An increasing number of consumers use the internet as their first source of information when choosing holiday destinations and when planning their travel itineraries. Being online and bookable vastly expands the promotional reach of local tourism businesses, which otherwise would not have exposure to international markets through traditional marketing channels.
Online marketing also provides a cost-effective and accountable approach to promoting your offering to incoming visitors.
Details about online marketing and booking channels available below:
Tourism NI’s Consumer Website
Local tourism providers can use Tourism NI’s consumer website www.discovernorthernireland.com
to promote their offering. Over the past 12 months the consumer website received 2.9 million visits from tourists seeking information on events, attractions, accommodation and things to see and do in Northern Ireland. This was a 17% growth in visits compared to the previous year. Visitors to our consumer website from Northern Ireland have increased by 39% and visitors based in the Republic of Ireland have increased by 19% compared to the previous year.
For more information on promoting your tourism business on www.discovernorthernireland.com
please email details of your offering (e.g. attraction, certified tourist accommodation premises or event, etc) along with opening times, prices, current offers and relevant images to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism NI has a significant digital marketing presence across the following channels
- Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ – Discover Northern Ireland
- Twitter - @DiscoverNI
- Email Marketing Database
- Blogs & partner sites
- Competition platforms
We encourage you to share your information with us to be published on Discovernorthernireland.com / social media channels
- Join in the conversation from your social media accounts - #discoverni
- Chat / engage from your account
- Supply content - copy, videos, photos for:
- Social media posts to our social media audience of 200,000+
- Competition prizes for cross channel digital campaigns
- Offers & updates
- Inclusion in email marketing content
- Various marketing opportunities through our digital content partners
To find out more about how you can get involved contact: email@example.com
Online Marketing Toolkits
Online Booking Channels for Tourist Accommodation Providers
Many tourist accommodation providers in Northern Ireland have expanded their marketing channels in the last two years to become online and bookable. If you are a tourist accommodation provider the benefits for using an online booking channel can include:
- Help manage your bookings - Reputable booking channel partners can provide easy-to-use online booking systems that also offer property management and reservation system options. This can remove the need for you to manually update multiple sales and distribution channels when a room is sold.
- Information at anytime - Customers can check availability, rates and special offers instantly at any time.
- Secure instant payments - Upon booking, customer payments (or deposits) can be made securely into your bank account and the booking is added automatically to your diary or reservation system (if applicable).
- Open your business up internationally - Booking systems allow customers to either book direct on your website (if you have one) or via the booking channel’s partner distribution websites. This opportunity provides a massive increase in your exposure to international visitors and your ability to attract direct sales from visitors who would have otherwise never visited your website.
- Website creation options - If you don’t have a website, booking system providers often offer site creation tools and templates to help get your business online. Some also offer website hosting services at an additional cost.
- Reservation management - Being online and bookable can help you increase your occupancy rates and yield as you can manage bookings easier, have a greater marketing reach and you have the ability to offer seasonal prices and promotions to your customer quicker.
- Guest review management - Some booking systems provide the ability to collect and display guest reviews on your website and on your various booking pages across distribution websites. Displaying positive guest reviews and responding publically to less favourable reviews can actually help increase online bookings. Reviews can also be a valuable tool in improving the quality of your product and services.
- Training & support – booking system providers offer customer support as part of their packages, but also can provide practical advice and training on online marketing to help grow bookings and profits.
Booking Channels for Small Accommodation Providers
Due to a ruling by the European Commission, Tourism NI are no longer able to act as a third party in processing online accommodation bookings. Subsequently, Tourism NI's accommodation booking facility (TIDInet) was ceased on 28th March 2013. Bookings made via TIDInet to take place after March 2013 will still be honoured and accommodation providers can still access details of these bookings using their TIDInet log in details.
To enable our visitors to still be able to book tourist accommodation via the discovernorthernireland.com website, Tourism NI have agreed a partnership to offer Bed and Breakfasts and small Guest Houses and Guest Accommodation properties an online booking solution.
For Bed and Breakfasts and smaller Guest Houses and Guest Accommodation properties there is a partnership with B&B Ireland. You are also welcome to place the booking engine on your own website. Your B&B will then be bookable online via bandbireland.com and your own website. Please be advised that a link to any other booking distributor can be displayed on your profile on discovernorthernireland.com
If you opted into this system you should now have received an e-mail advising you of what to do next and your log in details. Your B&B will appear on the bandbireland.com website as soon as you have updated your availability and prices and have requested that your B&B be switched 'live'. Throughout this process B&B Ireland will be there to provide support and training to you to help with the process of becoming bookable online.
To avail of this online booking systems, or to get details of upcoming training opportunities for these systems, please contact Tourism NI on Tel: 028 9044 1551 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism NI in conjunction with Superfast Broadband NI have developed a 'Simple Guide to Smart Tourism' designed to help tourism businesses make the most of the internet.
The guide explains how you can become a smart tourism business by getting online and making the most of the internet. Download a copy of the guide here.