Why Barbados Tourism Authority’s choice of Rihanna as a marketing strategy failed to yield results


The Great British Holiday Report sends another message to our Barbados Tourism Authority…

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Perhaps the decades of using tiny budgets to generate ‘big picture’ results  has made it almost a prerequisite to research as many marketing options as possible, hopefully increasing the probability of success.

Last month, Teletext Holidays commissioned an independent market research company,  Opinion Matters, to conduct a survey of 1,775 UK adults,for in their words ‘uncover British Attitudes to booking holidays’. The Great British Holiday Report concluded what many tourism professionals perhaps had already gleaned over the last few years of challenging operation, but it’s worth repeating some of the findings if we are going to fully understand one of our main markets.

You can download your own PDF version of the report here: The Great British Holiday Report

Without wanting to copy, parrot fashion, large parts of the report I think its important to put the findings in context…

‘Getting away from it all for a week or two is the highlight of the year for many Britons, which is why we put so much time and effort into choosing the perfect holiday’.  

However, the way holidays are booked and planned has changed in recent years.

‘What’s more, as a result of the economic downturn, Britons have become more accustomed to seeking out the best deals’.

‘Many Britons now book within weeks of their departure date: 23 per cent within two months of travel and more than two thirds (67 per cent) within six months of departure’.

But even those conclusions have to be further broken down. Men are more inclined to book last-minute, while women are almost twice as likely to book more than a year in advance.

Young people love Rihanna, but they have little money to holiday in Barbados.

That fact should have been obvious to the BTA from the start.

If gender is an important factor, then age is even more critical to destination decision making. The average Briton spends GBPounds 554.40 per person on their holiday.  However, of all the survey’s respondents 51 per cent were aged between 14-24 years and they only spent between GBPounds 200-400 – therefore putting Barbados clearly out of range as a holiday option.

So it would appear that targeting the under 25 year olds has the least prospect of influencing long haul destination selection. That’s something to think about while we are attempting to piggyback on Rihanna’s enviable success and the demographics of her typical followers.

As has been the norm for some time, the older age groups spent the most – 17 per cent aged 55 plus spending GBPounds 801-1,000 and 6 per cent over GBPounds 1,000.

Another revelation that perhaps should not have surprised me is that one County Council authority is reporting an increase of 400 per cent in fines over the last five years levied on parents taking their children out of school during terms. This in an effort to avoid the traditionally higher  prices charged during school holiday periods.

Another point of interest was that across all the ten most popular family destinations, three can be deemed as long haul destinations: the USA, Egypt and Australia. Australia stands out as to get there from the UK involves a flight of at least 18 hours (non stop). Even between the closest points, London and Darwin, it is a daunting 8,608 flying miles which needless to say attracts the highest band (D) of APD (Advanced Passenger Tax).

So is this helping to dispel the myth of the APD being a deterrent to travel?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Rihanna

9 responses to “Why Barbados Tourism Authority’s choice of Rihanna as a marketing strategy failed to yield results

  1. Iain

    I hate to say this, but the best people to help promote Barbados tourism are not on the island.
    You need to bring in professional operators; tourism is such a big business these days – indeed some countries are totally dependent on the sector – and you can’t leave such an important revenue-earning stream to a bunch of amateurs.
    I note that the BTA can’t even organise press releases on any regular basis to the numerous PR companies which populate the internet. Ok, they charge for their services, but it’s small beer compared to some of the recent campaigns.
    Barbados as a brand could be really great, but you’ve got to have the right people in charge.

  2. Pingback: Why Barbados Tourism Authority’s choice of Rihanna as a marketing strategy failed to yield results | Barbados Blog !

  3. I don’t mind bing an official Ambassador for Barbados,i,ve been doing it for the last 8 yrs in Canada and 20 yrs worldwide .I love my country and at every opportunity I let it know.When I was asked to sing the Canadian Anthem at the immigration for immagrants awards Gala in Canada I thought it was one of the Greatest honours for Barbados as its First Lady oJazz.Check my website please cicijazz.com.Unfortuately I t,s the little entrtainers like us that have people from 10 yrs and more still coming or contacting them ,asking about or island whats happening with it.The BTA seems to be out of touch with what tourist really want in Barbados .Canadians wonder why there is no Ads to encourage them to come.Relying on one person to bring people and the poplethey bring we do not have their type of entertainment nomore.We need to attract past peioplethat are still interested that bring money into Barbados and want ot see limbo and stuff they don’t seat home.

  4. People in Charge

    The only people who care enough are owners and workers who depend on their business and those jobs; not governments, consultants or politicians.

    Get everyone out of the equation who has no personal risk and treats OPM
    other people’s money with disregards and contempt.


    They gave her a post , so let her work it and bring who she can

  6. iabingy

    i can imagine the women booking yearly.who else would touch those old fat ugly women.?

  7. Mary Taft

    Please can I unsubscribe thank you

  8. K Murphy

    Hello, and Greetings from the United States ~

    Q: Whom is the Barbados Tourism Authority actually “Targeting” in their marketing ?

    I am not sure, as I have never seen a single advertisement in the US.

    Q: What is Barbados offering that other Carribean Islands do not have ?

    Nothing in their advertising.

    Seems like on the West Coast of Bim, someone from the Tourism Authority would love to have old fat white burghers with lots of cash who like to sit in an overpriced restaurant and look at a flat sea,
    then maybe play some Golf, and come back to the overpriced hotel and order some more overpriced food, while being marveled at for being “An American”.
    Basically, that stodgy old tourist is dying off.
    The Climate is changing, the tourist you used to cater too cannot
    handle Barbados anymore, it is too bloody hot for them.

    Time to adjust the offering and the marketing is in order.

    You have some nice Golf Courses.
    You have some great restaurants.
    You have a Some nice beaches.
    That’s about it.
    Unfortunately, so do all the other Caribbean Islands,
    and more and more so does Costa Rica, Panama,
    Mexico, Belize, and Nicaragua is starting to improve.
    the South American destinations are stealing all your business,
    why ?
    (1)They are less expensive to visit .
    (2) They cater to many different price points of Tourism,
    not just the Upper Middle and Rich.
    (3) They exploit the one overlooked asset that Barbados
    has in abundance – waves.
    Barbados has ride-able waves for Surfing 365 days a year !
    No other Caribbean Island has that !
    Look at “Waterways” travel online, Surfing is becoming a sport
    that has the tourists that your Tourism Authority dreams of !

    Sell the Surf !
    Have Rihanna Surf !

    Beach Bonfire parties on the West Coast !
    Actual Fun in The Sun !

    Or, just have another scotch, and wonder where all the Tourists have gone….

    Peace and Aloha ~

    K Murphy
    Philadelphia, USA

    Btw- I Love Barbados, and have visited 3 times, each time longer than the last…staying in Private Rentals, hiring cars for weeks, and eating in the nicest restaurants on the island …. I want you to succeed ~

  9. Mr Coco

    Great post Mr Murphy. I agree with everything you say.