Adrian Loveridge Column – the Right Customer

While the words ‘Holiday safety more important than price’ may not bring immediate comfort to our tourism industry and policy planners, it just could be a critical deciding factor in the recovery process, as and when that materializes.

AllClear Travel Insurance which boasts on its website that it is the UK’s most trusted travel insurance provider, holding the coveted Trustpilot customer review 5-star (excellent) rating, recently concluded in a report that British holidaymakers value safety and quality over a cheap deal.

According to Louise Longman, Contributing Editor of the informative online travel trade source TravelMole, ‘the insurance company tracked consumer sentiment towards travel at each pivotal point of the last year – the lockdowns, the tiers and the response to the vaccines – to give forecasts for what the industry will look like in 2021’.

MaruBlue, the customer insights company, conducted the research online at intervals during 2020 – in June, July, November and December with each sample poll representing an audience of 2,000 UK adults.

The conclusions were that safety was a top priority, rather than price, with more than two in five respondents (44%) wanting to visit a country with a good Covid-19 record , while 36% wanting to have the best insurance cover possible, covering them for Covid -19, was top of the agenda.

Our tourism marketing people may wish to also take into account that the over 55 year olds (56%) were more likely to pick a destination based on its perceived Covid-19 safety record, verses 28% of those aged under 34 years.

Interestingly, AllClear found that of those UK adult ‘s surveyed, they were prepared to spend GB Pounds 1,334.82 more than they would usually on their holidays to ensure their trips would be as safe as possible. This rose to GB pounds 1,644.23 for those having pre-existing underlying health issues.

Following the news of a widely available vaccine, more than half of the respondents (55%) stated they would feel comfortable going on holiday again as travelling became a top priority for plans in 2021.

Almost one in two of the respondents believed that the Caribbean would be safe to visit within a year.

The factors that became more important to those considering booking an overseas holiday in the months ahead by percentages, included:

  • The risk of the country (UK) going back into lockdown (44%)
  • Social distancing on flights – not getting onto a packed plane (39%)
  • The state of the health service in the country visited (36%)
  • The prospect of having to go back into quarantine on return (30%)
  • Comfort that airports would be safe (29%)
  • Avoid using public transport (27%)
  • Good customer reviews online for the safety of the resort (26%)

While consumer polls like these cannot be totally adopted as a ‘holy grail’ for shaping strategies to aid the recovery of our tourism industry, they can offer insightful guidance and a powerful benchmark to ensure we are most cost-effectively reaching our target market.

41 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – the Right Customer

  1. People ‘still keen on cruising
    BASED ON booking trends noted by Carnival Corporation & plc, people are still interested in taking cruise vacations.
    This was reported by the Carnival president and chief executive officer Arnold Donald as he commented on the company’s performance for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2020.
    The group had a net loss of US$1.9 billion during the fourth quarter but ended its financial year with US$9.5 billion of cash and cash equivalents.
    Donald said despite the challenges booking trends were a positive sign.
    “The booking trends that we have consistently experienced throughout this period affirm the strong fundamental demand for our brands which will facilitate our staggered resumption and support the long-term growth of our company,” he said.
    Carnival’s report noted that by December 20, cumulative advanced bookings for the second half of 2021 were within the historical range. Additionally, the cumulative advanced bookings for the first half of 2022 were ahead of 2019.
    The company also pointed out that due to the pause in guest cruise operations in 2020, its future booking trends would be compared to 2019.
    It believed that “the continued build in cumulative advanced bookings for this 12-month period ending May 2022 demonstrates the long-term demand for cruising”.
    Carnival said it was “providing flexibility to guests with bookings on sailings cancelled by allowing guests to receive enhanced future cruise credits (FCCs) or elect to receive refunds in cash”.
    Enhanced FCCs increase the value of the guest’s original booking or provide incremental onboard credits, the company explained.
    “As of November 30, 2020, approximately 45 per cent of guests affected by the company’s schedule changes have received enhanced FCCs and approximately 55 per cent have requested refunds,” it reported.

    Source: Nation

  2. @ David January 25, 2021 5:44 AM

    Sandy Lane Hotel is famous for “having received no suitable applications for ANY position advertised.”

    Reminds me of a calypso David Hunte sang a few years ago.

