Keeping Barbados Top of Mind: Selling Beds and Increasing Spend

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

With a little more than two weeks before the start of what may become one of the most defining tourism winter seasons in our recent history, many are left just to guess at what will happen.

Yes! of course you can draw some comparisons with forward direct bookings, but with a heavy dependence on tour operator driven business for a high proportion of our hotels, it is far more difficult to make any accurate predictions. Clearly, a number of factors have negatively affected the industry’s performance, and to put in perspective, I think its important to study the figures*.

For the four years from, 2008-2011, we (Barbados) averaged 546,533 long stay visitor arrivals each year.

In the previous four years, 2004-2007, the average was 558,632. Simply put, that’s a decline of nearly 50,000 visitors over the comparable periods. Arguments could of course be made, and have in some quarters, that the average stay has increased, but without directly comparing this over a sustained period, it is almost irrelevant. And it becomes totally meaningless unless average spend has risen faster than the number of nights our accommodation offerings are occupied. Certainly the steep reduction in arrivals from our largest market, the UK, would not have helped this equation.

Without this critical information, it’s simply speculation about the overall performance of the industry and that does absolutely nothing to help devise meaningful solutions. So perhaps, at least our winter destiny, might be in the hands of climatic conditions, with weather bad enough to stimulate travel, but not to disrupt it. Nor does the possibility of exceptionally cold spells in our source markets, give us divine right to expect increased arrival numbers,

Without any coherent ‘national’ marketing campaign in place that directly converts destination interest into solid bookings at desirable rates, the industry is left to flounder on its own, using any resources that it can individually muster to make a difference. Of course, an increasing number of tourism partners already practice this policy, preferring at least to try and control their own destiny.

Perhaps this is the direction we should be heading, as clearly the figures demonstrate there has been no real growth in tourism generated by national marketing efforts over the last five years  This despite the significant funds that have been allocated to the agency responsible, and the introduction followed by the subsequent loss of new airlift, which will further drive numbers down.

So what can ‘we’ do?

In the hope that climatic conditions will be on our side, everything must be done to raise the destination awareness to keep it ‘top of mind’. Its OK to brag about the number of website hits and raising our profile, but if there is no call to action, its almost impossible to justify the monies spent.

One of our larger all inclusive hotels is offering travel agents, complimentary three night stays, with additional nights at just US$45 per person per night until 15 December. We must use our empty beds and airlines seats now to influence not just the travel trade, but travel writers, group and incentive planners, sports organisers, wedding and honeymoon organisers and any other niche market that can influence and deliver visitors.

Of course there is a cost element involved, but just like an aircraft, once its taken off, you cannot sell the seat, the same applies to a vacant room after the night has passed.

0 thoughts on “Keeping Barbados Top of Mind: Selling Beds and Increasing Spend


  1. This is a foolish article. everyone knows that pumping money senselessly into a failing tourism industry especially against aggressive competitors such as Grenada and St. Lucia is just stupid at this point. Your best bet is to diversify your economy through excelling in niche markets. This Loveridge guy has no clue what he’s talking about as he obviously has interests that would of course envelop the government to make provisions for hotel owners such as himself, at the expense of the citizens.


  2. @gburns2

    Easier said than done. For Barbados tourism is the key/major forex earning sector with massive trikledown. We can try to diversify BUT how can we stop throwing money at the sector?


  3. While it is easy to understand the frustration that Mr.Loveridge feels,I say wait until the season has taken off so that we could better access the effectiveness of this new campaign.After all we are not the only ones selling a destination.


  4. David, I wish that you would acknowledge the coincidence of a DLP regime that to date has offered no hope or vision for such a vital industry. Loveridge has seemingly accepted that Barbados is currently operating “without any coherent ‘national’ marketing campaign in place that directly converts destination interest into solid bookings at desirable rates, the industry is left to flounder on its own, using any resources that it can individually muster to make a difference.” Sad days, but too many of us are willing to give another chance to the most incompetent administration in Barbados for more than 50 years.


  5. The Grantley Adams International Airport expects 145,000 more arrivals for this winter season compared to last year’s. Is that news good or bad Adrian?


  6. Winter Wonderland.

    If you read the media comments you will see that the majority of these ‘passengers’ are simply being transferred to cruise ships.
    Of course thats partially good because GAIA benefits from fees charged and there is a trickle down effect to transport providers and various concessions at the airport.


  7. If you read the media comments you will see that the majority of these ‘passengers’ are simply being transferred to cruise ships.
    Of course thats partially good because GAIA benefits from fees charged and there is a trickle down effect to transport providers and various concessions at the airport.

    in addition it also gives publicity to the island and one cannot discount the potential of those arriving wanting to visit barbados for a long time stay at some other time.


