Barbados Tourism Authority’s strategy for failure: We don’t advertise on TV because our current customers don’t watch TV

But if BTA advertised on TV, would their current customers come from a TV watching crowd?

‘We don’t advertise on television because our market intelligence tells us that our consumers do not watch much television. It is also a very expensive medium to invest in, so unless you have the money to be consistent it makes no sense to do it. Every advertising expert we have consulted has told us the same thing’.

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

This is a verbatim quote from one of our leading tourism policymakers and it got me thinking about the merits of these views. ‘Very expensive medium’ and ‘so unless you have the money’. You cannot really argue with either of those statements. But is that the point?

I then went onto YouTube and typed in ‘tourism tv commercials’ and started trying to tally the number of destinations and tourism brands that have produced  and aired ‘ads’ within the last two years. I lost count after one hundred, so do these national marketing agencies, hotel groupings, tour operators etc., employ different advertising experts, or simply ensure their expenditure is cost effective.

Sandals Resorts for instance, recently launched a series of 45 second commercials on British television and the century old travel giant, Thomas Cook, presently have a major tv campaign to boost January holiday bookings.

So do their clients not watch ‘much television’, or is it more about where and when their ‘experts’ decide to air the ‘ads’?

Of course you could argue that many of the destinations and travel companies have bigger promotional budgets and can afford this type of medium – but in a multitude of cases, that simply isn’t true.

Outstanding Newfoundland and Labrador: 21 percent increase in tourism revenues over five years!

One outstanding example is Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. Their annual budget has been doubled during the last six years, but is still only CAD$13 million (about BDS$26 million). During their current series of TV ‘ads’, tourism spending has risen 21 per cent for the period 2005-2010, and non-resident visitors have increased by 7.3 per cent alone in 2010 to 518,500, despite any negative effects of the recession.

According to the twin province, Director of Marketing, Carmela Murphy, ‘our industry operators are seeing more business and that allows them to invest in new accommodation and increased capacity’. 2011 passenger traffic at the provinces airports broke the 2 million mark, an increase over 2010 of 8.2 per cent.

What also is so refreshing, is that this series of multi-award winning (and hugely successful)  commercials were not made by one of the big name global advertising agency giants, but by a small company based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, called Target Marketing and Communications.

Surely, its not unreasonable to ask, if we (Barbados) were able to increase tourism revenue by 21 per cent over a five year period, what would be net gain to Government in increased taxes and reduced unemployment benefit.

So is this the real question: How can we spend the already massive budget allocated the BTA, more cost effectively?

And would this be the best route to return viability to our tourism industry, allowing the numerous players to renew and upgrade, what in many cases is a rapidly deteriorating and uncompetitive product?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

25 responses to “Barbados Tourism Authority’s strategy for failure: We don’t advertise on TV because our current customers don’t watch TV

  1. Jrjrjrjr

    Perhaps I’m dreaming but didn’t a minister – maybe not tourism- spend lots of money coming to reading a few years ago to promote the island. That was hardly reaching put to a lot of potential trade since the one time large Bajan community has been replaced by eastern Europeans. So that was well thought out . NOT !

  2. Bad Bob

    Adrian, It is probably obvious to most of us that IF we spend money on something that may give us results, ie., tourists and tourism-there won’t be any money in the trougth for the swine that “work” for the BTA and put their trotters in. Read that as the oinkers that are on the payroll and sit around every day eating greasy chicken at their desks [if they even bother going to work!].

  3. Check-This-Out

    Adrian: What about print advertising. Cannot remember last time I saw Barbados ads in Toronto newspapers. St Lucia/WestJet half page ads run at least once perk week.

  4. LOOK

    Barbados relies on too few things to survive, mainly tourism. Should consider another cash crop. Makes more sense than Owen Arthur’s idea of Nigerian Water heaters and loss of 2.4 million. LOL

    The United Nations says Barbados has lots of theft. Tourist, before arriving may consider another destination. Tourist, before arriving may investigate all of the following and consider another destination: The Myrie Rape, Derrick Crawford, The Terry Schwartzfeld and Colin Peter murders.

