Barbados.org is that You?

Submitted by Due Diligence
Adrian Elcock, Chairman of the BTA

Adrian Elcock, Chairman of the BTA

When I Googled “Barbados All Inclusive” yesterday [17 November 2013] I clicked on the barbados.org link, then http://www.barbados.org/allinclusive_vacations.php#.UoohrxaSKRY,There I found a list of 8 all-inclusive resorts, I then printed pages 1 to 3 of the 5 pages. On the printed page 2 of 5, the same two pictures of the two kids and the two adults which appeared on the website were printed – and, unbelievably,  under those pictures there is an ad for Transat Holidays for – SAINT LUCIA!. A copy of the printed page is attached. When I revisited the same page this morning, and printed page 2 of 5, the Transat/Saint Lucia ad was replaced with an Air Canada/CIBC ad.  Copy also attached. Apparently barbdos.org sells ad space to travel organizations which rotate and appear only in the printed material.

I suggest it might be timely for those who control barbados.org, the “Official Website of the Barbados Tourism Authority“, to do a bit of due diligence into the workings of its website.

14 thoughts on “Barbados.org is that You?


  1. Submitted by Due Diligence:
    “Is he (Minister Sealy) upset because we have asked why tourism advertising by Barbados has gone dark in our key tourist markets, especially Canada whose economy remains buoyant despite a global economic recession of global magnitude?” (http://bajan.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/tourism-budget-doing-more-with-less/). Rather than being upset at BU, the Minister should do something about it.
    I cannot say I saw them all; but here are some tourism ads in the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail from Saturday Nov 9 to Saturday Nov 17.
    November 9
    Star Travel Section
    1/3rd page Air Canada Vacations Co-op Marketing ad. If you look closely you can see Barbados – The Crane Residential Resort, along with properties in Curacao, Nassau, St. Kitts, Mexico, Jamaica and DR.  No BTA support, The Crane will have paid for its inclusion.
    2 page centre spread Sunwing Vacations ad, with properties in DR, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico and Aruba.
    !/2 page ad Sandals Grand Antigua Resort & Spa.
    Globe Travel Section
    Full (Back) Page – Sandals LaSource Grenada
    Globe Style Section
    Full Page Saint Lucia Tourism/Air Canada Vacations Co-op Ad, with 12 properties, including 3 Sandals
    Tuesday Nov 12
    Globe Life and Arts Section
    1/2 page Beaches ad for Jamaica and Turks and Caicos  Wednesday Nov 13
    Globe Life & Arts Section
    1/2 page Sandals Grande Riviera, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
    1/4 page Air Canada Vacations ad for 2 St Lucia properties
    1/4 page Air Canada Vacations ad for 2 Cuba properties
    Toronto Star Business Section
    Joint Air Canada Vacations/Tourism Saint Lucia ad for 8 properties including 2 Sandals properties
    Thursday November 14
    Toronto Star Life Section
    Full Page Sandals Emerald Bay ad
    Saturday November 16
    Toronto Star Travel Section
    Half page (Front Page) article “In Jamaica, hanging at the Pelican Bar” continued on page 3, reprinted from New York Times.
    1/4 page Air Canada Co-op marketing ad, featuring properties in Antigua, Bahamas, St. Lucia, Nevis, Mexico and Dominican Republic.
    2 page centre spread Sunwing Vacations ad, with 20 properties in DR, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico and St. Maarten
    1/2 page Transat Holidays ad, with 12 properties in Cuba, Mexico, and DR.
    1/4 page joint West Jest/Aruba ad
    Full (Back) Page Sunquest Vacations ad featuring 4 Aruba properties.
    Globe Travel Section
    1/4 page Air Canada/Iberostar Hotels ad for two Cuba properties
    Full (Back) Page ad for Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort
    National Post Weekend Post Section
    Full Page Hilton HHonors ad featuring 6 Hilton Hotels & Resorts and related properties, including Mexico and Jamaica.
    So, over 8 days there was one small mention of a Barbados property (The Crane) which no doubt had no subsidy. It is now almost two weeks since the reported handing of the keys to Casuarina to Sandals, but I have seen no sign of them lending their “marketing might” to Sandals Barbados.
    I attach photos of some of the ads.
    Ad 1 and Ad 2.


    • @Due Diligence

      BU understands that Barbados.org is not the official website of the BTA. It was for sometime, but the BTA refused to adequately pay (in the view of the owners) Axses Web Communications for the domain name.

      http://www.visitbarbados.org has been the ‘official’ website for several years.


    • It seems too amazing that the rule of thumb in the industry which dictates how much a domain name should trade at would not allow the Barbados government to buy the domain name “barbados.org’. Would it happen to any other country? We need to fix this now!


  2. David,

    Axses spent years building the original ‘official’ site for the BTA and when the BTA demanded ownership of the domain (barbados.org) they naturally wanted some some of compensation. I am aware of the figure involved and personally found it very reasonable.
    Axses went over and above the call of duty in very many cases, often without payment at all.
    Then the BTA went out to the markets (overseas) and spent considerably more to produce visitbarbados.org which is my opinion is a poorly conceived and maintained website. It often takes weeks to solicit updates and in no way reflects an often quoted ‘iconic’ destination.


    • Thanks Adrian, to those at the BTA and MOT reading, we need to fix this, it is asinine that we don’t own barbados.org.


