Daily Archives: February 15, 2012

Barbados Tourism Authority less than savvy marketers

Yesterday we wrote about how the Barbados Tourism Authority could have capitalized on the Grammy Awards by pumping up that six-time winner Adele’s musical director Miles Robertson is a Bajan.

See Meet Adele’s musical director: Barbadian Miles Robertson

Today Adrian Loveridge describes how the Aruba Tourism Authority received free worldwide press riding on the coattails of the Super Bowl.

It seems that unless it costs big money, the BTA doesn’t think the effort is worthwhile.

Take it away Adrian…

Aruba Tourism was ready for the Super Bowl; BTA was not…

by Adrian Loveridge - small hotel owner

There perhaps,  in these trying times, can be no more apt expression than Carpe Diem or seize the day in terms of exploiting every possible opportunity in destination marketing. As an example, even before the dust had settled on the Super Bowl final or the victors partying had abated, within hours the Aruba Tourism Authority was out there, offering the losing side, a complimentary holiday.

In a press release the CEO of the authority, Ronella Tijn stated ‘ We want to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work, dedication and season-long success of the team, despite their loss. We believe there is no better place to recover after a loss than Aruba. After all, we are known as One Happy Island’.

Whether or not the New England Patriots take up the offer, massive attention throughout the US media has been grabbed in the wake of one of the most watched sporting events in the country, at very little, if any cost.

I don’t suppose for a  single second that Ms. Tjin woke up the morning after the event and suddenly thought of this idea.

I am sure if their advertising agency, especially if it is based in the United States would have had it among suggestions to maximise awareness, especially at  such a critical vacation booking period.

It cannot be suprising then that any canny sales driven organisation would want to be associated with this event, which attracts over 111 million viewers. Each 30- second  paid commercial aired during the game costs a staggering US$3.5 million.

Again, it comes down to identifying and having the people who recognise that more can be done even when budgets are constrained.

Some years ago, the highly subsidised Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, announced that they were going to increase the local programming content of their television station. Little at the time did we realise that this would largely be achieved by adding two hours daily of Caribworld shopping offerings.

As a marketing person with decades of attempting to achieve big picture results with very modest budgets, maybe I have always looked at things a little differently. But in anyone’s eyes, the broadcast time between the ever popular, Days of our Lives and the prime news segment would surely demand peak advertising rates and the largest viewer figures.

Yet, so often, these 6 or 7 minutes ‘fillers’  feature overseas recording artists like Toni Braxton and Kenny G.  As much as I like these outstanding performers, would it not be better to highlight some of our rising stars?

Bajan band Cover Drive

I think in particular of Cover Drive and their amazing achievement by capturing the Number ONE spot in the British singles chart with ‘Twilight’.

The band and its promoters clearly recognise the use of social media with over two and a half THREE million views (so far) of the official Twilight video, globally.

But I am sure there is a local audience, of all ages that would be inspired and possibly motivated by showing the video locally.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.

Savvy marketers look for, seize and exploit opportunities where they arise.

BFP Editor’s note: This opinion article was printed as received from Mr. Loveridge with the exception of our opening comments and the title and subtitle that are BFP’s creation.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Stunning new allegations about Harlequin Resorts: misuse of investors’ funds, auditors refuse to sign off

Barbados Free Press issues Invitation to Harlequin Resorts

The investors’ insider website Harlecon.net published a Valentines edition that is a stunner. Surely somebody from Harlequin Resorts or the Government of Barbados can and will refute what is being said?

Barbados Free Press makes this offer to Harlequin Resorts and the Caribbean governments that have partnered with Harlequin:

The website Harlecon.net published extremely serious allegations against Harlequin Resort companies and the management. Should Harlequin Resorts or the partnering governments wish to reply to the allegations or make any other statements to our 2 million visitors a year, Barbados Free Press will publish the responses – unedited, exactly as submitted and feature them prominently without editorial comment.

Harlecon’s Valentine allegations against Harlequin Resorts

  1. Harlequin Resorts failed to file audited statements in UK and the Caribbean.
  2. Harlequin’s auditors are refusing to sign off on previous years accounts for Ames’s Caribbean companies.
  3. Banks and main stream financial institutions have walked away from the Harlequin Investment Fund.
  4. Ames Lied on oath with regards to having the funds to cover the completion mortgages.
  5. The Caldora “Harlequin Investment Fund” launched on Feb 10th 2012 “hope to make substantial loans available to Harlequin through the fund, subject to the fund being subscribed, in return the fund will take a legal charge over the different Resorts… So whether you can afford to pay for your own property outright or you are in a position to arrange your own mortgage Caldora will be given a first charge over the Resorts including your property.”
  6. Harlequin is using investors’ funds to outfit the Buccament Bay restaurant facilities, yet the investors have no stake.
  7. Barbados Government is not allowing Merricks Resort to build as close to the cliff as previously stated by Harlequin. As a result a great number of villas – sold and unsold – no longer exist. Many buyers are still unaware that what they purchased will never exist.
  8. Barbados Government still withholding full permissions for Merricks Resort.
  9. Merricks Resort has been sold below construction cost.
  10. H Hotel – Barbados project is running into many problems. Advertised April 2012 opening date has no relation to reality. Money raised through the sales of rooms in this hotel will now not cover the escalating construction costs.
  11. At Buccament Bay Harlequin is using investors’ funds to outfit the restaurant facilities, yet the investors have no stake.
  12. Occupancy Levels at the Buccament Bay Resort are some 25-30% BELOW average and this is including all the Harlequin construction staff staying at the Resort.
  13. Harlequin agents are informing prospective buyers and investors that the Buccament Bay Conference Facilities will open in July 2012, but construction hasn’t yet started.

Remember Folks… These are only allegations made by the anonymous blog Harlecon.net, so take them with a grain of salt. Do your research and make up your own minds about Harlequin and everything else.

We’ll be watching to see if Harlequin Resorts launches any lawsuit against Harlecon, and if the Harlequin companies or involved governments make any statements on the matter.

Full story and many more allegations at Harlecon.net


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Economy, Offshore Investments