Bermuda Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer Bill Hanbury makes a lot of sense in today’s Royal Gazette on how the BTA is marketing Bermuda.
Devoting more resources to digital marketing is quite right although in some ways it is much more challenging than the old model where you couldn’t go wrong if you bought ads in the NYT Sunday travel section, a few upmarket magazines and the metro TV stations on the US East Coast. These days, you have to place advertising and marketing efforts on multiple websites and digital channels, even though the cost per placement is vastly lower. Against that, you can target your specific demographics much more efficiently.
Two recent articles in The Economist highlight this pretty well. The first, which looks at the prospects for the behemoth that is Amazon, is a good reminder of the genius of the Internet for tracking behavior in order to sell stuff to people. The same applies for Bermuda – you just need the right algorithm.
The second article fortifies the move to online. Forty five percent of travel in the US and Europe is now booked online – so you have to fish where the fish are.
Hanbury has also got two other things right.
The first follows the fish where the fish are theory too. He says Bermuda needs to focus its marketing on the East Coast and in other traditional markets. That does not mean other markets should be ignored – but you can spend a lot of money for very little result (we have proven it time and time again) – so marketing and PR should be used wisely and carefully.
Second, it’s a relief to hear that the BTA will focus on existing events to draw visitors rather than invent new ones. If the right ones are nurtured, they will generate plenty of activity – the Newport Race this week is an excellent example.
Bermuda’s biggest challenge is to improve the product. We need to provide better service and value for money across the board and we need to increase available activities.