The internet is the most important factor for almost half of overseas travellers who decide to visit Ireland, with seven out of ten relying on the web to plan their visit here.
With these findings in mind, Fáilte Ireland this week organised an e-business conference for the north-west tourism trade, entitled ‘Your Online Focus – Home and Away’ at the Clarion Hotel, in Sligo.
Among Donegal’s top tourism trade to attend were: Mandy Lyons, Slieve League Lodge Hostel; Margaret Storey, Creevy Co-Op; Myles Gallagher, Sonas B&B; Don McGonigle, Ballyliffin Hotel; Colm MacPahidin, Donegal Adventure Centre; Rosemary Ward, The Bluestack Centre; Marguerite Howley, Castle Murray House Hotel; Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point Hotel; Tracey Ferguson, Bundoran Town Council; John O’Connell and Gemma Farrell, Atlantic Aparthotel.
With trends suggesting that up to 25% of people may soon be booking their accommodation through their mobile phone, the importance of keeping up to date with online technology was emphasised at the conference. A number of online experts from Google and Trip Advisor where on hand to discuss a number of topics including how technology and tourism can be brought closer together so that Irish businesses can sell more effectively to the 21st century tourist both domestic and overseas.
Emphasising the importance of technology in tourism, Martina Bromley, Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland in the North West, emphasised:
“We were delighted that over 100 delegates from the North West tourism industry attended this Fáilte Ireland conference ranging from hotel managers and marketing managers to owners and proprietors of tourism businesses.
To date, Fáilte Ireland has helped over 3,500 small and medium enterprises to plug into their full online potential through our Web Check and e-business training programmes. Just last month we held our first live industry webinar in digital marketing with a second planned on social media in April.
“We are particularly delighted that this year Trip Advisor took part in the conference. Tourism businesses today are operating in an environment where one in two travellers base their choice for a trip on other people’s experiences and reviews. Ensuring that you are up to speed with online reviewing and how to deal with it must be an integral part of a hotel’s day to day activity,” she said.