanunnaki

    Adrian was just like the rest, when the government changed, he jumped at the chance to shake the cherry tree, sit beneath it and gorge on the free fruit until his stomach was distended. The PM described him as a woeful little man with issues.

    Is the thievery because of the incompetence or inspite of it, or maybe just maybe, the incompetence is becuase of thievery?

    I

  32. FearPlay

    Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events and great minds discuss ideas. Adrian, please continue discussing the ideas that can improve the tourism product of Barbados and ignore the smaller minds that prefer to attack you personally for envious reasons. One thing that makes me trust your contributions is the fact that B and D alike are attacking you. What that means to me is that you are not for sale and cannot be bought, which is more than can be said of some others. YOU know who you are so go ahead and attack me too!

  33. millertheanunnaki

    @ FearPlay:
    I totally agree. I support AL and the position takes on tourism matters. Calling a spade a spade and working in the interest of the country for its betterment should always be commended.

  34. millertheanunnaki

    @ Energy Star:
    “The PM described him as a woeful little man with issues.”
    Which PM are you referring to? It does not matter, anyway. Whoever it was must have been looking into a mirror with magnifying effects. This little country has real serious issues facing it. A major makeover of the tourism product is required if this country is to avoid a pending visit to the ICU for patients with terminal economic problems.

  35. 195

    Stop Gentlemen and address the real issue as to how to shake the tree of the PM to move in a direction that will cause a dismissal of many of the BTA in an gallant solution to turn around the dismal siituation. there need to place an accountably factor in their position. Old England is history!l
    NYC/BGI

  36. Rumplestilskin

    Good luck to the beautiful young lady who is going to represent Barbados in the Miss World pageant. Got to watch November 6!

    She is absolutely stunning and lovely!

  37. Alice in Dreadland

    @195

    I’m on your wavelength.

    Unfortunately it will take, a tornado, a hurricane, a tsunami & possibly even a rain of goldfish fish before the PM actually does something about the fools at the BTA. He is not exactly known for his bold moves!

  38. Anonymous

    Well he needs to move quickly or the rip tide will carry him out to sea. As the world grows smaller the behavior of those who are unable to reach the bar will evently lose their timid grip. Look around the world in the past year, the internet has upset the status quo and the results are well in evidence even today. BGI needs to have an overhaul of where it stands in the economic world, there is not one rum producung countries that touts come and have a rum.The roads at times remind me of any urban city traffic jam. It is time for BGI to wake up before there will be no more roses to smell.
    NYC/BGI

  39. Reader

    @true
    October 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm
    In 2013 we will be suffering more in tourism? SVG will be opening there international airport.

    You sure.
    You see them drag Gaddifi body thru the streets today well fatman Gonzlaves cry down the place, you see Gaddafii was SVG international airport chief financier in co with Chavez, what a thing.

  40. Wily Coyote

    I see a lot of spiteful comments posted above about Adrians’ article, typically Barbadian to talk off topic and not have ANY constructive suggestions. Adrian may not have all the answers, however he does have some experience in the Tourism Industry and his input should be respected.

    I would have to agree though that Adrian is the wrong colour, ethical, non corruptible and therefore will not fit into the Black Bajan Political sphere. To put it another way, “he make the others look stupid.”

  41. Anonymous

    Adrian you are white no-one aint going to listed

  42. That is why it’s sad, since both both black and white are Invaders and have less right to speak on Caribbean than Taino, Arawak, Siboney & “Carib”

  43. what will they think of next

    How many “secrets” can a man with a little Inn have to share?
    Especially when his wife is snooty to their Guests.
    Don’t make me laugh BFP. We all know that you have a great love of white people but we can get things done properly too. Just take a look at Accra Beach Hotel and Spa.

  44. 98

    Stinking white fool.

    I hate that pompous idiot.

  45. Enuff if enuff

    Sick of checking this blog and reading all the racist comments.

    Should be zero tolerance for this kind of thing.

  46. millertheanunnaki

    @Enuff if enuff: December 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    Couldn’t agree with you more!
    This is clearly a sign of a country and society hellbent on self destruction.
    A country that depends so heavily on its survival on inviting people from different racial,ethnic, social,religious and cultural backgrounds should not tolerate racists and bigots to spew their venom without serious counter to their hate-fill statements.

  47. Duppy Lizard

    @ anonymous – At least he has the balls to submit comments under his own name. Meanwhile you are just a blip, a parasite, a nobody who will never amount to anything.

  48. Poitically Tired

    Need a ‘like’ & ‘dislike’ under the comments!

  49. Peltdownman

    Let me see now. Accra Beach Hotel & Spa. Is that the one advertised on TV that all rooms have a “Wonderful panoramic view”? Sure they do if your panorama includes an abandoned and derelict hotel next door, or a wonderful view over the roof of Quayside Centre. I have no problem with that, but to advertise it as “all rooms have a wonderful panoramic view” is more than a stretch. In any case, the place is begining to look very tired indeed. Funny how that everytime any article concerning Adrian Loverige appears, so do the racist comments attributed to a supporter of Accra Beach. I hope their guests don’t get too much of that type of comment.

  50. BFP

    Hello Enuff if enuff,

    We usually censor the racist comments, but lately we’ve decided to let them stand.

    The message they send about some Bajans is very powerful. We now believe that the only way to get rid of the comments is to publicize them fully. We have over 2 million readers a year and if that is the message that some Bajans want to send the world, go to it! We give up trying to hide the racism in our society any longer.