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Redefining product

Gercine Carter

Redefining product

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With a new boss at the helm it will not be business as usual for the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), judging from the enunciated vision of recently appointed BTA?chairman Adrian Elcock.
In a recent interview, Elcock told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, “I think the Barbadian product needs to be more clearly defined . . . it needs to be funnelled into an overall strategic plan.”
He added, “When I was asked to do the job and I thought about it, one of the things that always bothered me has been the whole question of what exactly are we selling as the brand Barbados . . . . I believe that we have not done a good job of communicating with Barbadians about what exactly is the product we are selling . . . why do people come here and how we can make that correlation a little bit stronger.”
He said his “overarching vision” therefore would be “to clearly define the product we are selling to all of our publics – including everyday Barbadians, our visitors and the entire Babadian community in the Diaspora.”
Elcock suggested the BTA itself needed to have its own strategic vision.
“I think we have to employ the new modalities. I think the new media have to be an immediate platform of what we do. Right now our presence is bad.”
Part of Elcock’s vision is to engage people working at all levels in the tourism industry in selling the Barbados product.
“I want to make each and every one of our citizens our own brand ambasador after I have clearly defined what it is we are selling.”
While questioning the state of Barbados’ hotels, the BTA chairman referred to an ongoing debate about whether the product was “up to speed”.
“I think there needs to be some mechanism working with the partners at the BHTA to have some standardisation of hotels and I think to put teeth into it, we need to tie that into the quality assurance function of the BTA.”
He said more hotel properties were “under stress” and suggested Barbados was in “serious danger of losing rooms”.
The organisational infrastructure at the BTA is also to be examined. Elcock said “the building is tired. I think there are challenges within the work environment. I think we need to find an accommodation befitting the people who are communicating with our largest industry partners.
His dream is for “a prominent building that could be an interactive building with the publics that we serve” . . . a building that proclaims “this is the home of Barbados’ tourism”.