    Police Citations, according to blog poster Simply Simon cannot be investigated and or validated. Barbados and its police should make effort to improve, treat its citizens but most importantly THE TOURIST better. Breathlyzers, I hear have not yet surfaced in Barbados. Drunk person (s) can or could cause a fatal accident, maybe Owen Arthur and fully liable. Driving under the Influence (DUI), in other countries [highly civilized], notably the United States is prohibited; DUI offenders are severly penalized, but other countries [highly civilized], notably the United States allows use of breathlizers to identify DUI persons. Police citations, in other countries [highly civilized] notably the United States can be investigated and validated by citizen (s), tourists, etc. Citizens, tourists, etc. in other countries [highly civilized], notably the United States have right to challenge police citations, police officers, lawyers, judges, etc. Barbados though is only a small caribbean island and less equipped than larger [highly civilized] [high technological] countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, etc. Tourist, before arriving to Barbados surely must understand.

  5. Well Well

    I don’t think a Breathalyzer machine or Rape Kit could be that expensive.

  6. Well Well

    Then again it would depend on what these nuts would do with these things other than what they were designed for, if they used them at all. Way, way, too many issues.

  7. LOOK

    That Myrie woman was police raped while detained in a jail cell. The Barbados government before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) at first denied her claim [rape] but later conceded. The CCJ has allowed this case entrance and the Barbados government is ordered to pay all incurred legal fees. Someone who has or had considered visiting the Barbados island may now have a change of heart – another gunshot wound hitting heart of the Tourism Industry in Barbados.

  8. Bad Bob

    How will this work!?
    Come to BIM, get dropped at the airport and try to make it to North Point & return [via the west and east coasts/route of your choice] alive. Granted, you may get scrapes, bruises, gunshot wounds, broken ribs from a beating or two, have your wallet and documents stolen-perhaps even get raped. But! Think of the adventure. Let’s capitalize on this before Jamaica or Trini get on to this.

  9. sith

    Two of the things that need to be addressed are product quality and cost. In todays economic enviorment value for money is everything. On that score Barbados is being badly out paced by the likes of Cuba, Mexico, and other Carib Islands. Why is that? Seems that there is a bigger bang for the buck at these other spots. A great amount of the inability of Barbados to compete is becasue of the very overvalued Barbados currency. When that is brought into check, the playing field will be more even.

  10. Mark Fenty

    I think that there is a lot of work yet to be done in the area of advertisement. The Barbados government has done a poor job in recent years, in promoting the image of the island as a suitable vacationing destination.

  11. judyjudy

    Well the foul mouthed Bajan ambassador AKA Rhianna won’t draw the crowds in . Especially not after her foul mouthed abuse to fans on Twitter.

  12. anonymous

    The foul mouthed Bajan ambassador AKA Rihanna right now cares more about Chris Brown than salvaging the tourism industry in Barbados.

  13. Tudor

    Our tourists do not watch TV? perhaps the type of tourist which go to Bahamas, Bermuda, Antigua are different to the ones which come to Barbados. As I said before in 8 weeks in Florida last year I didn’t see a single ad for B’dos but plenty for the Islands mentioned above.
    I submit that the real issue is that Barbados owes the advertisers abroad significant amounts and are unable to pay.

  14. A disillusioned traveller to Barbados

    Tourists will not want to come to an island that treats it’s visitors with the disrespect, disregard and downright inhumanity shown by Darwin Dottin to 2 British rape victims! Would you?

  15. Mark Fenty

    I’m not condoning this kind of unpardonable behaviour that has been forced upon these two British citizens. But this kind of behaviour has been according as far back as the 1970s. When I was a young lad growing up in the city area of Barbados, and it hasn’t had any significant impact on the industry at that time.

