Tourism destinations and their businesses should be sure to tap into the increasingly influential power of the Internet to boost their profile and maximise visitor numbers and bookings.
That was the advice of Satyan Joshi, Senior Travel Industry Manager at Google UK Ltd, the keynote speaker at tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s 2015 Tourism Conference & Exhibition at Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens last Thursday.
Mr Joshi said the Internet was now used during all phases of travel planning, and almost always when people are researching and buying holidays and short breaks.
He told more than 150 delegates that three-quarters of people use online channels to inspire them when seeking ideas for holidays and short breaks, 97 per cent use them when researching their trip or travel plans and 95 per cent use them when buying.
Even offline buyers now typically research online, he added, while three out of four people access social media every day while travelling and 86 per cent share photos while on holiday.
“More than 60 per cent of leisure travellers have watched an online video to help them decide on a destination, and 55 per cent to help them decide on specific accommodation,” he said.
“Reviews play a huge research role – 88 per cent of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses, 53 per cent won’t commit to bookings until they read them and 73 per cent use photos from other travellers to help them make decisions.”
Other subjects under the spotlight included a presentation from Derby-based Social Status, Visit Peak District’s highlights in 2014-15 and marketing campaigns in 2015-16 and the benefits of joining East Midlands Chamber.
Delegates also heard how Belper triumphed as the Great British High Street Winner of Winners, while Hope Construction Materials Ltd revealed why it was a proud supporter of the area.
Businesses and delegates had the opportunity to showcase their services and network in an exhibition area in the Octagon.
“We were delighted that so many took this opportunity to join us to discover what’s current in the world of tourism and to network with businesses and other organisations at the start of the 2015 season,” said Jo Dilley, Director of Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.