BTA: “Showing Promising Signs Of Recovery”

February 19, 2015

[Updated] Bermuda’s tourism industry is “beginning to show promising signs of recovery,” according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA], who said “rising indicators suggest positive results are ahead for the island.”

“This is a very positive sign for Bermuda’s economy, tourism stakeholders and new sales and marketing efforts,” said Victoria Isley, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for the BTA.

“The BTA put new marketing strategies in the field late last year and new imagination into last month’s Pink Sale. We’re now starting to see evidence those moves were steps in the right direction.”

Update 2.15pm: The BTA apologized for the error and issued a correction, saying that the percentage increase on CTR should be +113% and not +214% as originally reported. As seen in the comments below, readers had been questioning that figure.

The full [amended] statement from the BTA is below:

Just two months into 2015, Bermuda’s tourism industry is beginning to show promising signs of recovery. According to several market forecast reports and analysis from the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA], rising indicators suggest positive results are ahead for the island.

“This is a very positive sign for Bermuda’s economy, tourism stakeholders and new sales and marketing efforts,” said Victoria Isley, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for the BTA. “The BTA put new marketing strategies in the field late last year and new imagination into last month’s Pink Sale. We’re now starting to see evidence those moves were steps in the right direction.”

There is momentum building throughout the “path to purchase” for Bermuda, which the BTA’s Research & Business Intelligence team tracks consistently:

1. Hotel Vacation Reservations on the Rise

While Bermuda’s booking forecast appears relatively flat overall [.5% behind pace], which includes both individual and group bookings, a different story emerges diving deeper into the data.

Significant ground has been gained since the last report [Dec. 2014], when bookings were 5.7% behind pace – a swing of more than five percentage points in a one month period.

Individual leisure/business traveler room nights booked over the next 12 months [February 2015 to January 2016] is up 17% when compared to the same time last year.

That means hotel bookings for these types of travelers, during the next 12 months, were 8,105 room nights higher on January 31, 2015 versus January 31, 2014.

These figures are cited in BTA’s most recent pace report, which is a snapshot of confirmed hotel bookings over the next 12 months and includes the majority of medium and large Bermuda Hotel Association properties [representing 76% of the hotel inventory on-island].

The island’s Pink Sale promotion last month played a significant role in fueling advance hotel reservations. Seven of the remaining months in 2015 show more bookings versus one year ago to date, particularly September which is already up 2,527 room nights – a 54% increase over this time last year. Currently July, November and December are pacing behind where they were last year.

The latest pace report shows promise in future leisure bookings, but bookings for groups and meetings are down 14%. Since many meetings book as much as one to three years in advance, there’s not much more ground to be gained in group business for 2015.

Ms Isley explained, “Our energy is focused on increasing demand on the leisure side by marketing successfully with our partners throughout the travel chain – while simultaneously fixing group sales in the future.”

The BTA has restructured some of its sales efforts to address future group bookings.

2. Airline Search Demand Increases

According to hopper, an airline data company, searches for airfare to Bermuda has increased consistently week over week for the last five weeks.

3. Digital Engagement

The BTA’s new marketing strategy deployed in late 2014 seems to be paying dividends in many areas that indicate signals of interest and intent to travel. Digital performance results increased significantly versus one year ago, even while the marketing spend decreased.

Jan 2015

Jan 2014

% Increase

Total Ad Impressions Delivered

94 million

34 million


Media Investment




Click-Thru-Rate [CTR]




Website Visits




Consumer Inquiries [Web]




“It’s very rare to see this kind of swing so quickly – in just a matter of a few months,” said Erin Smith, BTA’s Director of Research and Business Intelligence.

“The timing of the marketing deployment, the increase of interest and demand we have seen through online channels and the actual room nights booked seem to all be related; we will know for sure once more time has elapsed and we can analyze the trends.”

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Comments (52)

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  1. Mockingjay says:

    Good and I have bridge in Brooklyn to sell you .

    • Sandgrownan says:

      You’d hate for them to turn it around wouldn’t you? It’s going to be slow, incremental progress. Unless you want a sunshine guarantee?

