TECHNOLOGY is rapidly changing the travel and hospitality industries, Bournemouth hoteliers were told.
The travel website Expedia – which allows people to book accommodation, travel and other services online – held an event for its partner hotels in the town.
Jayce Doran, Expedia’s market manager for UK and Ireland, said the online experience was becoming ever more important to the industry.
“People simply won’t make that impulse buying decision any more. They’re potentially researching on their mobile phone in the morning, they confirm on their desk top in their lunch break and in the evening they make a booking on a tablet,” he said.
He told the event at the Green House Hotel that Expedia had been “more of an online travel brochure” when it began in 1996.
“What we’re trying to become is that one-stop shop where the customer is able to become book everything they need in one place,” he said.
“We don’t want you to look on us as an online travel agent – we’re a bit more than that.”
He added: “The average person checks their phone 110 times per day. More addicted people check their phone up to 900 times per day.”
In 2005, mobile devices accounted for three per cent of leisure travel to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but by 2016 that figure had reached 28 per cent – and 38 per cent of travel to Bournemouth.
Expedia area manager Liz O’Connor told partners: “Being with us, making sure to make the most of your partnership with us, allows you to tap in to that hugely growing percentage of customers who book their travel by mobile.”
Jon Weaver, Bournemouth Tourism’s head of resort marketing and events, said the world had changed rapidly since the days when the council’s tourism brochure was the main platform for promoting hotels.
“We used to be pretty much the only show in town in terms of advertising and marketing a hotel. Our job has changed slightly in that we we’re not the major destination marketing organisation but we do coordinate,” he said.
He said the department’s main marketing assets now were its website and a large social media following.
The website now listed 1,000 local events, while the Love Bournemouth tourism effort had 52,593 likes on its Facebook page and 6,600 Twitter followers. Nine people were now working on the resort’s social media, compared to just one only five years ago.
The resort had also produced a printed Welcome to Bournemouth guide with the Daily Echo and the town’s two Business Improvement Districts.
The tourism industry attracted seven million visitors in 2015, he said. The sector employed 16,000 people and visitors spent £100million directly on accommodation and £800m in total.