  16. Mark Fenty

    As a matter of fact, the citizens of Barbados has for far too long, tolerated a lot of impertinence from the tourists who visits our shores. And think that their have been given the license to behavior and act as their please.

  17. Well Well

    The tourist were allowed to act in that arrogant way in the 70s, 80s, up until the 90s, they displayed alot of disgusting behaviors when allowed to visit, however people continued to ignore the fact that times change, younger people will have less tolerance for the tourist’s arrogant behaviors. The tourism people are clueless and yes they owe MILLIONS for advertising in North America. WHO IS STEALING THE MONEY, you may want to ask????

  18. Mark Fenty

    Jamaica has had a horrific record of violent crime that has been perpetrated against the tourists who visits that island. But, yet they industry continues to see success, why is that?

  19. Nostradamus

    @Mark Fenty
    Not sure about the amount or severity of crime perpetrated against tourists in Jamaica but like Dominican Republic, Mexico etc. there is a great reliance on the all inclusive model so once a visitor stays in an all inclusive he/she is pretty well insulated against crime.

  20. Well Well

    Same in Jamaica, they don’t get to interact with average Jamaicans, therefore it lessens the chances of interacting with the criminal element.

  21. LOOK

    Diane Davies, a british grandmother of nine says she was visiously raped on the beach in Barbados, and in broad daylight. She tells journalist Angela Levin [November 30, 2011] that “ there had been a rape in the exact same loaction two days earlier. . . . [a women] raped in Barbados likely will not get the support she needs. There are almost no procedures in place and the police are way behind in how they tackle crime. LOL

  22. Mark Fenty

    @ look
    I’m not quite sure about the help that is offered to Rape -Victims in Barbados. But, I saw first hand as a young dude growing next to District A Police Station, the amount of licks the Rape- Offender had to endure at the hands of the police.

  23. Mark Fenty

    Some 25 years ago when I lived in Barbados, I knew a lot of the guys personally who were attached to the CID, and these guys took they job quite serious. Guys like : invader one and two, dirty Harry, track -suit top,rat-brown, Taylor/vesper, big-sam, Arthur, gittens, Jasper Watson, Merrick, lion-man, Robonson, Cummings, gibbons, eswick, starkee, and my good friend bineo. All these guys the C I D some 25 years ago and I knew them all personally.

  24. Welcome to 21st Century Marketing

    Rape is serious and affects tourism and needs to addressed.

    THIS topic was about ADVERTISING on TV. Here is the kernel of gold that was missed. Barbados can create “MADE for TV quality ads” and NEVER show them on pay per second TV. The videos can be published on YouTube by a) the Ministry of Tourism b) anyone… YouTube is the 2nd most used SEARCH SERVICE after Google.

    What Matters are the TAGS that are attached to the video and social media marketing methods (Facebook, Linked-in, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) used to promote the videos.

    Here is a video that needs promotion/better tags so it is easily found. Don’t pay for TV broadcasting… create professional videos – publish on YouTube and the promote THE YouTube.

    Create professional videos like this: and then promote them on tourism websites, government websites, using Social Media Marketing, etc.

  25. Peter Quinlan

    I’m from Newfoundland, Canada & I work in the Tourism Industry. Those advertisements have indeed done wonders for the tourism industry here in this province. There’s an old saying that you have to spend money to make money–this I’m sure holds true down in Barbados as well. The BTA has a great website, however interestingly enough they don`t include Newfoundland as a Canadian province (if I want to request a brochure) so someone in the BTA isn`t doing their homework! I have visited Barbados 3 times in the past 3 years & think it`s a great spot; however I think many Bajans are too complacent & think that Barbados ìs heaven. I can tell you that others destinations (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaca, etc.) are offering a similar product at a cheaper price, so Bajans shouldn`t be so surprised that the tourism numbers are down, at least from this area of the world. Promote Barbados more effectively & learn some better service standards (than the often glum looks I get most of the time) & I`m sure the numbers will increase. Good Luck!