UNIQUE PROPERTY OWNERS THE FOCUS OF MARKETING MEETING ORGANIZED BY THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM
Friday 1st October 2010
Members of the Unique Properties grouping consisting of properties built under the Cricket World Cup Incentives Act were yesterday (Wednesday) the focus of a marketing presentation delivered by Mr. John Arindell, Managing Director of the Jolly Beach Hotel and Mrs. Patrice Christian-Simon, Director of marketing and promotions and the aforementioned property.
Mr. Arindell whose expertise spans some 40 years within the industry, sought to highlight the various factors that would impact positively on the profitability and sustainability of these properties. He emphasized that in today’s environment these small properties cannot use the same distribution channels for marketing as those used by the larger more established properties e.i travel agents and tour operators.
Signaling the importance of airlift to stay-over visitor arrivals, Arindell pointed the property owners in the direction of key existing and new and emerging target markets.
The 4 P’s of Marketing was then extensively defined “Price, Product, Place and Promotions”, with Mr. Arindell dealing more specifically with Price and Product while Mrs. Simon dealt with Place and Promotions.
“This is the most important part…to get the product right! You must have international standards”, Arindell stated.
In quoting Mr. Butch Stuart of Sandals fame the Jolly Beach Director reiterated that “you have to get the product right and then let the world know about it and this where promotions come in.”
In speaking about marketing and promotions, Mrs. Patrice Christian Simon stated that the unique property owners should focus on online marketing and direct selling. Properties she said should seek absolute exposure, creating master websites and booking engines advertised via portals such as Antigua nice, Search Antigua, and The official website of the Ministry of Tourism.
Members were encouraged to join trip advisor whose prominent feature is the guest review card for guest comments which could create viral sales. The role of the social media such as Face Book and YouTube was also emphasized.
“Face book offers a personal connection to the guests…it allows prospective guest to have an opportunity to view the property or events on the property in real time and updates are done instantaneously, because it gives direct contact and it provides cheap advertising,” said Mrs. Simon.
All in all, the presentations were very well received and the property owners sought additional information on online tour operators regionally and internationally such as Expedia, Orbitz, Going Places and the likes.
Unique Properties Coordinator Mrs. Dulcie Looby-Greene states that already two other sessions have been booked with key representatives of the hotel industry from Antigua and Barbados. The project is geared towards enhancing the capacity of small property owners in the areas of tourism and hospitality management and marketing as well as to foster greater exchange of ideas among themselves to strengthen their own ability to compete in this hostile global environment.
It is part of the Ministry’s policy to continue to empower the owners of small tourism enterprises, concluded Mrs. Dulcie Looby-Greene.
All small hotel owners are invited to partake in these sessions once they are announced in the future.
Wednesday night’s session was hosted at the Villas at Sunset Lane located in Paradise View, one of the 51 Unique Properties of Antigua and Barbuda.