BERMUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY 2014 ANNUAL REPORT

Sales & Marketing Division

This island is incredibly rich with stunning settings, authentic experiences and great storytellers – our marketing strategy is truly inspired by these elements.

Overview

The Sales & Marketing Division focuses on Bermuda’s sales and marketing activities, to raise awareness of and demand for Bermuda as a destination. It is the guardian and messenger of the Bermuda brand. The sales and marketing division also works to raise hotel occupancies and overall tourism revenue, reduce seasonality and thus improve employment in the industry. Efforts are focused in geographical areas with the most return on investment, and where airlift exists. This division looks for the most cost effective and efficient means to deliver Bermuda’s brand message to the identified markets, encouraging them to travel to Bermuda.

Partner Marketing

From the outset, the Sales & Marketing division worked on creating new partner marketing guidelines for airlines, tour operators and media partners, resulting in matching funds to leverage BTA’s investment. The new partnerships were rolled out during the course of the year, comprising the following guidelines: For each $1 invested by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the BTA requests matching funds from the partner, which can be a combination of cash or “in-kind” services. The goals of these partnerships are:

  • maximise demand for travel to Bermuda, thereby creating incremental business for our partners and the island
  • increase air arrivals and bookings to Bermuda
  • maximise revenue for Bermuda and its partners by selling experience and service first
  • to generate inquiries and opt-ins for Bermuda’s database for future communication

 

Business Development:Meeting Planners, Tour Operators and Travel Agents

Torchbearers
The Torchbearers Partnership was co-hosted on-island from 22-25 August, 2014. Torchbearer is a unique educational marketplace where the attendee lives the incentive experience of the host destination. Monaco, Switzerland, UK and Ireland DMOs hosted their final Torchbearers at Fairmont Southampton with more than 100 delegates, half of whom were senior employees of North America’s most qualified incentive and meeting planning companies, as well as select corporate end users who have the ability to influence site selection with corporate clients.

The BTA sponsored the destination experiences and activities, including an evening function at the Royal Naval Dockyard, while our on-island partners demonstrated how flexible the destination can be when faced with challenges. A full sit-down formal dinner was de-constructed into a fun interactive food experience at Commissioner’s House when power was lost at the original venue the night before.

As a result of this, to date, two incentive clients have signed contracts for a 2015 post event, while we continue to follow up with all delegates for future programmes.

ASTA
The BTA hosted the ASTA Partnership from 13-21  September, 2014. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is the world’s largest association of travel professionals, with over 250 members including travel agents and the companies whose products they sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals, etc. 300 members and partners of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for a general session presentation and tradeshow.

Approximately 300 members and partners participated in a tradeshow held at the Royal Naval Dockyard, while a general session presentation was held aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Breakaway.  More than 30 attendees participated on hotel site inspection tours of Elbow Beach, Cambridge, Rosewood Tucker’s Point, Grotto Bay, Southampton Fairmont, Hamilton Princess, Rosedon, The Reefs and Newstead, Royal Palms, Edgehill Manor, Rosemont, Oxford House and ClearView.

The BTA also produced a Taste of Bermuda event, showcasing over 40 island partners, including attractions, hotels, retail, and experiences, and organised golf and tennis tournaments at Port Royal and Elbow Beach respectively. In addition, more than 40 vendors throughout the island offered reductions in their attractions – for example, 50% discount of the entrance fees at Crystal Caves, free admission at BUEI, and an average of 20% rate reductions was offered by the transport companies.

The entire event was extremely successful and was seen as a test drive for future MegaFams, which we hope to drive to Bermuda.

Tour Operator Summit
From 6-8 October, the BTA worked in co-operation with the Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA) to produce the annual North American Tour Operator Summit Power of Partnership, by supporting the event with web hosting, event content, transportation and site inspections. The Summit was hosted at the Fairmont Southampton and was supported by BHA members for all of the food and beverage functions. In total, 22 highly regarded Tour Operator product managers attended the Summit, including Canadian and North American airline partners.

The BHA created a superb event at Fort St. Catherine to showcase the diversity of venues and experiences in Bermuda, and brought the destination to life with GroFo taking a lead role. The Bermuda Hotel Association shared BTA’s Marketing Strategy and Approach to begin the conversations for 2015 partnerships.

The ALHI Partnership was officially launched during the site visit from November 4-6 as part of the BTA joining the Global Luxury Alliance to increase the corporate and incentive market for Bermuda. The BTA hosted the site visit for four Association Luxury Hotel International representatives to introduce them to Bermuda’s meetings and incentive product, and tours therefore included hotels with meeting space, plus special event venues such as Fort St. Catherine, Dockyard and Commissioner’s House.

