Loveridge: Private tourism sector must get creative and work together

Barbados German Tourists

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

As we enter another new year, perhaps the best way to sum up the mood of the industry is to quote the title of the classic novel by Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

As and when the long promised concessions to the sector become a reality there is a hope that viability can be restored and collectively we can re-build the arrival numbers without sacrificing the average duration of stay.

Personally I feel there are many more ways the diverging interests in tourism can work better together with joint promotional activities. Some may inevitably benefit more than others, but that is almost impossible to avoid. What cannot be disputed is with this approach the destination garners increased visibility and that will become increasingly more important if we are going to regain past long stay visitor falls in critical markets like the United States.

The previous Chairman described the Barbados Tourism Authority as ‘a slothful wasteful and inefficient organisation in an increasingly dynamic, technologically-driven, and commercial industry’

Over the years we have pioneered a number of co-operative campaigns including the first joint villa full page ‘ads’ with three of the major rental companies collectively advertising, the first 12 page Barbados supplement in a leading magazine targeted towards Caribbean travellers, the first intra-regional travel event, the first fully functioning small hotel grouping, Barbados Treasures, Carib Escape, airline/accommodation inclusive packages, our Rewards Card and MILESCloser, a frequent flyer programme, among several others.

More recently we resurrected the re-DISCOVER dining initiative which was initially rolled out in early 2002 after the tragic events of 911.

While exact numbers have been difficult to quantify, because we rely on each restaurant reporting back, there is every indication that over 13,000 locals and visitors sampled a re-DISCOVER menu in 2014.

What all these projects have in common is that they all cost relatively little to conceive and successfully implement, with every single one proven to be cost-effective.

Each ‘project’ was consistently monitored and assessed for success or failure with a return on investment varying between 10:1 and 40:1.

Simply put, sharing expenses makes sense, especially in a marketing medium like advertising that is largely considered as relatively expensive and it allows smaller partners to make a bigger presence, in existing and emerging markets.

It must be obvious by now that with the current Government fiscal challenges that ‘we’ are not likely to see a return to $100 million annual budgets previously granted to the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and its replacement in the foreseeable future.

Clearly the previous Chairman felt unable to perpetuate this uncontrolled spending by describing the BTA as ‘a slothful wasteful and inefficient organisation in an increasingly dynamic, technologically-driven, and commercial industry’ when demitting office.

Given the inherited financial baggage, I seriously doubt that we will ever see this scenario repeated with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI), so the only other logical conclusion is for the private sector to step up to the task by driving its own national marketing initiatives.

Without a marketing professional from the national trade body, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association on the board of BTMI, it is difficult to see how any potential synergies can be exploited to their full potential. I personally believe this is a huge oversight.

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

4 responses to “Loveridge: Private tourism sector must get creative and work together

  1. NYCBGI

    ADRIAN I AGREE BUT FACE REALITY ROYAL CARRIBEAN PUT A SHIP THERE ON A SUNDAY AND ALL THE COMMERCIAL SHOPS WERE CLOSED. THINK ABOUT IT HOW EMBARASSING AND DISHARTING IT MUST BE FOR THE HOTELIERS AND OTHER HOSPITALITY PARTNERS THAT 5K VISITORS IN BRIDGETOWN WITH NOTHING TO DO. TO BEGIN IN AN ATTAMPT TO TRY TO REVITALIZE TOURISM BEGIN WITH THE TOP AND CHOP CHOP UNTIL YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO WORK WITH. IF N OT YOU HAVE AN UPHILL BATTLE. GOOD LUCK!. .

  2. Party Animal

    Gutless Politicians only think of themselves, not even their own Country.
    How do we expect to progress without catching the Tourist Dollar.
    As soon as we finish sucking the little bit of sugar cane left, we would be sucking Salt.

  3. Party Animal

    I say Gutless, there is a difference between Belly and Guts

  4. The Moore

    Barbados in comparison to many alternative places is a tired looking place. It is not only stuck in a time warp but is becoming a dangerous and intimidating environment to holiday in.

    The experience which is The Cliff is becoming one of the the main reason to visit the island.

    Over the many years I have been visiting the island it has gone from a laid back relaxing haven, to a dangerous on your guard place. I’ve seen drugs openly being sold on the beach. I’ve been threatened with gun violence by a pusher who just would not go away. This encounter happened as I was sunning myself on the beach 5 meters from the hotel with other holidaymakers looking on. The hotel was notified and the police were called but they didn’t arrive.

    At the beginning of this year I was visiting the island and was I shocked to see a car pulled over with numerous armed police toting submachine guns surrounding it. We were then wave passed as though this was a normal thing.

    The number of killings which are happening on the island is truly shocking and you guys a worried about the shops being closed when the ships come in. If this violence continues to bleed out into the island there won’t be Barbados tourist industry as you know it.

    When Cuba opens up you may have a very serious problem. That place is going to be beautiful if they get it right. It is a stunning place even now with its run down shabby chic appearance it outstrips Barbados. You need to get your house in order!