      • sage says:

        That’s not what Bill Hanbury promised when he “foresaw” and predicted a turnaround in 3 months, sometime early last year.

        • Mockingjay says:

          You mean the same guy that gets paid $1,000 a day.

          • Politricks says:

            If you didn’t drop out of high school (like you stated the other week in another thread) you might have been able to be reach that level of pay.

            But you did and now every thing wrong in your life is someone else’s fault.

  2. SSWhite says:

    Just how many times have we heard this “signs of recovery” jargon? Regardless of administration. Get it through your head Bermuda. As the wealth gap widens here and across the “west” there is less disposable income to be spent – especially on destinations like this which offer little or no competitive advantage to like jurisdictions. Catch a flight to or from this place – expats and families of expats. That simple very few tourists. Blame the PLP blame the OBA – it still will not change.

    Expats do not be offended – I do not know what else to call you. Guest workers in Bermuda might be better – GWIBS – nice ring to it.

    • SSWhite says:

      Using incomplete data from website click through s is laughable – Every time I look on amazon does not necessarily coincide with a purchase. Yes the likelihood is greater but most times I am searching for THE BEST DEAL!! – and Bermuda is not it. Unless of course you are looking for a place to stash some cash…

  3. Global Citizen says:

    How is .16 to .34 a 214% increase?

    • Global Citizen says:

      oops nevermind…

      • Global Citizen says:

        no wait… Thats a 100% increase isn’t it?

        • Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

          ((.34-.16)/.16)*100 = 112.5% so you might be right…

    • Growth says:

      0.16% x 214% = 0.34%

      or 0.34% / 0.16% = 214%

      or .034% / 214% = 0.16%

      math works

    • Global Citizen says:

      Ok so i just did the math. It is definitely a 100% increase. But based on the CTR information in the table i was able to work out that in January 2014 5,440 pageviews out of 112,000 were from ads which is 5% of the total.
      while in Jan 2015 the total views from ads 31,960 out of 242,000 which is 13% and would be a roughly 200% increase. Come on BTA! we pay you too much to screw up your numbers.

      Also, That 636,000 better have included production of those commercials, because otherwise it would mean we paid that much for 5000 page views.

      The figures for January 2015 or maybe even June 2014 should be the baseline because in 2014 the initiative was just getting on its feet. Would be interesting how the numbers stack up later in the year. Will we see a month by month breakdown?

      • Russ Wilson says:

        Consumer inquiries/website visits = 406/242,963 = .167% click through rate – not terribly good.

        598.43 website visits to generate one consumer inquiry.

        The real data needed here is the conversion rate of consumer inquiries into booking revenue generated (as a start). Do they have a statistician on staff who can perform these rudimentary calculations?

  4. Unbelievable says:

    It’s slowly coming together. BTA, you are doing a good job (as compared to the Platinum Period that completely bypassed us).

    Remember that? What a laugh.

  5. B.T.A. thanks for an update / eye-opener :-) It’s certainly good news in-spite of the weather conditions :-(

    • Mockingjay says:

      A good reason to give out interest free loans.

      • soboredwithyou says:

        Mockingjay, why don’t you enlighten us with how you would turn around tourism? Or is it easier just to sit behind a desk all day being unproductive? Would you rather the events at Pier 6 have been cancelled? Would you rather the small businesses they helped close? Probably, because then you would have another reason to rave online.

        • Mockingjay says:

          Lower the Hotel rates and turn one of little islands into a nude coffee shop island.

          • soboredwithyou says:

            Your response is painful, yet typical. Anyways, back to work. Try it sometime.

    • “In some circumstances, the refusal to be defeated is a refusal to be educated.” -Margaret Halsey, novelist (13 Feb 1910-1997)
      It truly is a shame that more people don’t support the B.T.A. :-(

  6. MA$E says:

    Google conducted a study of its display advertising platforms Google and DoubleClick, which revealed that 56.1% of all impressions Google measured in a recent study were not seen, and the average publisher’s viewability rate came in at 50.2%.

