Making the most of your online web presence
Online Web Presence Guide
For information on making the most of your online web presence please see the sections below.
This is the official consumer website for visitors to Northern Ireland with over 3.7 million visits to the site each year.
Once your property is certified by Tourism NI you will automatically be placed free of charge onto discovernorthernireland.com providing you with a gateway into the digital and online world.
The listings on discovernorthernireland.com also feed automatically to a number of other key websites including Tourism Ireland’s visitor website ireland.com.
To make the most of your unique listing on discovernorthernireland.com:
- Provide us with good quality photographs of your property. You can send up to 9 high resolution (at least 800*600) JPEG images. Suggested tips for good photography:
- Place yourself in the visitor’s shoes and try to capture the images in line with what they’ll see as they approach
- Try to take photos on a bright, sunny day
- Turn all the lights on inside the property, even if it is day time
- The best place to take a picture of any room is from the corner looking out onto the room at slightly above head height
- If you are capturing a dining table, set it. Likewise light fires, BBQ pits and ensure pictures of kitchens and bathrooms are clean, bright, airy and free of clutter
- Send us landscape images rather than portrait orientated images
- More information on photography can be found online at in our getting the most from your photography toolkit.
- Consider a star rating on your business. Consumers look for and value properties with an official star rating. For more information visit www.tourismni.com/grading
- If you have a booking engine associated to your property, ensure you utilise the ‘book’ button facility on discovernortherireland.com
- If you have a special offer, you can upload it. Just log in using your TIDI details which you will have received following certification. Any special offers will be displayed on your property entry. Offers also appear on numerous offer specific pages including offers by county, category and offers by theme. For any assistance required with offers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst discovernorthernireland.com is a highly reputable and popular visitor site, we recommend you do no solely rely on it to drive business. Use this site to assit with your overall marketing plan.
One of the best ways to boost your presence online is to have a website. Having a website gives you the opportunity to brand your business online and gives you full control over the website content and style. However creating a website can be expensive, especially if you need to employ the assistance of a web designer. The cost and need for a website should be considered in the planning and development stages of your business.
If you are employing a web designer, you may like to think about what other projects the web developer has worked on and the following is a list of suggestions to help you get the best value service. You may wish to discuss some of these points before agreeing a final price with your web designer.
- A website with an attractive and professional finish
- A site that is simple to use and has strong images and calls to action e.g. Book now
- Ask for a Content Management System (CMS) so that you can update content after the designer has gone
- The site should have a responsive design and display properly across various devices including mobiles, tablets and desktop computers
- Discuss the integration and need for a booking engine and availability calendar
- Be sure of costs of hosting your website and using a domain name
- Keep your content fresh and engaging
- Remember to provide your contact details.
DID YOU KNOW?
People are now using their mobile phones and tablets to search and book their holiday. You should consider how your site looks and works on these devices.
If the cost of developing your own website proves too expensive, there are some lower cost options, but a little technical knowledge and creativity will be required.
Websites like Weebly, Wix and WordPress offer a template on which you can design your own website.
You can also choose ‘freemium’ options for a small monthly fee which removes paid adverts from these sites and allows you to customize the URL (the address of the website).
Online Marketing Toolkits
Tourism NI has developed a series of online marketing toolkits to assist with getting online, social media, search engine optimisation and Google Analytics. Find out more here.
A fast growing expectation of the modern consumer is the facility to book and pay for accommodation online in real time. Therefore consideration should be given to the provision of this facility for your accommodation business.
If you wish to integrate a booking engine to your own website, there are a range of different booking engines to choose from such as Avvio, Eviivo and Little Hotelier. The following suggestions can help you to choose the best one your business.
- How easy can customers make a booking and check availability?
- How easy is the booking engine to manage?
- How payment is collected i.e. a flat rate fee or commission based?
- Will training be offered on how the system works?
Other ways to integrate your business with a booking engine are to sign up to an Online Travel Agent such as laterooms.com, booking.com or holidaylettings.com, for example.
These sites have become immensely popular with customers and it could be argued that it is almost essential to use these sites in order to remain competitive in the market.
However attention should be given to the commission charged and any terms and conditions imposed by the website.
DID YOU KNOW?
Please contact the Visitor Servicing team by emailing email@example.com to find out more about this facility.
Useful Guides and Links
- Tourism NI’s marketing toolkit provides you with information and ideas about how your business can position itself to benefit from growth of tourism in Northern Ireland, including visitors from within the island of Ireland and from abroad. It should help you understand your customers and you should be able to use this knowledge to fine tune various elements of your business to target them effectively.
For more information on the marketing toolkit and to download the toolkit click here.
- Invest NI have produced a number of helpful pages on their site www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/tourism. The pages provide advice and guidance on a range of subjects that can help you market your business successfully online.
James Magee, one of Invest NI’s ICT Advisors, can also provide you with advice on the online logistics and marketing of your business. Feel free to contact James at: firstname.lastname@example.org