    “Is there no Bajan that could manage a hotel efficiently? They had to bring a man from Germany.”

    Just imagine, for example, hotels bringing in Executive Chefs from France, who have to rely on the Sous Chef and cooks to prepare Barbadian and Caribbean cuisine. Many of the white expatriates are autocratic managers. They don’t stay at the hotels for any long periods of time. I found they would work at one hotel for about a year, then move on to about 2 or three more, before returning home……. or going to another Caribbean island.

    And, Mottley gave or is about to give the hotel sector $300M.

    Before disbursing the funds, ‘government’ should have insisted the hotels submitted audited financial statements for at least the past 3 years and projected financial statements for 2 years.

  3. @ Artax
    There is optimism but there is reality. We can paint all the beautiful textbook scenarios but we need leaders of strength and character who will deal with this foolishness that has been going on for over five decades in the tourism and other industries. We can bury our heads in the sand. We need to read the government’s economic consultant and the Nation’s editorial. I just read both.
    All of this stupidness about who is “ real “ and mock Bajan needs to be abandoned. Futile personal jabs and petty political and personal crap will bring no gains to our country.
    Believe me there is optimism even on the way to the cemetery. But dead us dead.

  4. Skinner

    Asking people to abandon central cultural traits cannot to a necessary precondition. We need to find a way through in spite of the hurdles as perceived.

  5. We would like to know who funded the study, studies. From the reading they seem to be tourism interests paying for them. In that case the reality needle has not been moved an inch.

    This writer has some experiece in conducting such market studies and submit that the findings appear to be selfserving and incongruent with the devastation which Covid is wreaking in most source countries.

  6. When I went to Barbados and was chilling on the beach with the locals listening to Little Johnny Wonder and buying some Bullwackies cassettes at over inflated prices, the youths asked me if I was Bajan and I said “What’s a Bajan?”.

    They then asked me where I was from and I said “England” and the said “English are stingy” I then said “I live in America”
    They told me to check out Studio 10 for the number one sound where they played Michigan and Smiley Ghetto man
    and kept rewinding the tune. My white American friend was scared and wanted to go back to the hotel where he felt safe.

  7. Stop complaining about this practice of hotels importing people to do jobs that Bajans can certainly perform and do something about it, the Gov’t has the absolute power to put a stop to this continuing custom. Tourism has been our business for the better part of the last 100 years and if we can’t run a hotel there is no hope for us.

    First and foremost, let your parliamentary representative know that this does not sit well with you and everyone has a parliamentary representative who is sitting on the Gov’t side most of whom are Ministers.

    Target parliamentarians who may be sympathetic to your position, there is a parliamentarian who likes to flaunt his nationalist credentials who was recently turfed from his Ministry and he may still have an axe to grind.

    Ask the DLP to state publicly what their position is on the subject; they may latch on to this to gain supporters and if the DLP raises the issue you can be sure that the Gov’t is going to announce that it was on their radar for a while and it were just about to introduce measures to curtail same.

    Remember in this economy every job counts.

  8. @ Pacha
    Pray tell how we are going to make a quantum leap if we constantly ignore that these cultural traits are mainly foreign and we seem to choose them.
    You know very well that we have been vociferous about cultural penetration since the late 60s
    I maintain that we have a barren collective leadership that we are making excuses for. Sometimes I actually think that we very afraid to stand up and say clearly like @WURA says : We have been royally screwed.
    If we can’t accept that the economic model we are pursuing is dead in the water and we have to change direction, what the hell are we really doing.

  9. Skinner

    Of course, we agree on all counts. There’s still a national naivete that somehow the tried and failing systems of oppression will come to our aide, like previously. We have been saying no for a long time.

    Yes, there could be a heightened civic activist population which in and of itself maybe necessary but insufficient given magnitude of the multi dimensional problems we face.

  10. @ David BU

    Yes, I’ve noticed recently even the ‘B’ class and lower hotels….. and some restaurants are ‘getting in on the act.’

