This is such an applaudable initiative by Barbados! First the Virgin buses, now this in the last few weeks.
I will love to learn of similar outputs from SVG. Maybe they exist, maybe they don’t. If they do, congratulations to the hardworking persons in the various ministries and entities involved. I daresay though that there seems to be an opportunity to improve publicity of more tangible outputs.
If such outputs do not exist, then time to step up the game SVG and I’ve got some suggestions (gratis)!
Barbados has quite a mature tourism market but low hanging cherries of success stories such as the one in the article could make one wonder whether or not SVG has a deep understanding of the landscape of our tourism product.
Further, how we are using this knowledge to organize strategy and consequent action.
Every one in the world can be considered a potential tourist and we can cast a wide net into the ocean with the aim of catching 100 parrot fishes.
This will be most unproductive! Humans have varied attitudes and lifestyles, which predispose us to behave in certain ways.
How do we as a nation uncover the differentiated tourism segments and increase visitors to our country in a competitive landscape based on attitudes, values, and even behaviors.
I hereby share the following ideas/ considerations based on observation of the tourism product of SVG and my marketing experience for what it is worth.
My suggestions by no means seek to undermine or discount ongoing work that may already be aligned and there may be numerous factors to be considered of which I am not aware. However, knowledge is power and this may offer some new insights to decision makers and leaders in the sector as we are all in this nation-building together:
1. Tourist visualization and segmentation:
In SVG- “Who are our visitors (real and potential)?”
We should expand our understanding of visitors to SVG and map them. This is often referred to as visualization and segmentation. Barbados clearly knows its target audience and so does Dominica. Do we?
Have we done rich profiling of our visitors where we identified distinct segments and gathered rich profiling details. Also, what information do we have of their “consumption” behavior? (consider SVG tourism product as a product being consumed). In other words what do they like and dislike about SVG as a tourist destination.
2. Needs states analysis:
“What do our tourists want?”
Once we know their behavior and attitudes, and their values, we should go to the next step to understand why they would want to visit SVG. We need to understand the needs of our tourists by conducting what is called need state profiling.
This is where we provide greater clarity on the reason why persons should visit SVG. Note I used singular tense because when I say clarity I do not mean those wonderful nostalgic videos that float around social media ever so often with numerous reasons to choose SVG.
I mean, what is our single differentiation point that we can consistently communicate to attract tourists? Immediate examples of differentiation by other islands that come to mind are:
Barbados – sun and sea
St.Lucia – honeymoon
Dominica – nature isle
Grenada – spice and jab
What is SVG’s ? I am a Vincentian and unfortunately it is not clear to me and it is seemingly the same for many others. Many features of SVG come to mind but it is difficult to pinpoint a single sellable differentiation point.
3. Size and volume analysis
Once we know what we are offering, we need to establish how many persons might be interested in it globally. In other words “What is the size of the prize?”
We conduct what is called a volumetric analysis. This is basically understanding the various tourism categories and the volume potential matching our needstate findings by intersection to map the landscape and opportunities for us.
Volumetric analysis will help us to uncover and prioritize opportunities for growth . It may even force us to think outside of the box, evolve, open our frame of reference for source of visitors.
4. Targeting Strategy & Opportunity Identification
Last but not least “Where do we play and what do we do to win?” This is the process where we clearly define spaces for SVG as a tourism product, identify opportunities and focus our resources on that.
To be useful, the segment we choose to target must be:
Note that we may find that our target exist at different levels. It can be global, niche, regional and even local.
There are many other considerations at play but ultimately by using such a strategy we as a nation can with some splashes of creativity better understand our visitors and continue to grow our tourism sector year after year.
The views expressed are not those of ANN but of the writer,please send all opinion piece to [email protected]