The Adrian Loveridge Column – Endless Possibilities

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

According to the travel industry research firm, Phocuswright, the San Francisco based home sharing platform, Airbnb will become the fourth largest online travel company in the world by the end of this year. They will trail only after Expedia, Priceline and China Ctrip in terms of annual gross booking value. This has been estimated at US$7.5 billion just for Airbnb in 2015 alone. Perhaps most striking is that one in three US travellers stayed in an Airbnb home last year, which they state is ‘more than triple the number of just four years ago’.

Vice President of research at Phocuswright, Douglas Quinby added ‘Airbnb has played a pretty big role in making alternative accommodations mainstream’ and ‘travellers are now looking for the right place to stay in the best location that’s fits the bill, which might not necessarily be a home, hotel or hostel’. The first quotation could prove the understatement of the century.

The financial information giant, Bloomberg recently reported that Airbnb has secured another US$1 billion debt facility, more in some cases than the annual GDP of some of our island neighbours. One of the reasons shared with the public was to expand services beyond its core business of accommodation to include features such as restaurant reviews, general trip planning, activities and tours.

Also on the cards are so called ‘Magical Trips’ to offer users restaurant services, art tours, meals made by personal chefs, bicycle rental, city guide books and even down to local listings highlighting happy hour deals.

After the latest cash injection the New York Times has valued the current market value of Airbnb at US$30 billion. As well as dramatic growth in the United States, they have reported a 700 per cent increase in business from Chinese travellers.

It really appears to be an unstoppable juggernaut train and I wonder if there are any major detrimental implications to our more traditionally geared tourism industry. Realistically this just might only be based on naive speculation and that it has not already played a key role in changing the sector, perhaps forever.

So the question I would imagine our tourism policymakers are asking, is not how ‘we’ respond, but how do we play catch-up?

Clearly our targeted visitors have become far more sophisticated in the way they research, plan and book online and in our particular destination case, you only have to go onto the TripAdvisor Barbados Forum, to glean that simple fact. Our visitors share and exchange information and experiences now in a way that could not have been imagined twenty years ago.

The destinations who master the art of disseminating this knowledge will obviously have an advantage over others and could grow market share more effectively.Just think of the latent potential. You are on the aircraft enroute to Barbados with a carrier who provides free onboard wireless connectivity.You can study restaurant menus, car rental rates, island tours and activities and book online painlessly.

In many cases eliminating intermediaries therefore giving the actual supplier higher net revenue. The possibilities are endless.

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8 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – Endless Possibilities”

  1. peterlawrencethompson August 29, 2016 at 9:44 PM #

    A quick scan of the Airbnb showed listings for over 1,300 properties in Barbados. Since a fair number of those are villas with multiple rooms I’d say there are more than 1,500 Airbnb rooms available in Barbados. Doesn’t this make it Barbados’s ‘largest hotel’?


  2. chad99999 August 31, 2016 at 4:09 AM #

    Although Adrian is promoting AirBnB, it is the kind of innovation that could do a great deal of damage to the reputation of the island.
    Think of all the visitors who could end up in substandard accommodations. They would never come back. Most foreigners can only enjoy the Caribbean if they are shielded from its harshest realities.


  3. Adrian Loveridge August 31, 2016 at 9:40 AM #

    chad99999, I am not promoting Airbnb at all. In fact I have actively campaigned to regulate ALL visitor accommodation for nearly three decades. Finally this is now being addressed by the Barbados Tourism Product Authority.


  4. lawson August 31, 2016 at 11:38 AM #

    first direct flight from us to cuba in over 50 years just happened, that was not an elephant trumpeting heard on the island but the collective sound of all the hoteliers assholes puckering


  5. Due Diligence August 31, 2016 at 12:06 PM #

    Historic commercial flight from U.S. lands in Cuba

    The 72-minute journey re-establishes regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War.


  6. de pedantic Dribbler August 31, 2016 at 12:12 PM #

    @Adrian Loveridge, how exactly is the BTA going to regulate this now well developed segment. Are you recommending to your peer industry leaders to send letters to each ‘Airbnb landlord’ or will it be a tax remittance collected by Airbnb on each transaction?

    This is an exciting time for all of these entrepreneurs but I can accept and understand the need for control and standards. I do not accept the need for endless bureaucracy and taxation. Of course as the hotel tax revenue falls gov’t must find the reason and as the Airbnb landlords are the likely cause regulations and taxes will ensue.

    There are some really wonderful locations on Bdos’ Airbnb, in fact some are simple, while being ‘luxuriously’ old fashioned and yet inexpensive. I do hope that you, the industry and gov’t find the right balance.

    As a country long touted for its friendly people this should be an absolute awesome experience for Bajans and travelers.

    @Chad45, you are being alarmist. For every bad situation there will be 10 times positive reviews. Tourist all over have to be careful and sensible; ‘buyer beware’ comes from a Latin phrase. It was certainly not originated by the founders of Airbnb!


  7. David September 2, 2016 at 6:33 PM #

    Who can recall when the MoT brayed that Barbados was 30 years ahead of St. Lucia?

    Lookee here!

    It would appear St. Lucia is no longer 30 years behind Barbados.

    St. Lucia – 6
    Barbados – 19


  8. Colonel Buggy September 4, 2016 at 10:37 PM #

    The Sargassum sea weed is once again establishing a beach head along some of our shore line. Can we take it as a given, that the much bragged about expensive piece of machinery bought by the NCC, after last year’s invasion has been deployed in the removal of the seaweed.


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