The BTA director of corporate comms Avril Byer said that a shortlist of ‘three or four’ agencies was likely to be drawn up, with the decision as to which agency to hire being made by the BTA’s national marketing committee.
US vice-president marketing and sales (North America) Bill Silvermintz and the BTA president Oliver Jordan are two of those co-ordinating the appointment.
The BTA has three offices in the US, which are located in New York, California and Florida.
The organisation also has a Canadian office in Toronto, Ontario.
The pitch process has been triggered by the decision of seven-year incumbent agency Ruder Finn to resign the account after it won a reportedly more lucrative remit to promote Jamaica in the US.
Ruder Finn’s New York-based executive vice-president Gail Moaney, who is also director of the travel and tourism team, confirmed to PRWeek that the account with a ‘competing Caribbean destination’ had posed a conflict of interest.
The agency has worked for the BTA both on the island itself and throughout the US and Canada since 1996.
Moaney said that past work has included ‘reputation management’, trade media relations, consumer and trade promotions, events, community relations, media training and crisis comms.
In the UK and Ireland the BTA retains Manning Selvage & Lee, whose account team reports to both Jordan and vice-president marketing and sales UK and Ireland Petra Roach.
MS&L has promoted Barbados in the UK since August 1994, and it is understood that its relationship with the BTA will be unaffected by a change of agency in the US.