BTMI and Marketing Barbados


Submitted by Andrew Nehaul

How much should the BTMI spend on enticing a visitor to Barbados? The answer depends on a number of factors –

  1. The country of origin
  2. The length of stay
  3. The age of the potential visitors
  4. The reason for travel (sports, honeymoon, family holidays etc)
  5. 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 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.

11 thoughts on “BTMI and Marketing Barbados

  1. The best thing that Barbados can do to help tourism in improve the visitor experience. Some of the things that come to mind is cleanliness (keep the beaches clean,& clean the streets), the restroom facilities in Bridgetown are disgusting, friendly customer service can always improve, and finally mass transit (day passes sold at the port and hotels, updating the web site so it is accurate) a lot of visitors come from countries were mass transit is the norm.

  2. Wily has just spent the last two weeks in Grand Cayman, what a difference from Barbados. Cayman obviously knows how to ” bat above their weight”. From the first arrival at airport immigration we were greeted with enthusiasm and engaged in meaningful conversation. Bags were already offloaded when we got to the pickup area, amazing. Island is immaculately clean, no road potholes, sidewalks that are flat and continuous, beaches well groomed, first class restaurant’s and hotels in abundance, all service staff want to engage you in conversation and enquire if your having an enjoyable stay. This is all on an island that has only 60,000 population. Wily did not require any medical or local licence to rent and drive, humm. Barbados could learn some important lessons from this small island nation.

  3. @Wily

    You missed out the most important bit: you often get a better welcome in other Caribbean islands travelling on a Barbados passport than in Barbados. Sometimes it comes as a shock.

  4. Mr William Skinner said and I quote

    “…After six decades we get this. Incredible….”

    The “half of the story HAS NOT BEEN TOLD…”

    I look at articles like these and say that this, if the $$ were followed, WOULD LEAD TO THE RIGHTFUL INCARCERATION OF THOUSANDS OF SO CALLED TOURISM EXPERTS, CONSULTANTS AND MINISTERS!

    The fact is that Nehaul has just arrived at this comment “…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…”

    Twenty years later!

    He goes on to say “…no sitting in an office!…”


    If you cant justify your salary THEN YOU CANT WORK AT THE TOURISM MARKETING AGENCY!

    But then again this e-marketing article ties into the other article about the Mastercard Initiative doesn’t it?

    Which brings us to the real issue here Nehaul which is IF DE RH MINISTER DONT KNOW SHY$E ALL ABOUT THE IT REQUIREMENTS OF AN INTEGRATED SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM, and all he know bout is how many women he used to foop in the Pine, how de RH can any of this recommendation COME INTO BEING?

  5. @William

    What is your point?

    Making decisions to ensure one is competitive is a dynamic process, it never stops. Barbados over the years has been doing well in the sector.

  6. The Jet Blue flight left NewYork at Midnight. We touched down in Barbados, around 5am give or take a few minutes. Pefect landing I thought ” huh, he mussy a BWIA trained pilot. ”

    After the rush I headed for the back exit. One of my seat companions was there talking to a crew member. We had exchanged couple words en route. She had travelled from California to New York, then Barbados to continue to St. Vincent.
    She mentioned being hungry but did not want to pay another US$12.00 for a ham cutter. I told her breakfast was on me in Barbados.

    I go down the stairs and wait for her. It was then I saw that she had great difficulty in walking. She was hanging on to the rail and taking slow steps.
    Behind her patiently following and carrying her 2 bags was a white man.
    The young man wearing a uniform was waving me on. I pointed up the stairs. The lady was about 5-6 steps along.
    He waved more frantically and said ,” You can stannup there”.
    The waving accelerated, and he said, “you got yuh move.” I said,
    That I was waiting for the lady, she needed a wheel chair. He waving now faster than at Crop Over!!
    “Let me talk to you”. I took two steps forward.
    “I in want to talk to you, you got to move I calling d Supervisor.”

    “Ok” I walk back to the step, but not without first noticing that there is an elderly lady sitting in a wheel chair a little forward of the left wing.

    The people on the step are near the bottom.
    The Supervisor approached and says, ” You cannot wait there.”
    I point at the two people coming down the stairs and say, ” I am waiting on the lady, she needs a wheel chair.”
    She repeats in an authoritative voice that I should not stand there for safety reasond.
    She calls another young man and tells him. All the shouting, aggression and dirty looks vanished as soon as the white man stood next to me.
    The man says, ” Here, these are get bags”.
    I asked him to walk with them until we had cleared the area by the steps and wing as I could not manage both with mine. He complied. we thanked him and he left.

    About 5-7 minutes later I saw a young man walking by. I asked for a wheel chair. He said that one was just there but someone took it. We would have to wait until they got one. Two young men later we got one. This young man was very polite.
    Customs. No problems.
    Long delay for the lady’s luggage. I travel light…none

    Immigration, the lady said Good Morning. First of five Airport workers we had encountered.
    I mentioned it and what had transpired. She said that those people had worked from the night before.
    At the LIAT counter, the lady was told to open her twice checked luggage and put in something heavy from her carryon. I asked why. No answer.
    She complied with some difficulty – had to get out of the wheel chair.
    Two LIAT workers then had a problem closing her suit case even after extending it. This took more than 40 minutes.

    Off to Chefette, to buy her breakfast. The lights went out. She sat outside in wheel chair. She ate. I asked some Vincentian be footballers to look after her for me on the last leg of her travels. They agreed.

    I waited untill it was boarding time . I walked with her to the departure area and headed home. She was very appreciated and left with a good impression of at least two Barbadians.

    I had the good fortune to work with Concorde passengers at the GAIA, the treated those people received was above that given to BWIA passengers.

    One day. Hopefully coming soon, our people in public service will finally awake.

  7. Mariposa

    I agree with you !00% the best way to keep the virus out of the island is to ban all travel coming into the country. Proceed !

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