|Top News > local|
Pay closer attention to marketing strategies, tourism stakeholders told
By RuthMoisa Alleyne
Local hotel and tourism business practitioners have been encouraged to measure the performance of their marketing strategies so that they know, prove and quantify what specifically is working for them.
Some of the issues discussed by John Fareed as he presented the feature address at the Third Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association held last week, were marketing perceptions and strategies, and trends in the global industry. During the lively and interactive session, Fareed, Hospitality Consultant and Principal of John Fareed Hospitality Consulting, said that despite the amount of times the return on marketing investments has been proven, decision makers saw it as an expense. He attributed this to the fact that marketing activities were never measured. “We don’t do a good job, in the hospitality and tourism industry…[even the largest of resorts can] have large marketing budgets and at the end of the year cannot tell you what worked”, he stated, adding that in this sector we “seemed not to care about specific measurements”.
Other areas he touched on were factors which contributed to people perception of the value of Barbados, noting that the fact that such a major airline as Delta did not fly to Barbados was something which we needed looking into.
“Your website … does it portray the value that is here, your social media channels … your [public relations]? Are you winning the kind of placements that portray the value that’s here?” Fareed went on ask. The consultant said that too many persons did not use their websites or social media channels as strategic marketing tools, but simply “online versions” of their existing brochures. As a result, many of them later complained that the tools were a waste of time, they were not getting any visitors and they still had to contend with the monthly service fees. “There was no campaign in it, no thought process, simply a brochure now online, that was expected to magically do things,” he explained.
Even with social media, though they are free to set up, it still calls for resources. “[you still have to factor in] who is going to manage all these tweets … but the people that are taking [on social media in a strategic way] are kicking butt. There are so many things you could do [and] if you do nothing else but advertise on social media, I am so proud of you because that is the next thing that is going to [have significant returns] in our industry.”
Local hoteliers and tourism business persons were also encouraged to take greater interest in getting information from tourists on their departure and suggested the airport departure lounge as a suitable place to do so. He argued that Barbados was behind in when it came to wi-fi access trends, adding that there were not enough power plugs in hotel rooms and that charging persons [so much money] per IP address, per night, was “way not cool”, compared to what was happening in the rest of the world, and taking into consideration the likelihood of each family member having their own devices.