The Adrian Loveridge Column – Open for Singles!

Depending on which of the multitude of sources you believe, our average year round hotel occupancy is quoted at around 67 percent.

Recently a senior industry spokesperson stated that we have a total of ‘6,000 hotel rooms and 3,000 villa rooms’.

This does not of course include the explosion of alternative lodging choices which has ‘appeared’ over the last decade. Until these Airbnb type offerings are fully identified, systematically listed and licensed, we can only speculate on just what percentage of our total arrivals choose to stay at these previously non traditional accommodations.

So, let’s just focus on those 9,000 villa and hotel rooms for the moment.

At 67 per cent average annual occupancy that would equate to having every one of those rooms full for 244 nights of the year. If a typical average stay is 7 nights with two persons per room, that’s a total of 627,428 people, but that does not seem to tally with published arrival figures.

This is perhaps an area which needs a great deal more investigation and clarification or our combined efforts in marketing the destination could be based on misconceptions.

Conversely, that would also mean that the ‘9,000 rooms’ were empty for 120 nights of the year, which based on the same assumptions, mean that we actually have an unfilled capacity of another 308,571 visitors or guests per year. I use the word ‘guests’ deliberately, as I personally feel there is a great deal more opportunity for domestic staycations.

The question then begs, how do we creatively fill all those empty rooms both to the financial benefit of the individual properties and to the country at large with the collection of increased taxation?

There are many existing promotions to encourage special events including sports, culinary and other potential areas of mass interest.

Could a singles month be a possibility?

Most of us fully understand the reason for single supplements and the economic reasons they are applied. But an empty room has no value, as it’s impossible to fill it twice on another night.

There are several specialist single travel tour operators who already have a captive customer base that we could work with and I am sure our partner airlines would welcome the possibility of filling more seats, even if it’s one at a time. When for instance, was the last operator FAM (familiarization) trip specifically aimed at these tour companies?

When I GOOGLED ‘single travel to Barbados’ I was surprised just how little information was available, so perhaps this is an area that our tourism policymakers could highlight and exploit.

It would of course be foolish to speculate substantial funds on any targeted

marketing plan without first embarking on research to identify the very best way of engaging this niche group, which some estimate could be as high as one in four of all travellers from our major visitor sources.

13 comments

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  • Barbados is not cheap you have chosen the market you want. Wealthy which usually means older people with houses paid and extra spending money. Young people head to places where it is more economical unless Barbados has a shift from quality to quantity singles are a non starter. And oh yeah old people are not fun

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  • Letter: Placing a five-star hotel into a two-star country
    Posted By wpadmin On January 18, 2019 (4:35 pm) In Letters, Trinidad and Tobago

    Dear Sir:

    What is a five-star hotel? Typically, high end hotels are rated between one to five stars. At a five-star property, accommodations will boast of excellent staff with exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care, cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality and delivery of services all adhere to an extremely high standard.

    Sandals advertise themselves as “the very pinnacle of luxury Caribbean all-inclusive vacations”. They feature unlimited gourmet dining, unique bars serving premium spirits and wines, land and water sport, including complimentary green fees at their golf resorts. It has been reported that they were invited to consider Tobago as a location for one of their resorts.

    As a person who has been advocating tourism as one of the pillars for economic transformation, one would think that I would have been happy that the present government took such an initiative. On the contrary I was disappointed as I felt then, and do so even more now, that the present and past governments do not understand what is required to attract the level of tourism that is required to compliment our economic recovery effort.

    It has been reported that Sandals could have had the resort constructed within 18 months. I have no doubt that such a schedule was possible. My concern was the status of the island. Tobago is not ready for a Sandals and would not be ready in 18 months or two years. Just over six months ago hotels in Tobago were complaining about the lack of water. Tobago like Trinidad continues to have a very unreliable water supply. The airport, roads, sewer system, security and support services are not in place for large scale luxury accommodation.

    Tourism can and ought to be a major initiative of the government, but it must be done right or like the disaster that was the Sandals pull out, the international community will simply laugh at our attempt to lure large quantities of tourists to our islands.

    Our number one challenge must be security. Police patrols must be structured and planned rather than ad hoc. Water supply must be reliable. The solution is a gravity fed system with community storage capacity to last at least a week during repairs from source locations. Our roads, air and sea transportation services must at the very least meet or exceed basic international standards. Our beaches must be cleaned daily and park rangers, life guards and guides in uniform must be employed to safely allow tourists to enjoy the facilities. Our sewer and waste water system must allow for thousands of people to use the facilities without impacting the environment or experiencing system failure.

    Only when we have covered the basics like toilet facilities along the pathway of bands at carnival parades, proper seating, lighting and sound at shows, access to banking facilities at hotels, public transportation that is fast, reliable and clean, well trained personnel to sell our internationally acclaimed brand of friendliness and service, should we consider asking hotel chains like Sandals to consider our islands as a destination.

    If we were to get the basics right, we would not have to ask anyone to come here. They would be knocking at our door wanting to go to our mountain tops, hike through our beautiful forests, paddle through our swamps and rivers, visit our pitch lake and participate in the greatest of street parades our Trinidad and Tobago carnival. If we do not embark on these initiatives, alternatively, we can blame arm chair commentators for forcing providers of luxury living to not invest in our country.

    Steve Alvarez
    Political Leader of the Democratic Party of Trinidad and Tobago

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    Article taken from Caribbean News Now – https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com
    URL to article: https://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/2019/01/18/letter-placing-a-five-star-hotel-into-a-two-star-country/

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  • David I am going to a five star brand new hotel in the dominican for a week in a few weeks 4 1/2 hrs there and back direct 1700 dollars. My son and 11 others just came back from a resort there it was so large you take carts to get around, said it most so much fun a lot of young people they paid 1400. Thats hotel,flights,meals. sports, gym etc…..kind of going on a cruise on land. If that is the market that is being suggested by singles it will be a tough sell.

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  • @Blogmaster
    Is the link correct? Clicked on your comment and Lawson’s and ended up here instead of at Loveridge post

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  • Ignore. It is correct.

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  • You can value for money in DR, the downside is infrastructure does not compare outside the resort areas.

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  • true David but like a cruise one week on a resort is do able that is what sandals wants once your there you have no need of leaving.but at a much higher price But on a more serious note there are two things barbadians can do to increase tourism STOP shooting and killing people, or take your newspapers off the net and hide the stories of killing people. I prefer option one.

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  • theo…..ignore……. way ahead of you

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  • @Lawson
    don’t forget your Loperamide. For whatever reason the DR, always gets me going, or maybe its the green rum LOL

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  • Or the girls and casinos?

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  • el presidente beer

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