Barbados Tourism Authority ignores TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards

‘Unlike any other hotel honours, TripAdvisor Travelers Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travellers around the world’.

Tourism MATTERS

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

Up until the time of submitting this column, well over 500 major news organisations and publications have reported on the 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Award winners. Tens of millions of people around the world, among them many that will be making holiday plans will scrutinise the list and finally decide where they feel they can get the very best hotel value for money and level of service delivery.

More astute national, regional and individual city tourism organisations have been quick to link their destination with the awardees, taking full advantage of what amounts to free advertising and promotion.

While our own Government tourism agency has yet to take advantage of this almost unprecedented global exposure, Barbados has done relatively well in a number of categories.

3,943 properties across 30 countries and eight regions have received these coverted awards this year and as their Press Release reiterates, ‘unlike any other hotel honours, TripAdvisor Travelers Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travellers around the world’.

For those of you that have not yet read the list, this is how ‘we’ did.

  • Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Caribbean – Sandy Lane #1.
  • Top 25 Bed and Breakfasts and Inns in Caribbean – Bayfield House #5 and Sweetfield Manor – #24.
  • Top 25 Hotels for Service in Caribbean – Little Arches Boutique Hotel #23.
  • Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in Caribbean – Silver Point #13 The House #23.
  • Top 25 Relaxation/Spa Hotels In Caribbean –  Sugar Cane #2 – Waves #5 – Sandy Lane #15.
  • Top 25 Bargain Hotels in Caribbean – Southern Surf Beach Apartments #8 – Peach and Quiet #9.

Sadly, no Barbados property was listed in either the 25 Top overall Hotels in the Caribbean or all-inclusive categories, and this must concern our tourism planners considering the prevalence of all-inclusive rooms when equating it to our total accommodation stock.

We, in my humble opinion are very fortunate to have a lodging product for the majority of our potential visitors and this is graphically reflected in  the awards. There will always be a market for a luxury offering, recession or no recession.

At the same time many guests have grown over the years to prefer smaller intimate properties. Value-for-money continues to be a critical factor and it goes perhaps without saying, that overall service delivery is just as vital at all levels.

An interesting component was the average nightly rate of the near 4,000 properties who won is US$270 and 45 per cent have a nightly rate of US$200 or less.  This the reality of competing in tourism on a worldwide stage.

One thing for sure, TripAdvisor or any similar site that could replace it is not going to vanish or dissipate into the upper atmosphere. We, whether in the private or public sector ignore the largest travel community in the world at our peril.

By embracing and finding creative ways to more effectively use it we can generate greater occupancy levels and revenue.

Each month TripAdvisor advises individual hotels the actual number of views made to their page. In December 3,328 logged on to ours and that perhaps is partially why we are responding to an average hundred email requests daily.

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism

19 responses to “Barbados Tourism Authority ignores TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards

  1. Bankrupt Attitudes and Policies

    every person or organization must have a mandate to serve and perform.

    The BTA doesn’t care Mr Loveridge because they get a check, not to perform, but for having the position and having friends, in the right party or or with the right connections.

    This system of unaccountability and fraud on the taxpayer is based on unjust entitlement. By any minimum standard of transparency, this organization would be closed down based on incompetency and non existing service.

    The system is dead on arrival and there is only one way to change it, if anyone cares.

  2. Maverick

    “Bankrupt Attitudes and Policies”!
    What you wrote that is absolutely correct.
    In addition!
    Barbados is an holiday island for old people and in all things old fashion, with high price and poor service with underpaid service workers. No people who be in service in Europe or Canada would work for this money. In that way you must not be surprised that the service is poor.
    Nevertheless I must say there are many very good woman in the hotel and restaurant service. And I’m proud of them. Would you have some of them in Parliament, this island would look greatly different.
    The Minister of tourism can be lazy, anyway he has no idea of tourism he gets his money and this is absolutely a lot more than every service workers get. He has nothing to do for tourism. He can sit in front of the Waterfront Café and smoking a cigar. It has the same effect for the tourism industry.
    In the past, nothing has changed and developed. Why should I do, something, it really works!
    Now Barbados gets the bill.
    I bet you the most of BTA, where they live, have not been on the other side of the island.
    A lot of the population of Barbados is not interested in tourism, they don`t care. They don´t know where the money comes from. They think it comes from the government or by their employer or from God. A lot of the people of Barbados do not know that all the money comes from investors and tourists and the politicians do not tell them.
    People of Barbados to wake up, your future is worse than you suspect.
    maverick

  3. Metop 100 Staga

    Our BTA would rather pay millions to some ‘star’ with questionable tourist and investor draw than to reap the ‘free’ benefits from the highest-rated tourism website on the planet.

    Rihanna appeals to 17 and 20 year olds. TripAdvisor targets travellers with money to spend. Who should we target? BTA says 17 year olds. Sad, sad, sad.

