Wednesday, 18 July 2012 9:05 AM

Tourism Businesses Gain Access to Online Assistance

Through a special program sponsored by the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) and Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I), Pacific Island hoteliers across Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati are now benefiting from a special suite of Hotel Link Solutions products and services.

The program is designed to improve the online presence of as many small- and medium-sized accommodations as possible in the Pacific Islands by providing them with a professional e-commerce enabled website or room-reservation widget that allows for the instant processing of bookings. The new websites are also optimized for third-party distribution if any hotels wish to sell their rooms via a selection of 40 online travel agencies.

"The trend of using brochures and talking is over now," explained the Solomon Island's Visitors Bureau chairman, Father Henry Teho. "The Bureau wants the local tourism operators to have their own web sites so the hotels control their own inbound promotions."

Workshops led by Hotel Link Solutions consultants instruct local hoteliers across the Pacific Islands about the benefits of an improved online presence. Presentations and orientations are followed by photo shoots and digital-content collection sessions at the hotels in order to assist with the development of hotel websites or booking widgets inserted into existing websites. After on-site information collection, the website creation process is handled by the Hotel Link Solutions team.

The series of instructional programs began in Tonga, where many of the hoteliers are already seeing the benefits of their newly launched web sites. Additional workshops and hotel website construction have been completed in the Cook Islands, Fiji and Kiribati. More seminars have been scheduled over the next month in other countries.

"The hotels in Tonga were all thrilled to be a part of the program, and the results have exceeded their expectations," reflected Hotel Link Solutions director Rob Shortland.

In a later phase of the program, a heavy emphasis is to be placed on best practices in social media. Hoteliers will be equipped with Facebook pages that have integrated booking widgets and optimized TripAdvisor listings.