Hotels not making enough use of social media

31 Aug 2010

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More than two-thirds of Irish hotels and guesthouses are failing to make use of social media sites to promote their venues, a survey has revealed. Undoubtedly they are missing out on a major trick.

While most Irish hotels have developed their own websites, they are not making the most of social media. Facebook has a membership of more than 500 million users worldwide, with 50pc logging on every day.

The opportunities in social media marketing and digtal marketing, as well as hotel revenue management, mobile applications and search marketing will be covered at this year’s HotelWebsiteMarketing.com Conference in Dublin on 14 September, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dublin Airport.

The conference, sponsored by Tourism Ireland, will include some of the industry’s leading experts, including Tripadvisor, IDeaS Revenue Management, Meetingsbooker.com, Tnooz.com and many more.

“Using every opportunity and medium to maximise business for hotels across Ireland is vitally important in the current economic climate,” Mary Hanafin TD, Ministerfor Tourism Culture and Sport, said.

“Customers looking for leisure or business purposes have to seek the best value for money and the best facilities and exploiting all of the new forms of social media to advertise hotel facilities is an important business marketing strategy. This conference will draw together all of the expertise in this industry and seek to provide answers to help hotel marketing and salespeople deliver even more,” Hanafin said.

Ireland online helps draw visitors

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 48pc of visitors to Ireland in 2009 stated that the internet played a key role in influencing their decision to visit Ireland.

“Tourism Ireland has increased its digital marketing activity across the world and we now invest €12m of our marketing budget online,” Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, explained.

“Our suite of websites Discoverireland.com, already provides a platform for Irish hoteliers and other industry partners to promote themselves overseas.”

Irish hotels are dealing with a totally new type of customer who no longer books through traditional channels. Web savvy travellers are shopping around online, visiting on average six websites before making a decision.

The growing influence of peer advice is also a key factor in the decision making process. This is underlined by the continuing success of conference speakers Tripadvisor, who offers more than 35 million travel reviews.

“We receive 10pc of our meeting room bookings through social media platforms. Although it does have a zero cost to entry, it’s not a medium for the hard sell and most hotels do not recognise this and constantly push offers instead of engaging with people” said Ciaran Delaney, managing director of MeetingsBooker.com.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com