Barbados Tourism Authority Should Improve Quality Control By Responding to Social Media Sites

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

Every fibre in my body tells me that ‘we’ should be doing a great deal more in terms of creative marketing and product quality control, if there is any remote chance that our largely tired and lacklustre tourism industry is going to make any meaningful recovery in the short to medium term. And when I say that, I do not mean dramatically increasing the spend of the national marketing budget as clearly ‘we’ are already having difficultly paying the bills.

Apart from some rare exceptions, we seem to have largely lost touch with the most important group of people that sustains the entire industry, the customer or visitor. With the huge explosion of the social media sites, we can no longer think that if we ignore a problem, or try to sweep it under the carpet, that it will simply go away. You only have to spend a few minutes on one of the more popular social media sites to see that a high proportion of those posting observations and experiences have real worries in what direction ‘we’ are heading. This maybe dismissed as a worldwide phenomenon and shared with other tourism dependent nations, but it certainly doesn’t help fill hotel beds and keep our people employed.

Personally, I would like to see two or three of the existing BTA staff, form a quality control monitoring department whose primary or even sole function would be to track comments hourly that are made on the various travel websites, and after a thorough appraisal, respond accordingly in a timely manner. This should not be viewed just in a negative light, but could also be used to thank the many visitors who make positive comments and encourage them to return.

Like many I have heard the frequently used phrase that ‘tourism is our business’, almost to a point when the normal response is to cringe, as there appears to be so many basic things that we are just not taking taking care of. A simple example was a recent topic posted on the Barbados Forum section of TripAdvisor (TA) entitled ‘Disappointed with the Gap’. A visitor raised a number of concerns, which in his words ‘ruined our holiday’. Issues that just about every business in the Gap have known about for years and that have remained mostly unresolved.

After comments were made by 180 contributors, the topic was closed down by the site administrator stating ‘TA staff removed this post because it did not meet posting guidelines’. But not before enormous potential damage was created.

Thankfully, it was also read by senior members of the BTA, after another regular contributor contacted them. The head of the Quality Control department responded and at least one of the points raised, poor lighting, will now be addressed.

However, any delays in dealing with, or recognising negative situations and incidents that detrimentally affect our visitors, may help form a view that they are not paramount in our thoughts and planning.

0 thoughts on “Barbados Tourism Authority Should Improve Quality Control By Responding to Social Media Sites

  1. @Adrian

    You have been consistent about how we need to treat with social media. The process of monitoring what does on in the social media space provides the opportunity for learning.

  2. @adrian

    My mother used to tell us stories of the stupidity of the ostrich and its purported practice of burying its head in the sand in the face of impending danger.

    The BTA (and the CTO) rely to no small degree on the antiquated 55 question “exit survey document” which survey enumerators plague you with in the GAIA airport, and which, after they are compiled by SPSS by the analyst, are regurgitated in the costly reports that are available online.

    Such reports are “inviolate” and should you ever query their efficacy you will find yourself pilloried, as you very well may be, tarred and feathered, for having questioned the “real world” worth/use of this information.

    The policy of this demi-god institution is one of “GOD hath spoken, selah” and “we are above reproach by mortal of woman born”.

    Let me give you an example of this “selah” policy in practice. A certain High Court Justice comes through a gap and parks their car in front of the driveway of ***. When the owner of the property comes out and voices their displeasure at this inconsiderate behavior, the HCJ calls the police and the homeowner is unceremoniously taken away for accosting an officer of the court. Mind you the Officer is as wrong as a right angle triangle with 91 degrees but in BIM, depending on who you is, or your connections, this is the order of the day.

    The law of the Medes and Persians that is alive and well in BIM.

    Unless you want to feel its wrath Mr. Loveridge, might i suggest that you desist from these “spurious” articles which point out the abysmal incompetence of these “who have ascended to this 3rd degree” lest immigration rescind your citizenship forthwith.