    I remember listening to the older guys from my neighbourhood, (most of them are retired now), who began their hotel careers working at Paradise Beach Hotel as waiters, ‘bus boys’ and cooks……. and retired in management positions. There is one guy, for example, who rose through the ranks from waiter, maître d’, restaurant supervisor, restaurant manager, assistant food & beverage manager to food & beverage manager. Another guy went from cook, head cook, sous chef to chef. In those days, their reputations afforded them the opportunity to work in islands such as Bermuda, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands…… or on cruise liners. And, they received job offers as soon as managers learnt of their return to Barbados.

    One of their complaints was about when hotels began bringing in expatriates as managers and giving them titles such as executive sous chef, executive chef, executive housekeeper. Or, replacing the title ‘maintenance manager’ with ‘chief engineer.’

    Based on my experience, the argument is that cooking, for example, goes beyond cooking and writing rosters. It includes having a proficient knowledge of cost & management accounting, budgets, information technology, human resources management. Chefs are responsible for reviewing staff levels according to occupancy rates, inventory and stock taking. So, perhaps such knowledge deserves the title ‘executive.’

  11. Tek A Set Tek A Set Tek A Set Booga Minott Tek A Set
    You sing this ya one and the wicked them a fret
    Tek A Set Tek A Set Tek A Set Itopia Tek A Set
    Your playing for Jah then your playing the best

  12. @ Mr. Skinner

    I’m not attempting to shift the focus from the substantive topic, but, I was reading the Saturday, June 2, 1951 Barbados Advocate and an article on page 1 reminded me of comments you’ve made in the past about Barbados exports.

    Its headline was, “Barbados sells Canada $2,124,124, And Buys $433,468 In April.” The following is an excerpt from the article:

    “The value of total imports into Barbados in April 1951 was $3,857,831, according to the report of the Comptroller of Customs.
    Total exports were valued at $4,329,363. Barbados exported produce worth $2,124,124 to Canada and at $1,809,080 to the United Kingdom.
    It imported only $433,468 of goods from Canada, but $1,988,254 from the United Kingdom. Major imports from the United Kingdom were: motor cars ($160,162); motor trucks ($53,712); and motor car parts ($28,015). Machinery from the United Kingdom was valued at $128,776 as compared with purchases of only $25,706 from the United States of America.”

    The report went on to mention that, the major destinations for Barbados’ exports after Canada and the UK, were other countries ($62,090), Dominica ($51,994), Trinidad ($49,365), British Guiana ($43,239), United States ($38,283), Grenada ($32,872), Holland ($32,545), St. Lucia ($29,172), Bahamas ($29,159) St. Kitts/Nevis ($27,349).

    I’m wondering what our export and import stats like look nowadays.

  13. @ Artax
    1. You are absolutely correct about moving up in the industry back in the day. I know guys from Brittons Hill who walked into hotels , not knowing how to mix a rum and coke but became bar managers etc.
    I know a guy who was a seaman and took out a correspondence course in hotel management while on the high seas. He became maitre’ d at a major hotel.
    2. You are doing something that most people refuse to do: research.
    The Miller family made hundreds of thousands exporting tamarind to India and elsewhere.
    We always had a good export trade but failure to develop is our problem. The folks on brass tacks today are licking the government for its foul ups. Ironically one caller has asked the government to apologise for its errors. Sounds familiar ?
    Prime Minister recently asked: Where the money going to come from. Sounds familiar?
    We are going around in circles and the old political blame is the biggest game in town.
    When I hear people saying tourism build Barbados I almost fall down in laughter.. This country was built on cheap .agricultural labour as sugar cane.
    Keep up the good work.You do this blog a great service.

  14. Remedy for the Agony
    Play this record once a day for the next 30 days as a sadhana practise while meditating contemplating and vibrating the universe and trust in the process of healing energy being brought into into the centre of your being, slowly breathing deeply through your nose and concentrating on your naval point which expands outwards when you breathe in filling up your belly and contracts towards your spine when you breathe out

    Tourist Season / Islands in the Sun

  15. Skinner
    The Davos people are hellbent on using the Covid19 crisis to radically reshape the entire economic system.

    It may not even be unwise to suggest that Covid19 was introduced to permit this project.

    So while the hoteliers continue to have us mired in backwardness the whole architecture is shifting under our feet. The government of Mugabe has no answer to any of this and can only go along with the tide. A tide ending where nobody knows.

