According to the experts, tourism in the UK in 2009 is set to get a well deserved boost because of the weak pound against the Euro and Dollar.
One expert, Bob Cotton OBE, Chairman of Tourism Alliance, says: ‘The fall in the value of the pound represents a 21% saving for people travelling to the UK from the eurozone and 27% for those from the USA. This makes the UK the value destination for overseas visitors undertaking holidays during 2009 and means that a holiday at home is now the best option for British residents.‘
The Telegraph also reported “the high cost of foreign travel is expected to be a boon for domestic tourism next summer. Hoseasons, one of the largest UK operators has already reported a 20 per cent rise in bookings for 2009.“
This is good news for local businesses, especially those within the tourism industry, as it certainly looks promising that there will be an influx of both foreign and British visitors this year. Guest houses and small hotels especially need to step up and ensure that they get their market share of this boon and must recognise that the internet is a major player in attracting guests.
Website design is the key and a well-designed web site should follow search engine guidelines, be easy for visitors to navigate, and have text and content which take visitors towards the ultimate goal – to make a booking. John Dowd from Simple Hospitality, a company that provides online availability and booking solutions for smaller hospitality properties, believes “it is not enough to just have an e-mailable booking form on a website as potential guests now expect to make their reservation immediately online. And now with more visitors expected from overseas during 2009 it is important that the smaller property owners are keeping up with the trend and taking every opportunity to increase their profits“.
During this credit crunch, travellers are getting more astute and although many will initially search for accommodation using booking agents, such as booking.com, lastminute.com, etc, most will prefer to book direct with the hotel’s website in order to get a better deal – this also of course means that there is no agency booking commission to pay.
John offers this piece of advice for the smaller accommodation provider “continue to use booking agents but also have a booking page on your website so that you can offer cheaper ‘online’ deals or ‘special offers’, then you have every angle covered. Also, when guests book direct this gives you the opportunity to offer packages or extra services online such as flowers, champagne, newspapers, theatre tickets, etc – giving you maximum profit.“
Simple Hospitality, based in Warwickshire, provides a range of reservation and online booking solutions for owners of hotels, guest houses, holiday and caravan parks and self catering accommodation and are currently offering a FREE 30 day trial. For further details see their website www.simplehospitality.co.uk or call John on 07973 705368.