  8. The issue here is using statistics to give the wrong impression. It is reminiscent to when the BLP used the ‘legacy’ argument to justify a spend of 500 million to accommodate CWC2007.


  9. in addition it also gives publicity to the island and one cannot discount the potential of those arriving wanting to visit barbados for a long time stay at some other time.

    On the other hand considering these cruise ship transfer passengers will mostly just see the airport and the scenery en route between airport and harbor, on arriving at the harbor from the airport wife might turn to hubby and say, “Honey, when we pick an island for our next tropical island get away, lets give Barbados a miss. We don’t need a tropical island holiday on an island with overbuilt coastlines where you get stuck in slow moving traffic with diesel buses and trucks belching out all that nasty, carcinogenic black smoke with wanna be Evil Knevils weaving between the vehicles on motocross bikes with no mufflers, and all the while you can barely get a glimpse of that nice blue ocean to sooth your frazzled nerves. And did you see all the trash laying alongside the road as we were driving in? Not too mention all those decrepit, broken down buildings on the outskirts of Bridgetown? For a real “stay in a tropical island” holiday, we should be able to do better than this.


  10. @ Green Monkey | November 27, 2012 at 7:42 AM |

    You have identified and commented succinctly and admirably on some the problems facing tourism in Bim. First impressions count and for most visitors travelling through the environs of Bridgetown en route to the cruise ships can be put off from what they are seeing from their transport vehicles. At least these in transit visitors are not yet exposed to the sexual harassment and intimidation that prevail on the beaches and streets.
    It is when they do the one-day land tour that they are confronted with the other nasty human side of Barbados. This country has a not too pleasant reputation among cruise ship personnel who offer advice to visitors on their ships.
    Up to last Friday the usual beggars and pimps were out on the streets of Bridgetown and no police officers in sight to rescue these vulnerable visitors from these awful looking scruffy frightening pimps with no pride whatsoever about their appearance or behaviour.

    Both our natural and built environments are in just one rundown parlous state in need of serious make-over and upgrade.


  11. ac,
    I wonder if anyone has actually measured the ‘potential’ of converting transferred cruise passengers into long stay visitors.
    My thoughts would be to entice more homeporting which gives pre and post hotel stays and trying to get at least one of the smaller specialty ships like Star Clipper or one of the Silver Sea ships to homeport in Barbados during the summer. I am sure this would help maintain the Brazil route, if its marketed properly.


  12. Barbados has become what all those who make a living by selling their personal asse(t)s become…..old, tired, decrepit, scorned, dirty, and hopeless.

    How old are we now? …..46?
    …..what does a 46 year old who spent their adult life soliciting the favors of wealthy strangers as a means of survival look like?
    What pride can they have? ….are they not at the stage where they are forced to sell off what little they have- in order for their children to eat?

    Are they not outperformed by the new “solicitors” on the market…like St Lucia and Cuba?
    That is the game.
    The life of a prostitute is high, and fast, and short…

    WRT the “coincidence” that the DLP seems to preside over hard times while the B’s see good times……. The problem with the DLP is that they don’t understand the game of managing prostitution.

    The kind of people who succeed in managing prostitution businesses are not ‘nice guys’. They tend to be thugs of questionable morals, who call and cuss people, threaten opponents, insult “negrocrat” opponents, and ignore parliamentary traditions.

    Nice guys tend to do better at productive, morally sound businesses and industry. But Bajans have converted their minds and bodies to the easy “sweet life” that comes from solicitation.

    Talk about a catch 22


  13. As usual miller has a long list of “to do things” all of which must be done forthwith. a countries people is also responsible for its enviroment something as simple as throwing trash on streets and pissing on sidewalks cannot all be regulated to th govt as miller would like to suggest..outside of the govt levying heavy fines on the perpertrators and educating the people of the dangers caused to the enviroment by such practices there is little more that can be done without the people help


  14. Interesting to hear Dennis Johnson’s opening on the talk show this morning. We tossing around all the tourist numbers yet the dire circumstances we face is pinned on a good winter season. There is also the attack on Barbados from Canada as a tax domicile.

    We need to keep it real instead of the political partisan BS. Issues, issues.


  15. ‘ something as simple as throwing trash on streets and pissing on sidewalks cannot all be regulated to th govt as miller would like to suggest..outside of the govt levying heavy fines on the perpertrators ”

    And cut of their doggies too! Imagine dem NASTY men pissing holding dem doggies by the road and then touching the tourist and public wid dem stinking hands. AAAAAaaagh


  16. @ ac | November 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM |

    What are the role and functions of the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage? To only tell people not to litter? Why are people paying an environmental levy? Black people have a built in propensity to litter for no justifiable reason. Prove my statement wrong, if you will! Don’t tell me any foolishness about education. They don’t litter in the homes (at least hopefully most of them) and they have been given 50 years of free education along with numerous TV and radio programmes about the dangers of littering.