  4. none

    That’s not true about Rihanna appealing to 17 year olds. Her audience covers a wide age range.

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    We may never know what taxpayer ‘investment’ was made by the BTA to secure Rihanna, but we still have to ask questions. Every website I have read indicates that her target audience is under 25 years. So one of the many questions we should be asking is, has there be an increase of long stay visitors in this age group? Of course this can be collected from the landing cards. If there has, is this in anyway linked to the dramatic drop in average spending and duration of stay?
    It surely cannot be wrong to ask and I believe we have a right to know the answers and if the tourism planners are practicing any form of due dilligence they would want to deterime if the ‘investment’ is cost-effective. Especially when their budget has been severely trimmed.

  6. rastaman

    If Adrian Loveridge ,a staunch DLP,is asking these questions,we really need to be concerned about this Government.

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    rastaman,

    in 61 years I have never been a member of a political party and I am not going to start now. All I want is good governance and to fully use our many talented people, rather than putting ‘friends’ into positions they are clearly not qualified for.

  8. MFenty

    Adrian I’m sorry to say, but if you refuse get involve in the political process, how do you expect to anticipate the kind of change you’re hoping to see?

  9. MFenty

    Adrian you’re lack of involvement in the political process in Barbados has contributed to the current political order to some extent.

  10. Adrian Loveridge

    MFenty,

    I am left with the only ‘weapon’ every other person eligible has and that is to VOTE every five years or whenever. Involvement in tribal politics would only compromise my integrity. Better to stay clear and be honest to myself.

  11. Jack Bowman

    Ah, yes, TripAdvisor. That fount of wisdom. That oracle of truth. That source of all that’s trustworthy.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16823012

    Cool. Let’s base a national policy on this. Anyone see any problems? Even a tiny problem? Anyone? Anyone?

  12. Son Of Spam

    Yeah, you

  13. Adrian Loveridge

    Jack,

    You have missed the point all together. It’s not a problem with TripAdvisor
    its a problem with the fake reviews placed there by people who simply CHEAT.
    Change the world, make people honest!

  14. The best we have at the moment but not perfect

    “TripAdvisor. That fount of wisdom. That oracle of truth. That source of all that’s trustworthy.”

    “Let’s base a national policy on this”

    Trip advisor IS the best independent source out there to reflect actual hand on experiences. Depending on the size of the number of comments, one can actually get an idea ( not a guarantee ) of what to expect.

    At the moment, there is no national policy and certainly not one that is cohesive, strategic, focused and accountable!

  15. MFenty

    Adrian, if you’re looking for perfection in human government, I’m afraid to say you’re going to be disappointed my friend. There is no such thing as utopia within the context of human government; Sir Winston Churchill articulated long ago that, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    MFenty,

    Sir Winston had a wonderful way with words and isn’t your quoted saying, so true.
    I have spent most of my life chasing dreams and I suppose I will have to face reality one day.
    Why can’t we all work together to make it a better place.

  17. Dawn

    Sorry to interrupt this session gentlemen but I have a concern that I would like somebody to address.

    The Government keeps talking about making Barbados the #1 entreprenuerial hub by 2020 while ignoring the new tourism industry pundits but I’m willing to forgive this oversight today. They might still feel these movers and shakers are fly-by-night entities, not recognised authorities with centuries old reputations like say Oxford.

    But what just happened here?
    http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/invoicing-scam/

    Reading the last two paragraphs of the article, it seems to me that the Customs Act has been amended in such a way that it trumps the Companies Act with respect to Customs.

    The beauty of a Limited Liability Company is that the directors are not responsible for the debts that the company fails to pay. A Company being a separate legal person essentially means that the personal assets of the directors cannot be seized to pay the debts of the company (no person Peter paying for person Paul) as opposed to say a sole-proprietor business where the owner of the business would be personally responsible for pay all the debts the business has racked up.

    Under this new Amendment, the directors can be held responsible for the company’s debts to Customs (Paul, Jack, John, Sally and Jim all have their homes, cars and dogs sold to pay for Paul Incorporated’s debts to Customs).

    From reading the article, it might seem like this is a good idea for recovering lost revenues but in reality, this “smart” idea is violating a world standard.

    Did Barbados just take one step back on the road to it’s goal of becoming the #1 entrepreneurial hub? Is this good for foreign investment?

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    According to TravelSupermarket Travel Trends Tracker only 11 per cent of Brits now book their holiday through a high street travel agent.
    40 per cent will use review sites (liike TripAdvisor) to get the opinions of other travellers.
    As I said, ignore it at our peril.

  19. Marvin Bareback

    I absolutely agree with Adrian Loveridge on Trip Advisor..(even though some of the results could be had if one uses it fraudulently). I have used trip advisor a number of times…including right in the lobby of a hotel that I decided not to stay in because of the negative comments. The trick is to look at the negative comments because most places wouldn’t fake those. Get an idea of what kinds of things are wrong about a place and judge whether they are subjective or not.