Tag Archives: re-Discover Barbados

Time to resurrect re-DISCOVER the Caribbean

barbados-beach-sand-surf

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

One of the most difficult and painful decisions I have ever made was to cancel our last re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show some years ago, which had become a highly successful annual event spanning over seven years.

As well as highlighting and driving new interest in Intra regional travel it was also used as a catalyst to build trade between the islands. It also brought almost around $1 million of foreign exchange into Barbados, filled scores of hotel rooms, generated significant car rental business and helped keep our multitude of restaurants busy, during a traditionally quieter off-season period.

If you were among the thousands of people who visited the show over the two days it took place each year, you would have met representatives from up to 22 participating territories, from Surinam in the south to Jamaica in the north and almost everywhere in between.

What finally prompted the final resolve to stop co-ordinating the show was the reduced funding by the then Barbados Tourism Authority, which even at its peak, represented less than 10 per cent of the actual cost…

Plus the sad realisation, that they could not find two or more of their staff to ‘man’ a stand for the duration, out of what were then over one hundred employees.  Continue reading

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Discover Card to partner with Barbados

Discover Barbados

Innovation pays off for re-Discover programme

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I am frequently surprised and occasionally humbled by some of the people who read this column. Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, I had a call from a senior executive of the Illinois based third largest credit card issuer in the United States, with a quoted 47 million card holders.

He had been following some of our tourism initiatives and wanted to see how we could ‘partner’ to help increase their brand awareness and acceptance on Barbados.

Of all our major markets the United States has, for the last decade, been one of the most challenging. Until the 2014 figures are published the industry at large can only speculate about any real recovery last year.

But what we do know though is that 2013 recorded the lowest number (120,584) of long stay American visitors over the past 11 years.

So clearly, there is work to be done and I am sure with the recent restructuring that has taken place, we will start to witness increased numbers in the not to distance future; especially if we wish to sustain any added airlift.

So what is finally being negotiated with DISCOVER is a win-win scenario that will hopefully achieve their objectives, while at the same time help to raise our destination visibility in US market, again at minimal cost.

With help from the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) the new branded re-DISCOVER DISCOVER lunch and dinner voucher will be mainly distributed from the BTMI office in the arrivals hall of Grantley Adams International Airport. As we know, the vast majority of passengers have to pass this office after clearing immigration, baggage collection and before clearing customs. This will be critical in the possible success of the promotion.   Continue reading

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Re-Discover Rewards campaign attracting and keeping tourists

re-discover barbados

Going Local helps tourists get value – and keeps Bajans employed

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While I can see the attraction of corporate Barbados offering Caribbean cruises as competition prizes or sales inducements, it is difficult to accept what if any real benefit the country gleans from the exercise. Payment almost certainly would ultimately be made in foreign currency (FX) to ship operators who legally avoid any significant taxation and largely employ extra regional crew.

We have been heartened at the initial response to recent launch of re-DISCOVER REWARDS vouchers by local companies – especially as many of those who have responded are looking at it from a national perspective. These businesses have made a considered decision to help protect Barbadian jobs, whether directly in the hospitality industry or sub-sectors like agricultural, food and wine distribution. Many of the participating restaurants have also made a conscious effort to use locally available produce, which again helps retain the foreign exchange and hopefully spread earned revenue right across the society.

While not wanting to use this column for propaganda or promotion, I just wonder how many people have figured out that this initiative is (to the best of my belief) absolutely unique across the Caribbean. It is a point that has not gone unnoticed by both our tourism planners and potential visitors to Barbados.

It was truly heart warming to receive a social media posting recently from a professor in Canada, who stated that one of the deciding factors why they chose Barbados over another Caribbean island was the fact they could eat every night of their stay at a different affordable restaurant, even over a three week stay.

Part of the battle is persuading the yet to be convinced various dining establishments to understand the concept. As with all businesses, there are fixed costs regardless of the number of customers. The first ten patrons per night at a set menu price perhaps will not be the most profitable, but they help negate those otherwise irrecoverable overheads. Continue reading

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re-Discover Barbados excellent example of Government & Private Sector cooperation

“As we enter week six since the new launch of the re-DISCOVER restaurant initiative I would like to use this column to publicly thank the Barbados Tourism Authority for their whole-hearted support.

It has been a refreshing revelation and a role model example of how the private and public sector can work successfully together to drive additional business.”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

In tourism, just like many other businesses we talk frequently about the bottom line but do we really pay enough attention to the subject.

For instance, how many hotels have sat down and calculated what difference a ten per cent increase in average annual occupancy and a net rise of US$10 or US$20 per occupied room night would make to their turnover and viability?

To use a simple example of a lower end 100 room hotel with a normal nightly rate of US$100 and currently achieving an annual occupancy level of 50 per cent which is pretty typical of many of our properties – In accommodation revenue alone that would generate US$1.825 million a year. Take that occupancy level to 60 per cent at an average of US$110 per room and immediately turnover climbs to US$2.409 million.

That’s an income differential of US$584,000.

Or US$830,000 if the price rise is US$20 per room per night.   Continue reading

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