The homestay industry is not only growing rapidly in Barbados, but it is also outperforming the traditional hotel sector in customer satisfaction, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Roseanne Myers revealed.
Myers told the BHTA third quarterly meeting at the Hilton Barbados Resort yesterday, recent statistics from one sharing economy website had shown that Barbadian families hosted over 13,000 visitors in their homes last year.
“This is an interesting development and one our BHTA partners can learn from as there are many areas where the level of satisfaction for their stay bettered a stay in the traditional sectors,” Myers said.
However she urged traditional hoteliers to view these emerging sectors such as Airbnb as catalysts to raise the standard of their service.
“At the end of the day after such reflection and even though they are not new concepts, it does provide added motivation to get things done in specific areas . . . . Every day we need to look for ideas that challenge our thinking and disruptive strategies that challenge the way we do business,” she added.
Her sentiment was endorsed by Chief Executive Officer Sue Springer, who called for regularization of the industry to protect Barbados’ reputation and to remove creeping discrepancies between tourist arrivals and occupancy.
“The latest report shows that the average occupancy this year has decreased by 1.1 per cent while arrivals have increased by 1.7 per cent. This difference may be accounted for in the shared economy,” Springer explained.
At the State of the Tourism Industry Conference held here last week, the new chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Obie Wilchcombe reported that while arrivals across the Caribbean were up, hotel occupancy was down, attributing the inconsistency to homestay programmes.