Adrian Loveridge Column – Welcome to Barbados Mr and Mrs Tourist

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

Returning recently to Barbados on a British Airways flight, landing early from a near freezing Gatwick Airport, it was a real treat to clear entry formalities using the automated passport kiosks in seconds. Then being finally processed by a warm welcoming female Immigration officer.

With only cabin baggage, passing through the red channel was just as trouble free, with time to speak briefly with the very friendly male Customs Officer. These visitor first impressions, especially when choosing us as a destination while being confronted with multiple options, makes a huge psychological difference.

We tend to forget, that for the majority of our cherished guests, have endured many hours of travelling, even before they board the plane for the nine or so hours of flying from Britain and Europe. Especially in our peak winter months, leaving their home in the dark dead of night or early morning, often in severe weather conditions.

By the time that plane touches down at Grantley Adams airport, they just want to disembark the aircraft, make their way to their own particular accommodation choice and get to the room to hopefully enjoy a first drink before falling into bed.

Anything that we can collectively do, to speed up check-in at the hotel, villa, apartment or alternative lodging, is a win for our arrivals, like pre-registering online, rather than wait for indeterminate times at reception desks.

While this, for many, may seem like an obvious observation, in my personal experience, it is not a universally adopted practice at the vast majority of accommodation offerings. In most cases the hotel is aware of the flight arrival time and can organize the cleaning and preparation of the room accordingly, to avoid lengthy delays at check-in.

For repeat guests, while owning a small hotel, we adopted a simple policy of placing a locally made welcome back gift in each room, recognizing that those who made the decision to return, were the most valuable guests, as no further marketing or promotional dollars were needed in their particular case.

We also ‘cushioned’ the cost of holiday extras by including several non-accommodation options like car rental, activities, attractions and dining experiences in specific packages which passed on negotiated discounts to our guests from certain suppliers.

The thinking behind this concept was, that we can only extract revenue in so many ways and better to have the paid commitment of a non-refundable room deposit for a future stay, than not.

For us, it made planning and budgeting very much easier and directly resulting in achieving one of the highest occupancy levels of any hotel on the island.

As our hotel operating days shortly come to an end, in our thirty years it has been an incredible learning experience.

For those still pondering a future in the hospitality industry, I cannot think of a more rewarding sector for those who really want to make a positive difference in our nation’s future.  But to pretend it is not without challenges that requires dedicated hard work, would be like perpetuating a myth.

17 comments

  • Adrian, keep plugging the ‘experience’ of a fast clearance on arrival and out the door to the hotel accommodation…. it does make a good impression & a difference. If there is a bottleneck in the current process, it is the (sometimes) long wait for baggage to appear.

    Recently travelled to Miami and was quickly through the Passport kiosks but then I was into a multiple zip-zagging line that took 2 1/2 hours to reach the Officer, who then processed my entry in seconds. By sheer luck I was able to barely make my connecting flight!!

    There is a noticeable improvement arriving at GAIA and the pleasant treatment of the immigration & customs staff…. let’s hope it ripples through all of them and we become known as the “best in the Caribbean”…. it will pay-off in the long run!

    Liked by 1 person

  • The challenges the behind the curtain security checks on luggage, dog sniffing etc. it is no secret we do not have the best equipment to do the job. Hopefully the government will continue to work to improve in this area. It knows what the problems are especially after the town hall with GAIA staff with the PM and MoT held at Sherbourne early in the term.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ KS

    I note the 21/2 hours in the zig zag line before reaching the officer at MIA. But we complain of the 20 minutes we spend at GAIA to complete the same process. We are improving and that is a plus.

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  • @Vincent

    Is it an apple apple comparison?

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU

    It certainly is. It is time spent in the immigration line at both airports. A plane load is a plane load. Surely it should not take 21/2 hours to deplane and off load baggage. Very often it does at MIA.

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  • Tourists visiting Barbados have travel options, people traveling to the USA, many of them do not in the sense they want to visit family, shop etc in the US.

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  • Yes, but let us not forget that MIA is a passenger and cargo hub for Latin America. Vast difference in passenger loads for processing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • i endorse Mr Loveridge”s comments. Arriving from Trinidad on Sunday and using the automated kiosks for the first time i was indeed impressed with the arrival clearance to the point of exit andi am glad as well that the departure form is a thing of the past. kudos to the policy makers.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU at 10 :56 AM

    That response cannot be a serious response.
    The comparison is time SPENT IN THE QUEUE. Everyone has options. What make you believe that the majority of persons traveling to Miami are on shopping trips or are even Bajans? Do Bajans not have options?This lack of self respect is what is feeding our lack of confidence in our ability to achieve. As I said before we have to overcome our low self worth. Attitude is everything. We are not a nation of beggars. We are prepared to work. So any vision based on beggar my neighbour strategies will fail.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Vincent

    Believe what you will but anecdotally most locals travel to visit family, shop and business.

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  • De ole man is tempted to comment but, given all the backstory actions in play WILL LEAVE THIS TOPIC ALONE.

    You are a nation of dogs and poochlickers who deserve whatever is doled out to you by massa.

    You shall be beaten with many stripes, daily because you take the blessings of your fathers and abuse them.

    Much like you falsify the bones of your forefathers and run to Africa’s doors.

    But I WILL REPAY THEE SAITH THE LORD and my soul waiteth upon My Lord for my expectation is from Him!

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  • If the authorities in MIA know they have a passenger load (say) 100 times BGI, why they only have 8 immigration/customs officers instead of 100X the amount at BGI?? The line-up to the Americans citizens section was 1/10th that of the non-citizens queue… and probably had the same 6-8 number of officers!

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ks Because under the current administration, visiting the USA or immigrating there is no longer to be encouraged hence by reducing the number of agents, you will be frustrated into not returning.

    There is already a 3.3 percent decline in the number of foreign students registering to attend American colleges. This is the second year in a row. What this means is that over time the USA will no longer have first choice at the brightest and the best.

    Who needs them anyway when you have a stable genius running the country.

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  • “As I said before we have to overcome our low self worth. Attitude is everything. We are not a nation of beggars. We are prepared to work. So any vision based on beggar my neighbour strategies will fail.”
    Not surprised and our low self worth would continue to be a part of our psyche as long as we have policies which put other countries interest above ours. It is time in this 53 rd year of our Independence that we demand visa free entry of our citizens into the USA. they must think they are better than us if they can walz in here as they like but we on the other hand have to suffer the indignity of enduring some form of stress in having to apply for a visa and then paying an exorbitant sum to obtain it too. What more low selfworth can we want than that?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Note in #11 above re Hyatt: “The much needed addition of another world-class conference facility in Barbados”. How does this relate to the following hint from Minister Kerrie Symmonds – “There is a possibility that Government could sell the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) in the not-too-distant future to its main occupant, the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)”.

    Like

  • @Willie

    Why must the minister hunt? Is it about flying a kite? For many years the lack of foresight given to building Sherbourne is a matter of record. The question is should it be given a priority given the prevailing environment. The government must be straight and transparent, this is not a popularity thing.

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