Ireland South MEP, Deirdre Clune has cautioned those in the tourist trade not to ignore the fact that the tourism market has gone digital.
“Fáilte Ireland research shows that over 73% of holidaymakers to Ireland use the internet for planning a holiday here. What is more interesting is how they are using the internet. According to travel website Tnooz.com, in the first half of 2014, nearly 16% of bookings and 19% of room nights were booked on tablets and smartphones. 41% of web visitors and nearly 38% of page views were generated from non-desktop devices (mobile and tablet). Tourism providers need to optimize their presence in all three channels to provide the best user experience on each device,” said Ms Clune following a meeting of the European Parliament’s Tourism Taskforce.
“It is not just about having a website anymore. Small B&Bs, restaurants and tourism providers need a complete online strategy that includes social media, promotions, online bookings and linkages to last minute deal apps and sites.
“Potential visitors are reading reviews more and more and sites like TripAdvisor.com are becoming hugely influential to peoples decision on where to go and where to stay. Tourism providers need to be aware about what is being said about them online and to be in a position to act on feedback and recommendations,” she added.
Ms Clune said Ireland has a top class touruism product but “tourists are more sophisticated now and want to browse through a B&Bs rooms, check on prices, read reviews, explore local amenities and eventually book and pay for the whole thing online on their phone and tablet or through specialised booking apps.
“Simply put, Irish tourism providers need to move with the times. Local B&Bs, restaurants, hotels and providers that don’t offer a full online compliment of services are at a distinct disadvantage.”