Barbados Tourism: Changing Seasonal Patterns

As a tourism-dependent country, understanding the demand for the Barbados tourism product is key to developing strategies to keep the industry vibrant. One aspect of that demand is seasonal patterns, i.e. when tourists visit Barbados.

If you take a poll and asked random people on the streets of Barbados which months tourists visit, they will probably make fairly accurate guesses. After all, Barbados is a small country and you definitely notice when there are more tourists on the island. But when you run a tourism-dependent business or you are a national tourism planner, even fairly accurate guessing can cost you millions of dollars.

For example, suppose you believe that there is an increase in tourists between December and April so you charge your highest rates during that period and drop them thereafter. Wouldn’t it pain you to know that more tourists are actually coming in November than in December and you were potentially losing out on all of that income? Or you work at the Barbados Tourism Authority and you timed your marketing campaign to ensure that potential tourists considering a trip in December were exposed to ads for Barbados, only to find out that they have already booked because they prefer to travel in November. And let’s not even consider the potential disaster of having all of the country’s attractions in renovation mode because you assumed that the country was in an off-peak period.

Seasonality matters. And it changes. But when last have we checked? Furthermore, have we ever checked by market? Suppose all of the British tourists are coming in December, all of the Americans in January and all of the Canadians in February? The total would reflect the expected pattern, but the source market behaviour would be very different.

So, in our typical curious fashion, AE had a look at seasonality patterns for Barbados. We found that for the four main source markets – UK, USA, Canada and CARICOM – there have been changes in seasonal patterns over the last 33 years. These changes would have implications for the timing of major expenditure such as marketing, staff count and renovations.

To find out more about how seasonal patterns have changed, click here.

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