Barbados tourism body launches UK PR agency review

Barbados Tourism Marketing (BTM) has begun a periodic review of its PR agency of record in the UK, PRWeek can reveal.

Essence Communications has been the PR agency partner of BTM since April 2017.

In an RFP document seen by PRWeek, BTM said it is seeking to move away from the "everyday perception of sea, sun and sand and to differentiate Barbados from other competitive island destinations".  

"We see our agency as a true business partner and wish to work with someone who can add value, not only through promotions and public relations, but across our entire marketing and sales enterprise," the request for proposal said.

With an annual budget of £200,000, the tourism body wants an agency partner to bring "new and dynamic creative to the Barbados message", to reach new customers and increase customer loyalty among current visitors and travel trade to the Caribbean island.

The brief also includes adding "guerilla marketing activities and other buzz builders" and helping the tourism body create and market product packages in a timely and proactive fashion to minimise seasonality.

Agencies that currently serve tourism interests for other Caribbean Islands, Mauritius, the Maldives, other Indian and Pacific Ocean islands will be considered in conflict of the brief. The BTI also considers agencies that serve the cruise industry in the Caribbean, Disney and Las Vegas to be in competitive conflict.

Barbados is the eastern-most Caribbean island, with a population of 275,000. Tourism is the major industry of Barbados, with a fusion of African and West Indian cultures deeply rooted in the cultivation of sugar cane.

Expressions of interest are being sought until 15 March 2019, with finalists selected a week later. Pitching is due to begin on 10 April, with the winner to be chosen in May.

More details can be obtained by contacting BTMI UK director Cheryl Carter.

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