Missing data

Hoteliers react to Govt’s latest tourism figures

Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) president Sunil Chatrani is not entirely flattered by recent long-stay tourist arrival figures, suggesting pertinent data that could be of benefit to hotel operators was missing.

Last week, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) officials reported that between January and March, the island had recorded a total of 171,471 long stay arrivals, a 15.1 per cent increase over the corresponding period for last year and the highest first quarter increase on record in 25 years.

The average length of time on the island per long stay visitor was not given, except for majority of the 217,139 cruise visitors for the period under review who had an average stay of between seven and 10 days.

The average tourist spend also was not given.

Delivering his report at the BHTA’s annual general meeting yesterday, Chatrani said while he agreed the numbers were up, the information did not go far enough.

BHTA President Sunil Chatrani
BHTA President Sunil Chatrani

“We are all sitting here today and querying the arrival statistics that are being reported. I think that we can all agree that the numbers are better but to what extent, it is questionable. This confusion only exists because of the lack of information. The more useful data are room nights and rates,” said Chatrani.

“The constitutional change requires us to register with STR (Smith Travel Research) and provide relevant data that will allow us to get more meaningful information,” the BHTA president pointed out. “It was agreed that the BHTA Tourism Fund would pay the subscriptions dues for the first year for all hotels so that we can see the benefit of this reporting.”

Chatrani went on: “If we had this type of information at hand today, we would know the level of increased room nights and overall achieved room. We would not be here questioning numbers”.

He said the BHTA was in the final stages of negotiating a contract with STR, a global provider of information services, research and competitive benchmarking to the hotel industry. This, he added, would make the BHTA the first association to register its entire membership.

“Remember, the more data we have the more useful the information becomes,” said Chatrani.

“With the increased demand that we are now experiencing and improvement in the quality of our room stock, we should see improved rates across the board. But until we start measuring data properly, we will continue to guess how we are doing and will never optimize our true potential,” he said.

5 Responses to Missing data

  1. Patrick Blackman June 5, 2015 at 2:09 am

    What a bunch of jokers, you now realize this, and government supporting these idiots, no wonder the industry is in a mess. I said about two days ago, within three months we will hear how bad the season was…

  2. seagul June 5, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Each year I return home I see the hoteliers and sail club communities living in more luxus while the vendors and handicraft people barely eke out. People in assisting supermarkets and shops are crying out more as well. It’s like two different worlds.

  3. Patrick Blackman June 5, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Mr. Chatrani, “information” is not very useful, what you need is “actionable intelligence” sir, that makes the difference. You can have all the information you want, if you cannot convert that into dynamic analytics to guide your strategy, you could as well hit the delete key.

  4. Mac10 June 5, 2015 at 10:09 am

    They do not want you to have the figures as they know the total spend is significantly down due to the proliferation of all inclusives & the long stay criteria is any one staying longer than 24hrs which is nonsense, any one on a delay LIAT flight could be classed as long stay.

    The figures are incorrect but they don’t want you know just how incorrect they are!!!

  5. Alex3 June 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I guess I am a long stay visitor these days as I stay for 5 weeks as do other tenants in the apartment I rent.
    Friends I know stay even longer.
    Are we included in this conversation?
    I spend approximately $4500 BDS a week when I stay for rent, groceries, alcohol, hair cuts, dinner out and taxis and Air Canada ponies up some of my air fare to the government. Does this count as tourism?
    One of the things I believe Barbados must do is to change its business model.
    Gone are the days of it being an elitist destination of the rich and famous but in many quarters of the industry you get this vibe and pricing.
    The fact is many destinations can give the same great experience and do it for a lot less.


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