  3. @ Adrian

    Comments by ” Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right “, “Unless you want to feel its wrath Mr. Loveridge, might i suggest that you desist from these “spurious” articles which point out the abysmal incompetence of these “who have ascended to this 3rd degree” lest immigration rescind your citizenship forthwith” sounds to me a lot like a threat. In the civilized world this type of comment would no doubt result in legal action.

  4. Wily, it seems to go with the territory. I have been threatened by a Prime Minister, at least one Government Minister, death, arson and rape threats sent by people with restricted use of computers in Parliament. And they seem to increase when it gets close to an election. I wonder if there is any remote coincidence there?

    • Adrian, comment?

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  5. I recently spent eight weeks in Florida during which time I saw on a regular basis adverts on TV for Jamaica, Bahamas, ANTIGUA& BARBUDA but not a single mention of Barbados!!

  6. @ David (BU)

    May the Good Lord save me from fools and cretins. You read the same thing that i pencilled and you arrived at the spirit in which i penned my comment to Mr. Loveridge – sarcasm focused on the BTA’s modus operandum coupled with a little irony ergo spurious in quotation marks.

    @ Wily Nitty

    wily – clever, resourceful and sophisticated which you are not.

    On the other hand you must be very clever to have Mr. Loveridge, an intelligent man, adopt your stance and (mis) intrepretation, lock, stock and barrel and to arrive post haste at death, arson and rape, hopefully not in that order for if death comes first then after arson, it could not be rape but necrophilia.

    In which case the perpetrator would have to engage the services of Douglas T, the necrophilia specialist, to get them off.

    And finally the coup de grace, or to use your words “threat” which by some nefarious mean now becomes libelous!

    Madman, certifiable madman. one that Mr. Loveridge, judging from his comments, seems to know, and rightfully fear, and therefore wishes to placate lest he Willy, bites out Loveridge’s swallow pipe during tea or a gathering at Brown Sugar or something.

    I guess i must adjust my compliment to say that your reasoning on the BTA is sound but this remote coincidence/election thing is a little in the twilight zone side


    • @Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right

      Mistakes happen 🙂

      BU notes the GIS release about the proposed extension at the port does not give particulars about the financing arrangement.

  7. @ Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right | September 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM |

    I too read it as ‘tongue-in-cheek’; a piece of astute sarcasm with ‘quotes’ to reinforce the irony of it all.
    But be careful, Bajans tend to take everything written literally and not seem able to ‘read between the lines’. It seems English Literature is not in their top choices of subjects for academic development. This can easily be confirmed by the literal way they interpret and apply the King James’s version of the Judeo-Christian history book of myths and legends. Maybe if they had done some Greek and Latin literature the might not be so keen to figuratively swallow lock, stock and barrel what is written and aptly described by their ruling Queen Monarch as an excellent piece of English prose.
    Keep on writing in your own inimitable style.

  8. It seems that MoT Richard Sealy has definitely fallen out with the PM.
    He (the PM) has now agreed to meet with the BHTA every six weeks.
    What role will the MoT play in this new scenario? To meet with them once week to look after the intensive care of the patient called tourism? The UK market is dying so is tourism in Bim.

  9. What is happening here?

    Public relations peril?

    Has the total market contracted?


    By RuthMoïsa Alleyne

    A world-renowned hospitality consultant has identified a lack of adequate and effective public relations as one of the major reasons why Barbados is not getting its fair share of the tourism pie, relative to other competing destinations.

    Speaking at the Third Quarterly General Meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association yesterday morning, Mr. John Fareed, Principal of John Fareed Consulting, engaged a room full of industry stakeholders on issues effecting the hotel sector.

  10. David,

    You KNOW what is going on here. Someone with proven ability and that makes his living in tourism is saying what some of us have been saying for YEARS.

  11. @Adrian

    Where is the master plan?

    Minister has been invisible of late, unusual given his very visible ministry.