  7. Unbelievable says:

    I believe there are people out there who just do not want the BTA to succeed. No matter what good news they put out there, even if it is something simple as graph as above, people just want this organisation to fail.

    Even a simple sunset picture on FB will get no love from anyone from the PLP.

    • Ashamed... says:

      I know. It is absolutely sad that some wish the destruction of Bermuda to benefit their political Party. If the BTA fails then tourism fails completely. The Ministry of Tourism failed for decades because of know-it-all politicians who couldn’t get out of the way.

      Politics really has destroyed this island and unfortunately there are many that want to shut down the island, burned down the island and create civil unrest just so their beloved Party can be in power. I have read and heard such nasty comments all over this island. Hell, even a newly elected MP advocated for such on his now defunct social media platform.

      Party before country is truly a sad consequence of our system.

      To Hanbury and the rest of the BTA, I say just pack it in and give the critics what they want. You won’t be able to win these zealots over and the attacks on the BTA’s staff integrity and professionalism is not worth it. Give it back to the failed system and watch us sink further from a safe distance.

      We don’t deserve success in any form.

      • @ Ashamed: You sound as if you’re “a wolf in sheep clothing” :-( We,(I believe I can speak on behalf of the vast majority) do not want to “throw the towel in” we want to see B.T.A. succeed so we may all profit in the long term…

  8. Just a matter of time says:

    Wow? Really? You can feel the desperation to try and get those 30% bonuses showing these website click information. And this CTR calculation swing from .16% to .34% is a 112.5% increase not 214%! And we are paying $100K salaries for such ‘attention to detail’. smh.

  9. somuchless says:

    Bunch of clowns.

  10. watching says:

    While we all want this to be true, I believe that the BTA is of the opinion that the more they speak this into existence, it will automatically follow. They continue to talk this game but the results are not following.

  11. Tolerate says:

    BTA has to continue to give updates; and unfortunately for some its “damn if you do; damned if you don’t”. Now while I admit do not have time to review and challenge their data; I will note that there seems to be SOME among us who hope the BTA fails? Funny, it appears the same group ALSO hope the AC fails as well? Why we have Bermudians (I hope they are Bermudians) among us that wish for things that are here to help Bermuda to get out the hole it is in; to FAIL is beyond me. I believe its bloggers from rival islands.
    Surly no patriotic Bermudian would hold such negative thoughts and feeling.


  12. Triangle Drifter says:

    Oh puhleeeze…Say it isn’t so. Good news of any type is not in the PLP’s playbook & must be vigorously downplayed by any means available. The last thing the BTA deserves is support from them.

    Much better for the entitled to whine, whine, then whine some more.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Exactly. They’ve only been in business one year and everyone is looking for that “Platinum Period”.

      • swing voter says:

        damn right I’m waiting for it! At $300K / year my expectations are super high

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Oh no! Not the Platinum Period again. That was the time when hotel closures & tourism related business closures were at their height.

        Puhleeese, not the Platinum Period or anyone who had anything to do with creating it again.

        • Coffee says:

          Hanbury is pulling some very expensive wool !

          • aceboy says:


            The Platinum Period author didn’t pull any wool though huh? How many times was the Club Med site ground breaking announced?

            You refuse to admit your party was a complete and utter disaster when in government but it doesn’t change the facts.

  13. Sky Pilot says:

    the BTA is full of ****!

    • pureeegrance says:

      come on marc… the BTA is def doing a better job than ‘faith based tourism’

  14. Just a matter of time says:

    Let me make this absolutely and fundamentally clear so that imaginations do not run so buck wild. For myself, I am for ANY success that will help our country and ALL of our countrymen, not the same choice few time and time and time again. I WANT Bermuda to succeed and so does every other Bermudian no matter the party. That includes the BTA and the AC. If taxpayer dollars are being spent yes, I WANT THESE TO SUCCEED! I want our college students to come back home with hope of a future. I want our countrymen to survive in an affordable environment and not run off and live off the dole in the UK. I want the brain drain to cease and promote Bermudians first and foremost. It’s so easy to cast all of the blame to the last administration, but to suggest that the financial meltdown did not play a part but that it was all 100% the PLP’s fault is getting tired.

