“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half”.When Wanamaker made this statement, he didn't take into account the cash blown by Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) and other tourism adjuncts that use "other people's money" on regional marketing campaigns where it would be a miracle if up to 50 percent actually hit the target.
While groupings of tourism business owners with common marketing goals can produce positive outcomes, as soon as public money is added to the mix, you start empire-building a non-producing structure that requires a CEO, marketing manager, a team of administration staff and buildings to house them all in.
While RTOs bleed money at the front-office by operating loss-producing i-Sites, the back-office earnestly busy themselves in an endless series of meetings and focus groups dreaming up a catchy tagline for the next generic marketing campaign. In some provincial areas it's not uncommon for more money to flow through the RTO than the private tourism businesses they allegedly support.
One recent example of wasting valuable resource is the annual tradition of RTO representatives trooping off to TRENZ where they gorge themselves on sausage rolls, attend a series of circular masterbatery meetings with other non-producers and provide filler appointments for jaded overseas buyers.
No one has had the courage to tell RTOs that TRENZ should be a meeting place for private tourism businesses that actually have products and services to sell to overseas buyers. RTOs have somehow convinced themselves that they can earn a commission from a sunset.
When it comes to tourism promotion, maybe Barbados have got it right? They've appeared to have cut out the middle-man by simply dishing-out "free" money directly to tourists...
"HOW IS this for an incentive?
The Barbados will reward visitors by giving them hundreds of dollars as part of a plan to boost tourism.
The cash incentives are part of an extraordinary new $11 million initiative announced by the country's tourism minister Richard Sealy.
The "Barbados Island Inclusive Package" includes advertising and cash incentives for tourists.
Visitors will receive "free spending money" based on their length of stay. Guests who stay five nights will get $US150 ($145) per person, and on stays of seven nights or more the reward will increase to $193 per person (with a maximum of two people per room).Source: Click HERE
UK and European tourists visiting for up to seven days will get a $580 voucher.
Vouchers are distributed to guests when they check-in to their hotels, and most of the properties on the island will be participating.
Mr Sealy said he expected the program to lure an extra 15,000 tourists.
The offer is available for travel between May 1 to December 21 this year, but trips must be booked by June 22".