Beware November… Let’s do something about it now!

rum shop barbados

“We need to drive an additional average of 170 visitors per day over the month to get back to the highs of the previous decade.”

November’s core should be the Barbados Food Wine and Rum Festival

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

2014 will mark the hosting of the fifth annual Barbados Food Wine and Rum Festival and I firmly believe that this event has enormous further potential, especially as it takes place during November which is traditionally one of our quietest months.

While I understand the challenging logistics of spreading the invited celebrity events over a longer period, there are many additional initiatives that the private sector tourism partners can put into place, which could prolong the benefits.

First I think the entire 30 days could be promoted as a ‘gastronomic’ month with our restaurants, at all levels, offering more affordable eating options.

Perhaps the more innovative car rental companies could smart partner with a selection of the eateries to provide an island-wide lunch ‘passport’, even including our attractions at a reduced entrance fee.

November provides every component to ensure the concept has the highest possibility of success. From the UK, excess seat capacity on the legacy carriers with Virgin and British Airways, plus scheduled charter seats from Manchester with Thomas Cook offering lead-in return fares from GBPounds 322.

Climate is also on our side from certain areas of the US and Canada. 

Our myriad of available accommodation choices also provides an option to appeal at almost every level of traveller, before high season winter lodging prices kick-in. And to spread the event over a prolonged period, presents us as a destination with an even greater opportunity for extensive media coverage.

So what are the limits? Latin America’s biggest gastronomy festival, Mistura, which takes place next month in Lima, Peru, is expected to attract between 25,000 and 40,000 foreign visitors and that event is only two years older than ‘ours’.

Clearly, we have to do something. November 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for that month during the last 12 consecutive years, with 2012 coming a close second. In fact, the worse figures since the tragic events of 9/11.

We need to drive an additional average of 170 visitors per day over the month to get back to the highs of the previous decade.

During the last few weeks I have been trying to better explain the principal of revenue control, which was introduced to me during my association with the Canadian airline, Wardair, nearly 40 years ago.

Nowadays when you board a plane, or check into a hotel, you instinctively are aware that even people occupying what look like identical seats or rooms are paying varying rates. In reality, it is no different in most businesses whether tourism or otherwise.

We talk about the merits of discounting prices, but are we really looking at it in a holistic way?

Just as supermarkets use loss-leaders to entice you into their premises – or perhaps more commonly in these days, website. Clearly the hospitality sector is not isolated from this common practice.

If managed or controlled, then it can play a critical role in ensuring fiscal viability and growing the enterprise.

Of course it is not desirable to have all your customers pay a low price and that’s where effective management is essential. Those first ten customers, as an example, can pay a large chunk of the standing costs.

Just as an aircraft or hotel, the profit is not generated by the initial 50 per cent occupancy.

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

6 responses to “Beware November… Let’s do something about it now!

  1. Wily Coyote

    The expression “TOO LATE” comes to mind. Barbados has been slowly slipping into ANARCHY/CORRUPTION during the last several years and now appears to be on a exponential downward curve.

    Tourism in Barbados is quickly becoming an unrealistic goal and the country is headed toward Hatianism. Barbados is going to become the Iraq/Afghanistan/Syria of the Caribbean if they are not careful.

  2. D Oracle.

    Brilliant idea Adrian! It can go in so many related directions, all of which have more visitors in common…shout it from the rooftops, talk to influential ears.

  3. rastaman

    Wonder how competitive Barbados really is. I know someone who just travelled to Cancun at an all inclusive rate of US $ 106 per night all liquor included

  4. Jason Jones

    Barbados need more than tourism it needs to be creative like these people in this video.

  5. Konkieman

    Houston is in the middle of Restaurant Month. Last weekend we had a four course dinner in an excellent restaurant for $35 per person. Three course lunches are $15 – 20. $5 from every meal goes to the food bank so it is also a worthy cause. Local eateries need to get the Bajans out more.