  3. @Davic,
    I visited the website(visitbarbados.org) they list 147 hotels etc)the website could be upgraded but it provides the information a visitor would require. The marketers need to visit these websites periodically, upgrade them and increase the amount of advertising. If a website is unsuitable there is nothing wrong with changing it. The important thing is keeping the country constantly before the public either here or overseas. the qquestion that should be asked is How much do the hotels and businesses each contribute to the website/ How much do they each pay for the advertisements of their establishments, and do they check to see what is put on the website, or do they just depend on the BTA to do everything.


  4. Advertising Up-Date, and some thoughts.

    The Globe & Mail today (Nov 19) includes a Special (Advertising) Information Feature, SUN & CRUISE.

    The front page is a full-page article titled “10 gorgeous stunning, amazing beaches, guaranteed to chase away the chills.”

    The single picture, above the article, is a about a third of the page photo of Crane Beach, submitted by The Crane Resort.

    The ten beaches featured include one in Maui, and 9 in the Caribbean; including Crane Beach and beaches in Barbuda, Turks & Caicos, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Cuba, Mexico, Bahamas, Mexico and Dom Rep.

    Each has a brief, about 100 words, description of the beach and surrounding areas. The wording of the descriptions suggest they were submitted (and paid for) by countries’ tourism boards; except for the Barbados beach which was clearly submitted (and paid for) by The Crane Resort, as Government and BTA clearly have no money for advertising – at least in the Canadian (third largest) source market.

    The Government owes a debt to Paul Doyle for buying the space which, in the words of Minister Sealy in his recent Ministerial Statement “substantially improves the visibility of our island”

    His remarks were, of course, made in reference to Sandals using its “full marketing might” to promote its two properties in Barbados. But, DD has seen no evidence of Sandals advertising either of its two properties.

    Instead it is Paul Doyle, not Butch Stewart who is putting his money, where Sealy’s mouth is.

    Also, the back page of the SUN & CRUISE section is a full-page Co-Op Westjet Vacations/Mexico Tourism Board ad.

    An article at: http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2013/09/11/almond-to-be-bulldozed-and-replaced-by-426-room-beaches-resort/ quoted from a Cabinet document titled Long-term Operator for the Almond Beach Village at Heywoods, St. Peter.

    The document included a very brief dismissal of the only competing written offer, saying

    “Crane Resorts proposes to buy one-third of the property for one-third of the purchase price paid by the Government, with an option to purchase the remaining two thirds … in the future. The plan would be for the development of the villa accommodation for sale by way of time share. There is also a proposal for the short term operation of Almond…

    “This proposal is quite similar to the existing Crane model, which involves building accommodation based on sales and may therefore take a full decade to fully realise its potential. It will therefore fail to achieve increased visitor arrivals in the next few years and will be unable to assist Barbados in protecting its airlift.”

    The article also said “Additionally, after an initial Cabinet decision instructed the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. to work with Sandals Resort International “to have a Sandals Beaches Resort in Barbados within three to four weeks”, that body last week determined that Sandals be given the nod to operate and manage a rebuilt Almond under the Beaches brand, with an option to purchase the property at a future date.”

    So Cabinet decided against SELLING one third of Heywoods to Doyle, with an option to buy the remaining two thirds ….. in the future, and a proposal for the short-term operation of the Heywoods plant; in favour if GIVING the property to Stewart – with an option to purchase the property at a future date.

    And so far no sign of Sandals “marketing might”; but Doyle is using his money to give “substantial visibility” to the island, and “assist Barbados in protecting its airlift.”

    Is this Cabinet decision Cabinet incompetence, of Cabinet corruption?

    One last observation .

    In his Ministerial Statement Sealy said “The final category relates to the need for the hotel to ensure that it has the human resource skill sets to provide world class hotels.

    DD can say from recent personal experience that the staff at every level at The Crane is the best I have ever experienced anywhere – world class indeed..

    And BTW, in the Globe Life and Arts Section today, Sandals is exercising its “marketing might” with a half ad – for Sandals Grande Antigua


  5. There is no sense advertising for winter getaways in the fall, wait to the spring so you don’t have tourists causing big lineups at the supercenter during your Christmas shopping


  6. @Due Dligence,
    The all inclusive is not within Paul doyle’s concept for Almond. The all inclusive model is what is required for Almons (Sandals) and what is needed to bring back families, within the reach of U.K and European tourists.


  7. Lawson

    Good point

    I hate those long lineups at SuperCentre in the winter months. And probably won’t be able to find a parking space at Cost-U-Less. And all those tourises at Cave Sheppard and Harrisons are a real pain. No more winter visits for me.

    Alvin

    But, Is all-inclusive the best model for Barbados?

    The Sandals all-inclusive guest, tends to stay on the property where “the best of everything is included and unlimited”; where the tourist can “Spend his/her days indulging in every land and water sports under the sun”. and where “Specialty restaurants and bars serve unlimited premium liquors.”

    It is not clear to me how that will benefit the entire Barbados tourism industry.

    Will Sandals guests take the 10 minute walk to the Gap (to be harassed and accosted by vendors of street food and drug dealers)? Or will they go further afield to Oistins, or Bridgetown, or to North Point up in St. Lucy, or St. Nicholas Abbey, or the East Coast – Bathsheba and Ragged Point?

    Lucky for them they will not have to wait for a seat at the Lucky Horseshoe, or Tides, or the Bay Tavern


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