BTMI and Marketing Barbados
How much should the BTMI spend on enticing a visitor to Barbados? The answer depends on a number of factors –
- The country of origin
- The length of stay
- The age of the potential visitors
- The reason for travel (sports, honeymoon, family holidays etc)
- The average hotel cost in winter/summer.
Although visitors from the USA have the shortest stay compared to those from the UK & Europe, I am sure that due to the high media cost in the USA, the money spent to attract visitors must be on par with Europe.
In 1986 the BTA had a policy of a maximum cost of USD10 per visitor. This was presumably due to the budget they had at the time as the major markets to Barbados were from the UK, Germany, The USA & The Caribbean.
Some years ago, the BTA in their wisdom and under the guidance of David Rice they allegedly paid a marketing cost in excess of USD1000/person for a charter from Scandinavia. Looking back, this decision seemed to be more political than feasible as glowing talk of a new charter was pronounced after the ITB.
It is high time that the BTMI become more transparent in its worldwide marketing activities. Not only what they intend to do but where and why. Also, the arrival card should be abolished and instead provided to visitors online for completion similar to Aruba https://www.aruba.com/us/plan-your-visit/getting-to-aruba/online-ed-card. This will give all and sundry a real time access to visitor information that can be used for focused marketing programs.
I now want to suggest that the BTMI become the Caribbean’s Tourism social marketing ninja.
To do this they should immediately activate a social media department based in Barbados. This department should be staffed by persons who not only are first-class at using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other forms of digital media but also at writing relevant short copy and be creative enough to get the attention of the target market. No sitting in an office! They should be responsible enough to travel the length and breadth of the island daily to find stories to share immediately via a smart phone. (I hope that this does not turn into a scenario where their stories must be sent to a boss who has to approve them first and takes a week or two to do so)
The need for these Bajan media rock stars are to entice visitors to Barbados. Anything they produce MUST have excellent pictures which portray the best sides of Barbados – from food to beaches, sport, water activities etc
Some concepts they can use:
- Interviews with persons at the conference center to send info on Barbados as a conference/incentive destination.
- Short videos of turtles for an eko friendly base.
- Beaches, beaches, beaches
- Video interviews of hotel staff/concierge tell all about what the island has to offer.
- Concepts to encourage health tourism.
- Polo, golf, tennis + + +
- Positive interviews with cruise visitors.
- and 101 more I could share
I suggest that this would work better if they bought some photos or video from local photographers instead of having their own. I say this as each photographer has their own eye and slant on the visual. Therefore having a great choice of photos to choose from is best.
Finally, visitors should be encouraged to post on their own social media platforms while on the island and incentives for this should be offered to them.