Ireland’s tourism sector plans to allocate greater amounts of its overseas marketing budget online, having identified the internet as a more efficient way of advertising. Almost one third of the sector’s overall budget will be spent online this year, which has led to a corresponding decline in traditional promotions and advertising.
A survey commissioned by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) showed that total investment by the industry’s commercial sector on overseas marketing amounted to at least €160m in 2004, including more than €50m spent on new online distribution channels.
According to the survey findings, the move to greater online spending is a reflection of developments elsewhere in the worldwide travel industry. “There continues to be a marked shift by the commercial sector away from some traditional marketing channels such as advertising, especially on the part of carriers, in favour of more direct consumer communications – a global trend,” the report said.
Much of the impetus behind the shift to online marketing and advertising has come from ITIC’s larger members such as airlines, ferry companies, hotels and car hire operators which have been pioneering use of new technology in their businesses.
An estimated four out of every five tourism businesses in Ireland currently have a web presence. In addition, 90pc of businesses in the local tourism sector can now sell online, increased from 60pc four years ago.
ITIC chief executive Brendan Leahy (pictured) said the report showed that the industry’s spend has become “smarter, more efficient and more effective” in responding to changed market conditions and new ways of reaching the consumer.
By Gordon Smith