Tourism Ireland today hosted its third annual internet tourism conference in Belfast. This is the first time that this event has been held in Northern Ireland. Fifty per cent of all travellers to Northern Ireland last year booked at least one element of their holiday online, so this conference was an opportunity for people working in the tourism industry to learn more about using new technologies to grow their business.
The Tourism Ireland conference or eSymposium discussed exciting new developments in the world of eMarketing and how these affect the tourism industry specifically, what tourism companies are doing to take advantage of the internet, as well as Tourism Ireland’s international web strategy and online platforms. New findings from a recent audit carried out by Tourism Ireland, on what is being said about the island of Ireland online in forums and blogs, were shared; these findings show that nine out of ten people describe a positive holiday experience here. Tips were provided on how to harness the power of social media sites, such as Tripadvisor.com, in order to win new business.
Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Central Marketing, said: “We are delighted to hold our eSymposium in Northern Ireland for the first time, particularly given the strong attendance by the tourism industry here. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to work with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to grow business. Tourism Ireland is committed to using eMarketing to the best possible effect in promoting Northern Ireland as a holiday destination.”
A number of leading eMarketing experts spoke at the event. These speakers presented case studies specifically geared towards the tourism industry, to ensure maximum relevance for businesses here. They included Søren Langelund, Chief Operating Officer with eWaterways.com, who talked about “changing consumer trends online and how the travel industry rises to the challenge”; Gareth Dunlop, Managing Director of Tibus, covered “web leadership for the hospitality industry”; and Brian Clarke, Director of Revenue and eCommerce with Hotel Partners, talked about “making eCommerce opportunities work for you”.
Laughlin Rigby, Internet Marketing Manager with Tourism Ireland, gave an overview on the online travel market to the island of Ireland today; and Séverine Tharreau, Internet & eMarketing Executive for Tourism Ireland France, presented on Tourism Ireland’s eMarketing activity overseas and opportunities for the tourism industry.