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Spoiltchild Design

Hotel Website Marketing Conference Dublin, Part 1

I attended the hotel marketing conference organised by Ciaran Delaney of yesterday. It was a pretty intensive day, with a host of well established and experienced speakers with an in-depth knowledge of the Tourism and Travel industry in Ireland. Presentations in the main were well rounded and very informative.

The interesting thing for me was that the challenges facing the hotel sector when marketing their products online, be it rooms, conferences, special offers or meeting space, is the same as other industries. Many delegates I spoke to suffer form the same problems as the rest of us, finding the time to update the website, deciding who to choose as an affiliate partner, and wondering how social media and user generated content can help move their business to the next level. Not to mention finding the appropriate company to attend to all these requirements.

We all know that the hotel sector has taken a battering this year. However, on a very positive note, Laughlin Rigby of Tourism Ireland clearly explained how a well managed, strategic, online presence, embracing all forms of web engagement can truly turn ‘lookers to bookers’. I really enjoyed Laughlin’s presentation. It was so interesting to see how each strand of their marketing activity online dramatically increases traffic. A real can do attitude, very refreshing.

Interestingly, Tourism Ireland has just hired a graduate who has the exciting title of Social Media Activist, certainly a visionary decision on Tourism Ireland’s behalf. And the statistics don’t lie. User generated content is driving traffic, creating a buzz and bringing users to your site and in this case, to Ireland. I am sure roles like this will become more common as the rewards of engaging with social media and user generated content becomes ever more apparent.

The top four things I took home from yesterday’s event:

1. DIY. Start a Blog; create an eZine, create a page on Facebook. Empower yourself to drive your business success.

2. Respond to your users. Communication is everything and integrity goes a long way.

3. Does your site turn your ‘lookers to bookers’? Why not? What can you do to make it happen?

4. Do everything you can to retain your customers – new ones are costly old ones aren’t.

But mostly, I reaffirmed that everything is not broken in this current climate. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to realise their potential and to engage with their customers in a meaningful way.

More highlights form the event tomorrow.

Image thanks to tomerlichtash (cc)