Kudos to the recently revitalised national marketing organisation renamed the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., for facilitating the production of a series of videos where the airline WestJet partners with the chain store Michael Hill Jewellery and a number of Barbadian tourism interests to highlight two couples who become engaged on our island.
At the time of submitting this column already well over 1 million people had watched the three videos and this number will rise substantially over the next few days. Add the media coverage by print, television, radio and other shared social media and realistically millions of people will be exposed to Barbados as a desirable destination. Timing of course, can be everything, and the fact that WestJet posted the videos just before Valentine’s Day can be no coincidence.
To reinforce the positive effect the airline rolled out a supportive seat sale to Barbados which required booking by 14th February, but for travel up to 24 June 2015.
When preparing for the filming, a few cleverly conceived twists were applied and to quote WestJet’s Manager of Communitity Investment, Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing (what an incredible job title), Corey Evans, revealed that ‘girls thought they were auditioning to appear on a new WestJet commercial that we were shooting in Barbados, and had no idea what was going to happen’.
Adding ‘The result was an experience the two couples will remember for the rest of their lives, and a heartwarming Valentine’s Day story to share with Canadians’.
This promotion also seems to be the perfect complement to the current National Wedding Package ‘Forever begins in Barbados’ which offer a number of incentives to help keep real costs down. This is especially important as the value of the Canadian Dollar against its American counterpart has fallen by around 20 per cent over the last year.
Weddings, as you can imagine, are a huge source of business and revenue generation and often buck the trend of seasonal concentration which makes an incredible difference in helping fill beds and airline seats.
A couple of weeks ago we rolled out a re-DISCOVER lunch option to compliment the dinner offer and try and entice more visitors to eat out at what can only be described as our envious selection of restaurants.
Initially we felt this promotion would be of special interest to our villa, apartment and condominium visitors, so we invited almost every one of the major rental agencies to co-partner with us at a miniscule participation cost of around 12 cents per client.
Sadly, not a single company responded, so we have now placed access to the voucher online.
The initial up-take has been phenomenal and guess what!
The largest percentage requesting the vouchers are staying in villas and apartments and clearly from the addresses we are currently mailing them to, the biggest surprise is that the budget travellers are certainly not the only ones looking for value-for-money. It seems that even guests staying in US$1,000 a night rental properties, still appreciate a bargain when they see one.