    Recall, that politicians in many countries have recently been talking about concepts like “build back better” and so on. Treating a public heath pandemic almost with criminal intent.

    But that is just not mere talk. You should now expect that within 10 years 80 percent of jobs are to be gone. That the surveillance security global state will be dominant. That the relationship between individuals and the ownership of personal property to be redesigned. That no vehicles will be allowed on the roads except using renewable energy. And on and on.

    Amazon is reporting that within 10 years there will be no humans in their workplaces. This is scary. Government officials are talking about giving people salaries for staying at home.

    Barbados refused to allow any radical transformations from within. As expected, plans have been long in the pipeline to impose on them, and us, in the only way acceptable to the local elites.

    This is no less than disaster capitalism on steroids. Create a disaster and then roll the plan to fix it.

  16. Would that be kinda like creating the virus, unleashing it on the world then selling all the facemasks to use against it.

  17. @ David,

    an when de hurricane come !

    Covid in Barbados has gone from tropical depression to a cat one hurricane.

    Enjoyed listening to the female doctor on Brasstacks today.

    • @John A

      Should it matter if your contributions are sound? Station Manager Ellis confirmed she is a doctor. If for personal reasons (we do not know why) she prefers to be another caller what is the problem?

  18. Hotel owners are allowed to do whatever they want: They own the most important sector of the economy.

    Our government would be well advised to listen to the hotel owners. We should dispense entirely with the requirement of priority employment for locals. In a globalized economy, businessmen should always employ the lowest-cost workers. Since labor is far too expensive here in Barbados, it would make economic sense to hire only half-price foreigners.

    Barbadians make the same demands at work as workers in developed countries, but productivity lags 50-75% behind. To change that, we need to become competitive. That means devaluation, a wage cap for workers, extending working hours and the like. To sum up, we need to reduce labor protection and welfare levels by 50-75%.

    Make Barbados Great Again!

  19. ???

    The number of Covid – 19 Cases in BDS are profoundly moving to me, in comparison to our neighbors in the Eastern Caribbean, with exception to Martinique with 6000 cases.

    The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities of most Governments, individuals, societies and economies. A calling to rethink/restructure how we go forward economically and successfully.

    Our tourism basket of eggs has spilled. No secondary economic life line to rescue our GDP. Our sugar cane industry on life support, our produce crops never got started and our cotton crops was a joke.

    What are we waiting for???

    Germany is home to one of the largest medical cannabis markets outside North America. And unlike countries where medical patients have access to domestically grown marijuana.

    Marijuana is one of the fastest growing industries on the planet. Legal weed sales have more than tripled between 2014 and 2018, and they’re on track to roughly quadruple between the $10.9 billion generated in licensed cannabis stores 2018 and the projected $40.6 billion in worldwide licensed store sales by 2024.

    That’s according to the 2019 “State of the Legal Cannabis Markets” report released earlier this year by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.
    Yet, what you might find intriguing about this rapid growth is that it’ll wind up being attributed to just a selected few countries. Even though more than three dozen countries around the world have legalized medical marijuana, five countries are forecast by Arcview and BDS to account for $38.2 billion of this aforementioned $40.6 billion in licensed-store sales by 2024. Note, licensed-store sales doesn’t include general retailers selling cannabidiol (CBD) products, or cannabinoid-based drug developers selling pot-derived pharmaceutical.

    Canada 🇨🇦 has the largest Marijuana Companies that Legally Export Cannabis to the U.S.

    The above listed countries uses incubated nurseries and hydroponic methods to grow weed. Again, we have the perfect soil and climate to successfully produce a superior/potent pot naturally…Ask de Parrows or Rastas…

    Yes, We are a proud people…Take that to the World Bank/IMF or BCV.

    Is the church against cultivating medical weed???
    Ok, maybe BDS GOV can broker loans from our many churches across the island to pay our national debts..

    This crisis calls for strong responses based on solidarity, co-operation and responsibility going forward…

    When or if the tourism industry revamp itself. BDS will be ready to rollout the welcome carpet…

  20. TronJanuary 25, 2021 9:01 PM Barbadians make the same demands at work as workers in developed countries, but productivity lags 50-75% behind. To change that, we need to become competitive. That means devaluation, a wage cap for workers, extending working hours and the like. To sum up, we need to reduce labor protection and welfare levels by 50-75%.

