Marketing Barbados tourist product: Is a refreshed image enough?

Almond Beach Club tries to re-invent itself

By BFP reader Check-it-Out

The IMF’s Barbados 2011 Article IV Report includes the following – on page 17. In referring to the 2.6% increase in tourist arrivals in 2010.  “Overall the growth in arrivals was enhanced by intensified marketing, air lift capacity expansion in source markets, due partly to the introduction of low-cost carriers, and a number of sporting events in Barbados.”

It later states “Barbados needs to continue to reinvent and expand its products, while engaging more in marketing”

I am happy to report that there is a 1/4 page joint Elite Island Resorts Caribbean/Air Canada Vacations ad on page A12 of the Toronto Star today, which features 2 properties in Antigua, 1 property in St. Lucia, and The Club Barbados. The price for 5 nights at The Club Barbados in mid January, including a spa credit and 3-day car rental, is CAD$1,499.00 plus $117 taxes and fees.

So, I went to Elite’s website to check out The Club Barbados, and discovered that Elite has reinvented the Almond Beach Club and Spa as The Club Barbados.  They could not have done any major reinvention work in the short time they have had it, but it looks like they have spruced up the tired old Club; and they have presumably done some staff training so their guests will feel welcome. And, they are engaging in marketing.

As the Barbados Flying Fish logo does not appear in the ad, it suggests that BTA has no involvement. I may just book the deal – and be able to walk to the Sandy Lane beach and hang out with the rich and famous on a pauper’s budget,

It has been suggested by some bloggers that the hoteliers in Barbados should stop depending on BTA to bring guests to Barbados’s shores and their properties, and do their own marketing. It seems that Elite is doing just that. In surfing around Elite’s website I came across the following page…

Elite Island Resorts are delighted to have our own dedicated office based in the UK, managed by our associated company, Resort Marketing International Ltd. We even have our own European Managing Director, Paula Whitehead, based at Resort Marketing International’s Chelmsford office. Resort Marketing International are long standing members of ABTA ‘Travel Industry Partners’

On Elite’s behalf, Resort Marketing International manages the European sales, marketing, reservations and payments for the Elite Island Resort’s, including our group, direct and valued repeat customer bookings.

Reservations made through our Resort Marketing International office are booked directly into the Elite hotel’s reservation system. Please note that credit card payments for UK & European reservations are taken by each hotel and are shown on your statement as the hotels full name. Offering complete peace of mind and security of booking.

On Elite Island Resort’s behalf, Resort Marketing International Ltd. are Members of ABTA’s ‘Travel Industry Partner’ programme. Plus our dedicated team based at Resort Marketing International are intimately acquainted with each of our charming properties.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our UK operation. If you would like to contact our UK office, please find the details below:

Resort Marketing International Ltd.
17-19 Richmond Road
Dukes Park, Chelmsford 
Essex, CM2 6UA 
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 1245 459900
E: elite@resort-marketing.co.uk

I wonder what Butch would do with the Almond Village. Perhaps some of the other hotels may consider following the Elite marketing model.

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

8 responses to “Marketing Barbados tourist product: Is a refreshed image enough?

  1. Mark

    No, but a refreshed marketing image backed up by actual change on the ground is a step in the right direction.

  2. PT

    Mark, the ‘actual change’ on the ground is usually some new mattresses, linens and carpet in the same old hotel painted up like new with the same old uncaring or overworked staff, marketed to the same audience as upscale but anything but in reality.

  3. judyjudy

    Have to agree with ‘PT’. Room prices at tired resorts are a joke. And refurbs questionable to say the least. Reduce room costs to at least try to attract new custom

  4. name withheld

    Our hotels are beyond tired. Package tours do them in. We ruined our hotels trying to compete with cheap packages to Mexico and Bahamas and now we are no longer seen as first class. We damaged our brand chasing the low end of the market.

  5. 132

    @name withheld

    you forgot to mention Cuba. From personal experience I can tell you that the hotel quality in Cuba, Mexico, DR, are all superior to anything Barbados has to offer. Even the Hilton would have a hard time stacking up to some of the resorts in these other places. With the hotel quality Barbados has there is little to chase be it low end or high end tourists. The problem Barbados is having is all realted to a monetary policy that ultimately creates higher expectations than can be sustained when compared to other competing locations. If the expectations are to be maintained and delivered on, a new source of income has to be found.

  6. Richard Johnston

    What cynicism, mistrust and defeatism. I visited the Club last week and found it a hive of activity, all positive. They were receiving a shipment of 200 new flat-screeen TVs, they were expanding WiFi coverage to all rooms, they were waiting for a container to arrive with all new dining-room furniture, beach furniture, crockery and flatware. The staff were their usual friendly, accommodating selves, and the new owners have had the sense to retain and recall from retirement some of the most dedicated, customer-conscious and committed middle management who were ignored by the clods who ran Almond into the ground before. GIve them a break, please!

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    There are always two sides to a story and Richard Johnson has given an excellent balance. Of the 41 TripAdvisor reviews so far posted on the Club, most are positive. The customer (guest) will decide with their feet and that means whether or not they return. All of us in the industry have to be constantly reminded of that fact.

  8. Roverp

    Here we go again…..Tourism is not only hotels it is the total experience from the time of choosing the experience to completing that experience and that experience should be one that exceeds expectation. So in the case of Barbados the destination is part of that experience that we can control and make it what the visitor would pay enough for to contribute to a sustainable industry. We must determine how much income is needed for the industry to be suustainable as part of the marketing equation.