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East Midlands Chamber News

Internet can boost tourism

Visit Peak DistrictTourism 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 timely reminder from Satyan Joshi, Senior Travel Industry Manager at Google UK Ltd, keynote speaker at official tourist board Visit Peak District & Derbyshire’s 2015 Tourism Conference & Exhibition at High Peak Borough Council’s Pavilion Gardens Buxton during English Tourism Week last week.

Mr. Joshi confirmed that according to a 2013 study, the internet is 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 on line 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.

Mr. Joshi outlined how Google Now is at the forefront of mobile innovation, and explained how businesses could use free tools, such as Google Trends and Google Alerts to improve their performance in a progressively competitive market

“Whether online or offline, people are looking for reassurance and validation of their choices – asking themselves if the destination and accommodation on offer are right for them, and are offering value for money,” he said.

“More than 60% of leisure travellers have watched an online video to help them decide on a destination, and 55% to help them decide on specific accommodation.

“Reviews play a huge research role – 88% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses, 53% won’t commit to bookings until they read them and 73% use photos from other travellers to help them make decisions.”

Other subjects under the spotlight included a presentation from Derby-based Social Status highlighting the ten social networks that can be used to transform businesses, Visit Peak District’s highlights in 2014-15 and marketing campaigns in 2015-16 and the benefits of joining East Midlands Chamber as a member.

Delegates heard how Belper triumphed as the Great British High Street Winner of Winners, while the company Hope Construction Materials Ltd revealed why it is proud to support the Peak District and Derbyshire.

Tourism businesses and delegates had the opportunity to showcase their services and network with each other in an exhibition area in the Octagon, which was also open to members of the public.

”We were delighted that so many delegates and exhibitors took this invaluable opportunity to join us to discover what’s current in the world of tourism and to network with a wide range of businesses and other organisations at the start of the main 2015 season,” said Jo Dilley, Director, Visit Peak District & Derbyshire.

“I’d also like to thank our sponsors, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire), The Pavilion Gardens, Poole’s Cavern in Buxton, Sounds Commercial, the University of Derby and Worldpay, for supporting and helping to make our 2015 Conference and Exhibition such a successful and productive event.”

Businesses considering joining Visit Peak District & Derbyshire to support its work in promoting the Peak District as a prime regional, national and international destination are invited to contact the tourist board’s Industry Engagement Manager, Lindsay Rae, on 01246 212924 or at lnsyrevstekititcmida.a@iipadsrc.o.