    The first sentence is a lie. On the solution, i do not think reinventing the plantation is going to work. There is an alternative, but you will not like it.

  21. DavidJanuary 25, 2021 5:44 AM Go and ask WARU what the long term result of this will be.

    I cannot comment as I am not as insightful as WARU.

    • @Pacha

      Her concerned current infections numbers when the lag indicator/multiplying effect is factored means current state should be landed crisis which should trigger a lockdown for a period to immediately arrest infection rate. She also made the point protocol for public transportation has not been modified which maybe contributing. Her suggestion is to operationalze Mobil Testing.

  22. DavidJanuary 26, 2021 8:57 AM So a medical professional says that, I believe them.

    Some bajanisms that come to mind… oh xxxxe, ducks guts, oh RH.

  23. Peoples, A query on the $300Million dollar assistance hotels. Did the government ensure that any hotel receiving a subsidy commit to all room booking revenues coming into the Barbados monetary system via direct payments. In other words, that these room bookings were not made via foreign intermediary companies?

  24. The government is yet to discuss publicly the conditions under which the hotels got taxpayers’ money. I think it says a lot when the president said time was too short to audit the hotels. What more do you need?
    The president only listens to the so-called Social Partnership.

  25. @ Crusoe January 26, 2021 6:08 AM

    “ There is an alternative, but you will not like it.”

    What is your alternative solution?

  26. Tourism fears
    18% contraction of economy, visitor fall-off worry Governor
    A RETURN TO LOCKDOWN from next Wednesday will negatively impact the economy but Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes is more worried about the sharp decline in tourism arrivals that Barbados is again facing.
    Yesterday, Haynes reported that the economy contracted by a near 18 per cent last year. Gross domestic product contracted by an estimated $1.54 billion in 2020, meaning that Government is now managing an $8.85 billion economy.
    The chief cause of the economic decline and main reason for the Governor’s worry, was that tourism’s contribution to the economy fell by more than $1 billion when compared to 2019’s $1.41 billion activity.
    The Central Bank is now predicting that if all goes well over the next 12 months, the economy will expand by about five per cent.
    “Clearly anytime we lock down it’s going to have an impact on economic activity. At present this is intended to be for two weeks only, so I think we have to compare this to last year [when] we were locked down for two to three months.
    “So therefore if we are able to reopen after a two-week horizon the impact should not be too significant,” the economist said as he fielded questions from the media when the bank held a virtual review of the 2020 economy.
    Haynes, however, made it clear he was more concerned about the reduced tourism activity that Barbados was now experiencing as main markets including the United Kingdom, United States and Canada instituted new measures to control an upsurge of their COVID-19 cases.
    “Clearly a protracted lockdown will have a greater impact on economic activity and I think the focal point when you think of the Barbados economy is not simply the lockdown, it is we are tourism-based economy,” he noted.
    Significant decline
    “A lot of what we do is driven by what happens in tourism and as you would appreciate because of what is happening elsewhere, in addition to what is happening here. The level of tourism arrivals has already declined significantly for the first month [of 2021], so to the extent that we have a lower inflow of tourists we are going to have diminished economic activity,” he said.
    Haynes called 2020 “an especially difficult year for the Barbados economy as COVID-19 triggered global recessionary conditions and curtailed international travel”.
    “Depressed tourism activity, a dampening of consumption and delayed investment projects led to a sharp contraction in economic activity, elevated the level of unemployment, subdued Government’s revenues and amplified our economic vulnerabilities,” he reported.
    “However, the progress made since the start of the four-year economic adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund enabled us to adapt economic policy, quickly mobilise external funding, build unprecedented reserve buffers and close the financing gap that might otherwise derail our recovery efforts,” Haynes added.
    He also noted that hope for a strong partial recovery in 2021 “has been muted by the heightened uncertainty caused by the ongoing raging effects of the virus in our key tourism source markets, new country lockdowns and travel restrictions”.
    “The availability of vaccines is expected to slow the spread of the virus and facilitate a gradual return to more normal levels of global economic activity. However, the rollout across markets needs to accelerate so as to create conditions for the return to a growth-oriented adjustment path,” he suggested.
    With the tourism slump, the chief cause of Barbados’ 2020 economic decline, this was illustrated by Central Bank data which showed that even though there was a modest improvement visitor in arrivals during the fourth quarter as airlift improved and more hotels reopened after their closure in April, “a 90 per cent fall in long-stay visitor arrivals over the last three quarters reduced arrivals by 71 per cent for the year”. The cruise sector was also depressed and passenger arrivals were also lower by 64 per cent.
    The economy also suffered because of “weaker than anticipated investment and reduced consumption arising from lower employment incomes and increased uncertainty”.

