Traditional advertising won’t save tourism

One of the greatest problems we face today is that the industry has changed greatly and we haven’t changed with it.  You can see it in the Tourism Authority’s strategy of throwing millions at a website as well as in Shadow Tourism Minister Zane Desilva’s commentary regarding the website investment:

“Bermuda commercials and promotional material are virtually nonexistent in the international arena, yet the BTA has spent millions of dollars building a website that has yet to go live.”

It is then suggested

Mr DeSilva said the next PLP government would increase the advertising budget as part of its tourism plan, as well as strike advertising agreements with the major broadcasting networks in North America, the UK and Europe to build on current markets and increase exposure to new markets.

There is an overhanging fallacy that if you simply throw more money at marketing and advertising that everything will improve.  It not only hasn’t worked every time we’ve tried it since the 80s, it gets increasingly less effective each time we do.

Buying advertising on TV, sponsoring events and the like doesn’t yield the kind of results it once did because the market and industry has changed drastically.  We live in the age of the internet and social media.  Things are very different now than they were 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 1 year ago.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor and individual websites count for just as much if not more than traditional outlets like tv, radio and sponsoring events.   Tourism marketing needs a much broader focus that empowers all tourism participants to market and promote Bermuda, not simply a singular body with a big budget that throws money at major broadcasting networks or websites.