    Go and have a look at the old General Hospital site and the environs of Lower Bay Street and tell us if the people can take matters in their own hands. Get out from your cozy corner and see what is happening to Barbados’ environment.


  17. David,
    Could not agree more.
    We have to face up to the real problems and get people that can deal with them.
    Hoping and praying for a good winter season is not the solution.


  18. Look i am not saying that the giovernment does not have a role to play but equally as important is the role we all play in protecting the enviroment. however you are being hypocritical as usual in putting all the blame on the present govt when the eye hospital on bay street has been closed for years under past govt who have done nothing about it in the good times.


  19. @ ac | November 27, 2012 at 12:14 PM |

    Which administration boarded and sealed it up after the fire leaving it looking more ugly and unsightly than before?
    Are you going to blame the international recession for the lack of basic housekeeping duties like keeping the surrounding free from garbage and overgrown bush? There is no forex leakage here only the effective allocation of the manpower resources of the agencies that should be involved in keeping once beautiful Barbados with a bit of makeup on.


  20. Well if it is that is if importance to you maybe you can galvanised a group of volunteers and oversee such a project everything cost money and the govt is strapped poor


  21. An American blogger, stated recently that she does not visit St Maarten / St Martin or St Thomas as they are always chock-a -block with cruise ships,and went on to say had not not for tourism, most of the islands in the Caribbean would be just be a string of little Haities. Food for thought, and moreso after hearing Mr Farrakhan yesterday echoing the words of Dipper Barrow.


  22. the people would prefer to belive in santa claus than listen to a man like farakhan who is wise and speaks “truth to power. this man is a reservoir of knowledge. unfortunately we as a people have been so brained washed that it is hard to grasp truth even when it hits one in the face but seem to be comfortable laying in a bed of false truths given to us by our colonial masters.


  23. Bushie wrote “old, tired, decrepit, scorned, dirty, and hopeless.”

    But Bushie you can still put on some lipstick and gih she a hairdo and a nice dress and she might still have some appeal.

    Bajans are sleepwalking.

    The Hotels need paint. The garbage need cleaning off the streets and beaches. Clean the whole place first and Tourists will come if the geniuses who market Barbados have any sense.

    David the Canadians have been attacking Barbados from the time Harper (conservative) became Prime Minister. He was pissed that Paul Martin (Liberal) had his steamship business registered in Barbados.

    The writing has been on the wall.


  24. millertheanunnaki | Go and have a look at the old General Hospital site and the environs of Lower Bay Street and tell us if the people can take matters in their own hands. Get out from your cozy corner and see what is happening to Barbados’ environment.
    ****************************************************************
    Have it all on film,old boy, but prefer not to add insult to injury by posting many of them on the web. For example not far from the heart of Bridgetown and a stone throw away from the old Empire Cinema where many are lobbying the government,ie taxpayers to refurbish ,is Wellington Street. During the last two weeks the GG must have passed this festering spot, on his way to St Ambrose church hall to pay his respects to the latest Centenarian. Perhaps the MP for this area was there as well.

    or link
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/83717797@N04/8146744907/


  25. ac | November 27, 2012 at 5:56 PM |
    …….. unfortunately we as a people have been so comfortable laying in a bed of false truths given to us by our colonial masters.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………
    We can no longer blame our former colonial masters for the predicament that we find ourselves in today. We, in a few days time will be celebrating 46 years as an independent nation. Today many of our leaders and many of our people , barely know what a Union Jack is or what God Save the Queen is. We have thousands of graduates, with all types and degrees and doctorates coming out of the University of the West Indies assembly line . When our forefathers gave them the opportunity to pursue a university education at the taxpayers expense, they had in mind that these intellectuals, engineers and scientist, would have come back and served their country in away that Mr Farrakhan is now imploring them to .But as soon as they graduate they make a bee like to COW or Bizzy asking for jobs. And we know well what Mr Barrow labelled those who sought shelter in the Public Service.
    After 46 years of independence and a degree,if not a doctorate, in almost every home, when ever something breaks , the same colonial master types, have to come in and fix it.
    ————– W A P W D G O……….