    Source: Nation

  27. The majority of countries are now doing lockdowns from international travel. The UK and US are now joining the quarantine club, after a year of fighting it.

    May not work in the USA, due to the large number of people who travel interstate, even ones who are not doing it for work. They are particularly hard ears.

    But with the virus out of control in Barbados’s main visitor markets, and the vaccine delays, there is no way that tourism will return in any marked way in 2021 for sure, and probably not into mid 2022.

    To boost the economy, Barbados should focus on, as others say, diversification and infrastructure improvement.

    Prepare for the open up in October 2022 by improving the hotel plant and island infrastructure.

    On the hotel fixtures and fittings, furniture should be mostly locally made. Instead of sending that money out of the country. Build back the local furniture industry, the upholstery industry and the craftsmen.

    The government can look at providing training subsidies for skilled workers, carpenters, tailors and seamstresses, agriculture workers, which is a skill too, especially with modern techniques.

    Not just this import furniture and linen thing. All that does is put money in the hands of foreign manufacturing and retailers.

    On manufacturing, Collins led the way long ago in making generic products. Encourage diversified production for a wider range of medications, especially those that are used for NCD’s that Barbados spends so much on, with a view to exports to Caricom.

    Work with Cuba on medical advancements.

    In this time, over the next three to five years, local production is more important than ever.

    Not this import and sell nonsense.

  28. @ Crusoe

    This government should employ you as one of its consultants. The problem is that I cannot imagine Ms Mottley taking advice from you.
    All the skills you talk about and more can be part of the reskilling of the nation. But there is a blind spot. We have Samuel Jackman, which is supposed to train young people in, among others things, building trades.
    Yet for years we have the Eyrie great building badly in need of refurbishment and being totally ignored. It was an ideal opportunity for young men and women to practice their skills on an actual building. The same with Culloden Farm.

  29. Govt first and foremost concern is paying down debt and keeping reserves in good standing
    Now that COVID has put the country in a tailspin govt would find it hard to pursue any other alternative plan for the economy right now
    Must also remember that govt coming into office never gave any details of plans on hand to improve the economy
    Like all other previous administration the one nest basket govt depended on

  30. Hal AustinJanuary 28, 2021 6:35 AM

    As you mention, it is hurtful to see true classic building in disrepair, such as Culloden Farm. That is a truly historic site, as the Eyrie. But many more. Yes, those could even now be used to build the skills of the youth. Masonry, carpentry, electrical.

    How about the homes of poor old people, who cannot afford a builder? Those are skill practice sites too. Get the materials from Rotary and such and SJP provide technical overview and skill program. Similar to Homes for Humanity.

    angela coxJanuary 28, 2021 6:46 AM

    The government needs to get the economy driving and thus large programs are necessary to do so. One of the ways to reduce debt to GDP is to increase GDP, which some have prior used sleight of hand to do, without really considering the long term implications of the incentives used to do so.

    Growth is necessary, but at a time like this, economic activity is necessary, even without growth. With tourism effectively collapsed until October 2022, these programs are needed to fill the void, but should be done in a way that looks to the future.

  31. I read today of another tourism consultation. My experience has been these consultations usually have the same type of people attending, the same ideas bought up, and the same conclusions. It is like yes committees over and over again. I wonder if I would see a Marla Dukharan at one of these consultations. I would like us to examine serious questions like (1) our tourism leakage rate if it is high or low and how it affects our tourism performance, (2) our tourism marketing, is it scientific or just public relations attempts, (3) does our tourism research cover the necessary areas or just a few? There are more questions but I believe some have already gotten my drift and hence my question of if these consultations will be different from those of the past and really truly examine our tourism.

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