Search engine optimisation strategies have enabled Irish web travel portal Goireland.com to grow traffic significantly to result in a 107pc in total online bookings between January and May this year.
The company this morning reported that more than 23,000 people have been accommodated through Goireland.com to date in 2004, which is worth some €1.6m. This represents a total of 7,750 bookings made through the website, which is averaging 50,0000 unique visitors per week. There has been an 80pc increase in booking engine searches over the same period last year.
The number of Irish users booking home holidays on Goireland.com increased 248pc, accounting for 23pc of all Goireland.com bookings.
Online bookings from the US increased by 75pc, while those from the UK grew 66pc. Online visitor numbers from Northern Ireland went up 109pc while online bookings from Australia increased by 218pc on the same period last year.
The company told siliconrepublic.com that the secret behind this year’s success has primarily been a determined use of web search engine optimisation strategies.
According to a spokesman, search engines account for over 80pc of Goireland.com traffic. More than 50pc of search engine activity stems from Google and other targeted engines include Yahoo!, MSN and Alta Vista.
The company’s strategy hinged around search engine visibility and engine traffic generation as well as a stringent keyword research process. Keywords targeted due to high search counts included: Dublin hotels, Ireland accommodation, Ireland hotels, bed and breakfast Dublin. Reciprocal links were obtained through ethical search engine standards — all link partner sites have an average Google page.
Goireland.com is the web presence for the Gulliver web-booking engine owned by Bord Failte and Kerry-based global payments company Fexco.
During 2003, the Goireland.com website received over 4.5 million visitors and the managing director of Gulliver Ireland, Dr Stewart Stephens, predicts this figure will rise to 5.5 million in 2004.
Stephens said: “The figures highlight the increasing use of the internet by tourists to research and book their visits to Ireland. Our strategy of ongoing investment in Goireland.com has ensured that the portal has experienced strong growth in bookings and develops its reputation as the leading online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations.
“We’re particularly happy at the growth in domestic bookings. Irish people know what to look for in a home holiday and this increase reflects the range and value we have to offer. The reason we have so much availability is our transparent commission model — we don’t rip off our suppliers and they know it,” Stephens said.
By John Kennedy