  26. islandgal246 | November 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM |
    ‘ something as simple as throwing trash on streets and pissing on sidewalks cannot all be regulated to th govt as miller would like to suggest..outside of the govt levying heavy fines on the perpertrators ”…………………………………………………………………………………….
    But Barbados should now be spotlessly clean. Did not one of the Ministries organised a 6-hour cleanup by volunteers on November 11, Remembrance Day,which in itself, was an insult to our Veterans.


    • @Colonel Buggy

      Thanks for sharing, have posted in the right places. Let us look to see if the authorities react.


  27. a certificate does not alone empower people ,people also need financial backing to start a business having a piece of paper is meaningless when one is not afforded financial funding to start a business of their own which many blacks not only in barbados has been denied acess for years to pursue because of foreign influence in the financial institutions, a barrier which must be broken


  28. Not sure how Rhianna bring Chris Brown to Barbados will translate to arrivals but it sure creates brand awareness:

    Rihanna Taking Chris to Barbados

    28 November 2012

    Rihanna is taking Chris Brown to her native Barbados over New Year.

    The ‘Diamonds’ singer – who recently claimed she and Chris were just friends – is keen to show her friends and family how much the ‘Turn Up the Music’ hitmaker has changed so has booked them into a five-star villa on the island for a “bonding holiday”.

    http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/celebrity/Rihanna-268594.html


  29. I am certain that kind of publicity beats all others and god knows we need it.strategically it makes good sense for her and also for barbados as both names would be mentioned in households world wide, and it can also be the official coming out of her and chris being together again .


  30. Colonel buggy i am certain that you are aware that the garbage did not drop from the sky and it is people who contribute most of the damage to the enviroment. no matter how much govt spend cleaning up oistins, outside of enforcing heavy fines on those who break the law the lawlesness would continue.


  31. @ ac . You are quite correct and it reinforces the point that Statesmen look after the next generation, while Politicians ,such as ours, look after the next election. Our politicians secure themselves by not putting laws in place that are going to penalise their supporters. I am also aware that the indiscipline that we see daily on our highways did not drop from the sky, but as we failed to address it when it first began with the PSV’s, we now have bicyclists, motorcyclists, ordinary taxi drivers and motorists following suit. And we ain’t doing a thing about it.
    — W A P W D G O—


  32. Stupse…. I’m so tired of people turning every little thing into a political issue. And I’m tired of these so-called tourism organisations running to the government instead of trying to help themselves. Barbados is not the only country that’s having tourism issues. Like others said, it’s time to look at others ways to make money for the country.


  33. Seems like Doyle is in the almond thing to win. pulling all the stops even showing what he has to offer . game on! or maybe game over!


  34. David, ‘brand’ awareness or destination awareness and is it the imagine we are trying to promote? Just asking!


  35. I think Doyle will do well with Almond village and should go to him. I have been seeing a number of Tourists in the north and many rental cars passing my property. Let us keep our fingers crossed that the numbers will come. But there is a cleanliness problem and it seems that no one is able to solve it. We have created a monster by teaching the electorate that the government will clean up after them. I can’t see how that mindset will change. We should remove Pride and Industry from our coat of arms and replace it with slime and grime! Unless the population is inspired to change their nasty ways we will be buried in our our own filth!


  36. @ islandgal246 | November 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM |

    I totally support Doyle’s bid for the closed property. It must be reopened as soon as possible and managed properly. He should also buy the old burnt-out Sam Lord’s Castle based on its current debased value and make a tourism Phoenix out of it with private beach and casino to boot.
    I find it rather strange that ‘ac’ would agree with such a sale. She hates foreigners and private enterprise. Wouldn’t this be another case of “reselling” Barbados to foreigners something anathema to the DLP and its supporters like ‘ac’?

    But we must not despair. Even ‘ac’ is capable of seeing the light and the only path that must be travelled to save this country from pending economic collapse and social dislocation.


  37. @ ac | November 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM |
    ” there are somethings the govt should stick their nose out of like managing hotels.”

    Come to Papa, ac, one step at a time. Sweet, sweet, sweet, the baby wants booties. And now you know that your claim that the OSA and the BLP sold out the West and South coasts to foreigners is a bunch of crap that you need to stop regurgitating before you choke on your own lying vomit.

    These West and South coasts’ properties are mostly hotels, guest houses, condos or luxury villas built on lands sold by local private individuals to foreigners so that the likes of you can live big and drive around in SUV’s.
    Shut your trap or next time you speak at least put your brain in gear before allowing your big mouth to run.


  38. are we supposed to care if you make money loveridge.?
    dont you have enough already.?
    what is this weekly update shite.?
    tell it to those other rip of hoteliers like yourself with outrages prices and the whole smile behind the hate crap.
    do we really care if you all get richer?
    i dont.

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