    Certainly not. Bartlett or Chastanet

  12. @ David | September 13, 2012 at 6:53 AM |

    What that consultant has been handsomely paid to say is nothing new; nothing that we have not been discussing here on BU for over a year now. If only these pompous “arrognorant” tourism decision-makers were to listen to and take on board local knowledge freely given out of mere love of our country. We are sure Adrian Loveridge would support this position since he continues to be one of the main contributors to constructive criticisms for the genuine improvement and viability of this bread and butter industry.

    It would be interesting to see what has been happening with the Cuban market with arrivals and spend out of the UK and Europe. We know what has happened to the Canadian market.
    Seems that under the current MoT the industry is going belly up like the sugar industry for the export market.
    Never mind the Brits are not coming, we can always rely on our locals to fill the breach through sale of ‘staycation’ packages.

    As ac would argue ‘a penny in forex saved is a dollar in forex gained’. According to her line of thinking if Bajans spend their vacations at home the country will be gaining foreign exchange they would have used on spending overseas e.g. NY & Miami. The question to ac is; how can you save something you are not earning? This is foreign money we are talking about and not Bajan dollars saved with the local credit unions.

  13. David,

    What chance of a Tourism MasterPlan now before the next election?
    More than four and a half years seemingly wasted.
    If the President of BHTA is proven to be right, arrivals DOWN 9 per cent by the end of this year, let alone the real loss with reduced spending.
    I have now asked the Barbados Statistical Service three times for the arrival numbers in July. Seems like they don’t want to respond.

  14. The PM like he tek ova de Tourism Industry, how many hats can FS wear? It seems that Mr Sealy has been silenced! Lawd wha going on bout hey? What does the PM know about Tourism? We really got a bunch of bazoodee cockroaches running this country. Tourism is DYING, Education is in SHAMBLES, productivity is almost NONEXISTENT, Manufacturing is DEAD, Service Industry fraught with SURLY workers, Judiciary failing the public, Sanitation dept running on skeleton machinery, Transport Board has failed the people, Roads around the island in a sorry state, I want to hear some good news.

  15. @ADrian
    Help me out in terms of seasons and cycles.
    Are we usually down around this time? if so on average by how much?
    Does this report indicate anything with respect to the upcoming winter season?
    And lastly can you give an opnionated guess as to why such a steep decline other than the “recession”?

    Thakns much as usual in advance. I’m learning on the job.


  16. @ islandgal246 | September 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM |
    “I want to hear some good news.”

    King Sugar is almost dead. Long live King Sugar in a permanently comatose state!
    The Doctor recently announced the “good news or gospel according to David that King will no longer be able to sweeten the taste buds of foreigners so the little forex we used to get to buy guns and bullets for practice shooting and uniforms and vehicles for the police and soldiers can be forgotten about.

    It seems that basic economic common sense has eluded the doctor in his superficial diagnosis. If more canes are grown in a more efficient manner then more sugar will be produced and the current high fixed costs would be recovered with a much lower unit of production cost than the current $4,100.00 per tonne of sugar. At 60 ,000 of sugar production we will not only reduce unit cost of production but also meet our overseas quota to earn forex, save forex by meeting our local requirements for domestic and industrial uses and produce enough molasses to make our rums truly100% Bajan. We are not even talking about the ethanol as a byproduct along with greater alternative energy generation options.
    The problem dear Doctor is first with our level of raw material production. Get those tractors working on the government and CLICO plantations idle land now overrun with bush and cow itch. After all this is not rocket science or even Medicine. It is an industry in our Country’s economic DNA. As RPB says in his song: “Sugar made us Free” and is also about to enslave us as beggars to the overseas Aid agencies.

  17. Observing,

    Clearly the eight summer months are more challenging. Hotels that are tour operator driven generally try and compensate by dropping room rates. Sometimes this helps drive incraesed numbers, but obviously at a cost.
    The current problem cannot simply be blamed on the recession. If it was, then other destinations including some of neighbours would not be doing so much better. We have lost lots of airlift including Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelpia. Number 1, 8 and 43 busiest airports in the world. As the front page article in the Advocate today, we have missed so many opportunities that are out there including Social Media, frequent flyers etc.
    Even if the upcoming winter is good, its a fact that you cannot pay 12 months bills with 4 months income, especially when operational cost have gone up so much and marketing spend down.
    There is also no direction, no MasterPlan and people in the right positions to make a positive difference. Look at the BTA board composition. How many have proven experience in tourism?
    I wonder who the Government thinks that the thousand plus tourism workers that have lost their jobs over the last year, will vote for (and their dependents)?

