Data is king and informs any marketing strategies we employ’ says Dr. Jens Thraenhart, CEO at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Dr. Jens Thraenhart
Dr. Jens Thraenhart, CEO at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. talks about highlighting small businesses and local entrepreneurs, targeting our audiences digitally. Read on to know unique initiatives in tourism industry.



Most recently it is clear that the world is hungry for engaging, authentic and inspiring content, mostly digital.

Media7: What is Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.'s mission? What impact would you expect to see in the tourism industry?
Dr. Jens Thraenhart: The ensuing pandemic has made it clear that a sustainable tourism model is the best option for Barbados’ tourism industry. Visit Barbados has the goal of creating this sustainable model. To achieve this, we have begun highlighting small businesses and local entrepreneurs to ensure that every person and business works to is able to partake in and benefit from the tourism industry. Barbados is so much more than sun, sea and sand, and we aim to focus on a number of the unique initiatives happening on the island, those special secrets that may not be so obvious, to ensure that we are driving visitors to those truly exceptional Barbadian experiences. To do this, we aim to develop and apply exceptional marketing capabilities in the process of telling the authentic brand and story of Destination Barbados. One of the things we would like to see in the tourism industry is the creation and establishment of the ‘Bajan Experiences Collections’. This is the bringing together and unification of local businesses and promoting them under one collection, digitally.


M7: What marketing channels do you employ, and which do you believe are the most promising in light of your target audience?
JT:
As a tourism organisation that has been around for 64 years, we have seen the development of marketing channels over time. Most recently it is clear that the world is hungry for engaging, authentic and inspiring content, mostly digital. Through targeting our audiences digitally, we are also able to collect data and this helps us to understand our audience, and build relationships, which in turn helps us choose the most effective way to market ourselves to the right people.

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Tourism is the “First Date” for Economic Development.



M7: Which strategies do you count on to promoting Barbados as a sustainable tourism destination and the ultimate Caribbean vacation island?
JT:
  We recently held a national Stakeholder Forum to launch our sustainability efforts, which was very well received, and featured speakers including Her Excellency, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary with Responsibility for Climate Change, Small Island Developing States and Law of the Sea, Senator Elizabeth Thompson; Dr. Megan Epler-Wood, Founder of STAMP Program, Cornell University and Fmr. Professor of Sustainability, Harvard University; Jeremy Sampson, CEO of Travel Foundation; and Paloma Zapata, Tourism Economics consultant for the World Bank and the CEO of Sustainable Travel International. The Forum was followed by Climate Action Workshops in partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI), and in which we brought local stakeholders together to strategize meaningful ways to develop a sustainable tourism for Barbados. STI is a reputable nonprofit organisation that has supported more than 100 destinations in mitigating their carbon footprint, and will assist us in developing a customized carbon calculator for visitors and businesses. Additionally, our organisation will have a dedicated sustainability department and we have started the process of searching for a Sustainability Manager to head up that department. This illustrates our commitment to this cause.


M7: What marketing capabilities facilitate the process of telling the authentic brand story of Destination Barbados?
JT: To tell the authentic story of Destination Barbados, we have found that nothing resonates better than hearing it directly from the locals – Bajans. Organic creation of video content has been one of the most promising tools used to help tell the story of Barbados. Through this organic story-telling, visitors are able to see Destination Barbados through the eyes of the local and to us. We want to encourage more of that in a more purposeful way by incentivizing more Bajans – individuals and businesses – to share their stories online, which we can collate and share with the world. This is the most dependable, accurate and genuine way of showcasing the island.

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Tourism Developments provide attractions and facilities for residents to enjoy.



M7: What marketing capabilities facilitate the process of telling the authentic brand story of Destination Barbados?
JT:
To tell the authentic story of Destination Barbados, we have found that nothing resonates better than hearing it directly from the locals – Bajans. Organic creation of video content has been one of the most promising tools used to help tell the story of Barbados. Through this organic story-telling, visitors are able to see Destination Barbados through the eyes of the local and to us. We want to encourage more of that in a more purposeful way by incentivizing more Bajans – individuals and businesses – to share their stories online, which we can collate and share with the world. This is the most dependable, accurate and genuine way of showcasing the island.


M7: What exceptional tools do you employ for highly targeted marketing efforts?
JT:
Data is king and informs any marketing strategies we employ. Beyond data collection from our airport immigration form and segmentation analysis to assist the organisation in identifying key markets to target, we have also engaged companies whose expertise lies in sentiment analysis. Companies such as TSI assist us in staying on the pulse of how our programmes are performing, as well as what’s trending as it relates to Barbados. Going forward, all of our marketing programmes will integrate a data component as we focus on capturing zero party data to inform future marketing strategies. This will allow us to speak directly and engagingly to our visitors.


M7: With more than two decades of experience in hospitality industry, what advice would you like to give our readers?
JT: Tourism is in an exciting transformation, where consumers are more focused to choose authentic experiences and purposeful trips. The COVID-19 pandemic has showed us clearly that no other industry touches as many facets of a community as Travel and Tourism. Indeed, one could make a case that Tourism is the ultimate hori- zontal industry...one that touches every other industry in the community. There is something magical about an industry that works on so many different levels:

• Tourism infuses new money into a community’s economy.
• Tourism introduces prospective residents and investors to a community or region (indeed, Tourism is the ��First Date” for Economic Development).
• Tourism is the face that we show the rest of the world.
• Tourism Developments provide attractions and facilities for residents to enjoy.
• Tourism-generated taxes help keep resident-paid property taxes lower.
For a small island development state such as Barbados, this might be even more extreme than in other destination. So, the dependency on tourism gives us working in travel and tourism a big responsibility. This makes a critically important to engage all stakeholders to encourage collaboration and contribution. Implementing a bottom-up community-driven approach is the only way to make sure that a destination can thrive, and everybody from residents, visitors, and businesses feel included and part of the solution.

ABOUT BARBADOS TOURISM MARKETING INC.

The island of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.offers a unique Caribbean experience steeped in rich history and colourful culture, and rooted in remarkable landscapes. Barbados is the home of two of the three remaining Jacobean Mansions left in the Western hemisphere, as well as fully functional rum distilleries. In fact, this island is known as the birthplace of rum, commercially producing and bottling the spirit since the 1700s. Each year, Barbados hosts several world-class events including the annual Barbados Food and Rum Festival; the annual Barbados Reggae Festival; and the annual Crop Over Festival, where celebrities such as Lewis Hamilton and its very own Rihanna are often spotted. Accommodations are wide and varied, ranging from picturesque plantation houses and villas to quaint bed and breakfast gems; prestigious international chains; and award-winning five-diamond resorts. In 2018, Barbados’ accommodation sector captured 13 awards in the Top Hotels Overall, Luxury, All-Inclusive, Small, Best Service, Bargain, and Romance categories of the ‘Traveler’s Choice Awards’. And getting to paradise is a breeze: the Grantley Adams International Airport offers plenty non-stop and direct services from a growing number of U.S., U.K., Canadian, Caribbean, European, and Latin American gateways, making Barbados the true gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.

Visit Barbados and experience why for two years in a row it won the prestigious Star Winter Sun Destination Award at the ‘Travel Bulletin Star Awards’ in 2017 and 2018. For more information on travel to Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org, follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VisitBarbados, and via Twitter @Barbados.

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Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) functions are to promote, assist and facilitate the efficient development of tourism; to design and implement suitable marketing strategies for the effective promotion of the tourism industry; to make provision for adequate and suitable air and sea passenge...

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