The above business development activities are chiefly about allowing meeting planners, tour operators and travel agents to test drive the product so that they become advocates when selling the destination to their customers.

 

Sales Missions and Trade Shows

In line with the overall sales and marketing strategy of the BTA, sales missions were organised to target travel journalists, tour operators, travel agents and consumers. These were held in Canada and the UK.

Newport International Boat Show – September 11-14
The BTA hosted a stand at the Boat Show, as this market segment traditionally have a keen interest and love for Bermuda. BTA collected over 300 data capture cards, partnered with Donovan Travel to track future bookings and  found there was some social group potential: graduation, anniversary celebrations and reunions. The Fairmont Hamilton provided two complimentary stays to help drive traffic and promote their newly developed marina.

MLT University – September 13-15
The BTA shared a stand with Grotto Bay Beach Resort at the tradeshow, alongside over 250 destination vendors. A Quality Assurance Award was presented to both Grotto Bay and Fairmont Southampton.  Six destination workshops were presented on Bermuda in addition to a number of educational seminars, and special events, and more than 300 agents visited our stand. MLT continues to draw top quality agents from the US and Canada to their university.

Canada – September 22-25
A week-long sales mission was held in Toronto, Ontario, along with representatives from our hotel partners, Elbow Beach, Newstead, The Reefs and Grotto Bay. The mission entailed meeting with 12 media representatives in one day, presentation to over 100 travel trade representatives across three events, and hosting over 300 consumers at events with Maritime Travel.

UK – October 20-23
The BTA hosted eight travel trade partners with hotel partners to promote Bermuda at an event in London over the course of four days. Participating representatives from hotel partners included The Reefs, St. George’s Club, Grotto Bay and Cambridge Beaches, although there was a limited attendance due to the hurricanes’ impact on-island. In addition, the BTA held individual sales calls to four other travel trade partners.

The meetings and incentive market is important in building a solid foundation of business for Bermuda’s future, while expanding our reputation for genuine hospitality and incredible experiences.

Social Media

New Marketing Strategy

The BTA launched a fresh marketing strategy in November, the first major creative shift in Bermuda’s positioning since the BTA was formed. The new approach focused on experiential travel – telling rich, authentic stories about Bermuda across multiple platforms and mediums and leverages partnerships with media outlets, industry partners and influencers on- and off-island to develop high-quality content across video, photo, print, social and digital channels.

The new strategy was based on the idea that the island and her people embody a signature confluence of cultures, where British charm mingles with island soul to create experiences that are distinctly Bermuda, and is tied to a larger content-centric approach the BTA is using to promote Bermuda.

New marketing efforts relied more heavily on visual channels, and traditional advertising was supplemented by influencer programming, using both on- and off-island individuals. Initiatives include a mix of digital and print channels, targeting consumers at every stage of their decision-making journey – from dreaming, planning, booking, visiting and sharing their experiences.

Targeting-visitors A few examples include pairing Instagram influencers with Travel + Leisure media channels, leveraging local tastemakers in print and video content from Afar media and teaming up with Google and YouTube for fresh multi-channel network video storytelling through Tastemade. Media partnerships are running nationally in North America, with an emphasis on key customer segments and geographic markets with direct flights including New York and Boston. The images and videos created in the campaign will be the property of the authority, available for use in future marketing efforts.

X Factor UK

In partnership with British Airways and Fairmont Southampton, BTA hosted the X Factor judges’ houses with Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and the ‘groups’ category in August 2014. Once the show aired in the UK in October, the partnership was deemed a success through the following measurements:

  • Achieved 60 minutes of primetime editorial TV coverage
  • Generated 440 social media mentions of Bermuda and X Factor during the show’s airing times
  • Pre- and post- coverage was achieved across print and online media in titles such as London Evening Standard, OK!, Daily Mirror, Mailonline, Hello! And Metro
  • The Bermuda show achieved an overall reach of 532,087,962 and an advertising equivalency of £8,417,162
  • British Airways reported a 20% increase in enquiries immediately following the show and a 32% year on year increase in room nights booked in October 2014

America’s Cup

The Sales & Marketing division actively participated in the America’s Cup Bid Committee to secure the 35th America’s Cup for Bermuda in 2017. The team worked with on-island partners to secure hotel room block commitments and non-gouging agreements for AC35 and the World Series Racing Event in 2015. The Sales & Marketing division contributed a marketing agreement as part of the proposal as well as a host venue agreement. When the time came to make the announcement of winning the bid, the BTA co-ordinated with government stakeholders and ACEA on announcement events, statements and releases, as well as designed a Royal Gazette insert. In addition, the BTA commissioned the video touting Bermuda as a sailing destination and home of America’s Cup with a result of almost 10,000 views on YouTube and Vimeo.