  18. In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

  19. anyone ever try to write the truth about barbados on TripAdvisor?????
    it is quickly removed and covered over by certain destination experts.
    to the point of insults and joking and barbados is the most wonderful place and all is rapes ,no stealing ,our people are so polite and friendly is frequently said.yes of course when you spending
    but if you not spending money and am a tourist we got slang words behind ya head.
    try it.
    try to put the truth on TripAdvisor.

  20. can i ask who is Adrian lovdridge and is he bajan?is he the guy that bought greame hall swamp?does he know the mentality of the true bajan IE smile in your face and then stab you in the back society.
    just clarifying.
    seems to have a lot of time to sit on the computer.must be rich

  21. Harry callihan | September 15, 2012 at 7:35 PM |
    can i ask who is Adrian lovdridge and is he bajan?…………..
    seems to have a lot of time to sit on the computer.must be rich
    It is wise to check the direction the wind is blowing, before you spit in the air.

  22. @ Colonel Buggy | September 15, 2012 at 10:19 PM |
    “It is wise to check the direction the wind is blowing, before you spit in the air.”

    That piece of advice is too high for harry to appreciate the gravamen of statement.
    Maybe if you tell the redneck from Church View in St. John about ‘those who are without sin cast the first stone’ he would first look into the mirror before putting his foot in his crass mouth.

  23. miller dick head i was just asking a question.and what you have written is so stupid and makes no sense at all/the gravamen wow a educated African. like to use big words makes you feel special in some way.the usual beat around the bush know .yes or no?if you can not answer the question then please shut to funk up .while you hang out with your white haters at or in the house that the white man invented concrete and plywood..and the computer you use and the words you use.
    could you write in African language when you address me from now on!tanks here.!for your useless what ever you would call what you have written
    i think my question was quite simple a simple answer would have suffice but you types just like to hear yourselves talk and then do nothing.
    boring .!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    oh wait we going have a white prime minister.Adrian loveridge for prime minister den.

  24. @ Harry callihan | September 16, 2012 at 3:35 AM |

    Let me then write in language you can understand.

    Dirty mouth harry, my mother was white- of direct European heritage- not a product of the “back row johnny” miscegenation that took place on the plantation. Isn’t that enough “superior’ bloodline for me to make claim to 50% intelligence to use big words of an English mongrel nature?

    So the white man invented everything on this Earth? Even the Egyptians were white that enslaved the Jews who were black according to your divine order of things.

    I must say you are right again. This is the second time I agree wholeheartedly with you. Even Bizzy Williams is singing your praises about the electric cars for Barbados. Bizzy is not a full blooded white man so there must be something amidst with his minority African heritage when he announces a plan to have 80% of domestic cars powered by solar bringing the Simpson network SOL to its true meaning even if both Bizzy & SOL have been daubed by the tar brush.

    Harry, I believe you when you said the white man made everything. He is so good that he even invented in his own image an idol call Jesus for stupid Africans to worship and adore while he exploited the silly their labour and natural resources to the hilt.
    It’s a pity you are a descendant of a people whose depraved male members saw nothing wrong with having sex with inferior African animals on the plantation. One can assume you will be very much at home in having sex with a chimpanzee while thinking of your black bed wench as in the days of yore; right harry?

  25. wow mildrum well said .you should be proud of your self have evidence of what you speak ?or you just making it up as you go along.
    i know aids come from Africans having sex with monkeys so i don’t understand what you speaking of.
    you are the greatest .what a should run for office .
    still haven’t answered my question though.may be need glasses to read my question?blow me!

  26. In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
    Confucius say!now look in the mirror.

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