    The PROBLEM is not the ventures in and of themselves which are good intentions, excellent in fact and I do give kudos to Dr. Gibbons for pulling this AC35 off for the island. Excellent exposure no question. However there is a HUGE mistrust with the OBA now behind how the dollars are being handled via secret deals with Jetgate, BTA, Airport, Public Service Reform, etc and the mistrust that it’s business as usual from the UBP guard of yesteryears. People will have more of buy in of these initiatives if the mistrust factor wasn’t there regarding how these huge dollars are being handled. Isn’t that how the OBA got elected, via trust? But they have broken a lot of promises. I understand that there may be opportunities for entrepreneurship only if the playing field is leveled and it has already been proven that it’s not. The BTA $180K payment is an example and definitely a setback to the trust factor. I pray that the BTA will be able to turn this around as they claim they would as that is their mandate. So stop accusing persons who question with legitimate concerns as being somehow unpatriotic and trying to sabotage our way of life and the only life we know for many. That makes no sense.

  15. aceboy says:

    Bookings in our vacation rentals are booming. My wife is responding to queries on a daily basis.

    This sure isn’t the Platinum Period.

    It’s much better than that big fat nothing.

    • Coffee says:

      Bring proof !

      • Wake Up says:

        How is he supposed to bring proof of vacation rental queries to comments on Bernews?

        Get a job.

        • Coffee says:

          Exactly , he can’t , so therefore to me the posted statement has zero merit .

          • aceboy says:

            I can prove it but won’t. That would *out* me here and I don’t trust the likes of you at all.

            It really bothers you that people are actually succeeding in tourism doesn’t it? Too funny. Our occupancy rate for the unit we brought online last year had just under 80% occupancy. I expect the same from the second one.

            Ask Wayne Furbert about his rental units. He has done very well from them I understand.

            You’d rather not believe things are getting better tourism-wise because the OBA are in power. That is so glaringly obvious.

  16. Just a matter of time says:

    @ Tolerate: “I believe its bloggers from rival islands.” Hmmmm. I never thought about that until you mentioned it. That is quite an interesting thought.

  17. somuchless says:

    The BTA will say anything to keep their big pay checks.

  18. Russ says:

    Consumer inquiries/website visits = 406/242,963 = .167% click through rate – not terribly good.

    598.43 website visits to generate one consumer inquiry.

    The real data needed here is the conversion rate of consumer inquiries into booking revenue generated (as a start). Do they have a statistician on staff who can perform these rudimentary calculations?

  19. Eve says:

    Is anyone really paying attention, the hotels cut room rates by 50% for the Pink Sale and now Ms. Isley wants to take credit for it! Shows that people will come to Bermuda if the price is right. Don’t forget that AC crews and families have taken a number of rooms too. BTA has another 6 months before they can start patting themselves on the back.

    • somuchless says:

      In the same breathe the bta says that Bermuda does not need to lower its hotel prices. But they did. So will someone admit that we do have a price structure issue and stop hiding the fact.

  20. james says:

    what little culture we had is gone, thanks to the influx of foreigners, what is it here for tourist?

    • soboredwithyou says:

      That is just unfair. If the “foreigners” are so bad, why aren’t the “Bermudians” getting their jobs? Bermuda still has amazing culture and that’s ridiculous to say its gone. Have you been on any of the tour boats operated and owned by Bermudians at dockyard? They’re amazing and entertaining and showcase our beautiful waters And shipwrecks. Our personable and knowledgeable bus drivers, ferry drivers and staff greeting tourists exemplify what Bermuda was and is. You should be ashamed of yourself for blaming expats . This Island was and is an amazing place to live.

  21. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    If everyone against or saying BTA is full of s***….. WHAT ARE YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR REVIVING TOURISM?!

    Please list some below…be real just give me a couple!

    • soboredwithyou says:

      See, crickets. All this time has gone by with out a single reasonable solution offered. These posts are painful, and I really hope tourists don’t read them. Mockingjay had a very intelligent solution when I asked him above.