Monday, September 16, 2013


Leading hotel strategy partner Bookassist ( today announced the release of their certified interface to Google Hotel Finder. The interface, built by Google engineers and Bookassist's development team, enables live room availability and best rates to be displayed to hotel customers searching on Google, boosting direct bookings. 

Up to now, only large travel sites (OTAs) were able to reach customers early in the decision-making process online, but now meta-search technologies like Google’s allow the hotel website to also position itself directly in front of potential guests as they begin their search.Hotels can compete head on with OTAs in Google Hotel Price Ads, on Google Maps, Google+ Local and Google Hotel Finder.
 "By being part of meta-search on websites like Google Hotel Finder we are levelling the playing field with OTAs, giving guests the opportunity to book directly with our hotel. Meta-search marketing generates incremental revenues for us, produces excellent return on our ad spend, and is managed stress-free for us by Bookassist", comments Valerie Steinbeck, Group Revenue & Ecommerce Manager, Destination Killarney Group. 
"This is a real opportunity for hotels to position their own websites right where their customers are considering options and making decisions", says Mary Collins, Head of Internet Marketing at Bookassist. 
With this integration, live hotel rates will now display next to those of the OTAs in Google’s Hotel Finder, on Google Maps, in Google+ Local, and Google Universal searches. Now when a potential customer enters dates in a hotel's destination or for a particular hotel, the hotel's own rates and availability can compete with the OTAs for the direct sale.
While many hotels are taking advantage of this growing direct online revenue opportunity and are adding meta-search marketing to their core marketing budgets the concluding message for hotels must, however, be one of caution.  Even though this new technology gives them a new opportunity to compete with OTAs they must be mindful that the technology is simply an enabler. With the increased online visibility it will give to a critical audience, careful monitoring and management of online rates and availability has never been more critical.
For further information for Scottish hotels email Neil or call on 01294 233713 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Golf Tourism Strategy Launched

Along with another 99 delegates I'm heading expectantly towards Perth tomorrow to hear about the first combined golf strategy developed for Scotland's golf industry. Ah the first?

Yes well maybe it is technically the first but mischievously (clearly) I couldn't resist looking through the files for the other first combined strategy developed in 2000 as support for the subsequently doomed Ryder Cup bid for 2009. A ten year strategy that came out of pressure applied at the time by the very vociferous and articulate golf tourism group SIGTOA.

So anyway to tomorrow. A new direction? New ideas? New communication frameworks? New ways to reduce duplication between regional golf groups? A new organisational structure? New economic targets? Infrastructure improvements? Support for developing the customer experience? New tournaments? Improved transition between amateur and professional ranks? A new online tee time reservation system? A joint industry website selling tour packages?

There would be absolutely no chance that the speech and the press release would ever include any of the following then?

"Golf is worth nearly £100 million to the Scottish economy every year and is a vital part of our tourist industry.
"As the home of golf, Scotland boasts some of the finest and most famous courses in the world. We have over 500 courses and clubs in convenient city or stunning rural locations that cater for every taste and price range.
"In the past our first class assets have been underused and their potential to attract tourists has not been fully developed. One of the key aims of the Tourist Strategy, which I launched in February, was to address the under performance of tourism by developing 'niche marketing', particularly in areas such as golf and genealogy.
"The launch of the golf strategy today opens a new chapter in Scottish tourism. From now on we will be aggressively marketing our world class facilities and aiming to secure more prestigious events like The Open and Ryder Cup.
"We will also be looking to improve the quality of the typical golf holiday through training initiatives and new investment in the infrastructure.
"I am delighted that Europe's number one golfer, Colin Montgomerie is backing the strategy and I'm sure with his continued support we can raise the profile of Scottish golf to new levels.
"A great golf course with a priceless history must no longer be accompanied by second rate service and sub-standard off-course amenities. That is a package tour to failure. A world class welcome must back our world class golf. To fail on this is to squander a priceless asset and consign our tourism industry to the second division.
"I am confident that the initiatives outlined in the Golf Strategy will have a major impact on tourist numbers, bring more jobs and prosperity to the Scottish economy and ultimately help secure the long-term future of the game".
A New Strategy for Scottish Golf Tourism aims to:
  • Develop new marketing campaigns for Scottish golf involving spending of up to £500,000 by the Scottish Tourist Board;
  • Invest in business development through a further £400,000 from Scottish Enterprise and £250,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise;
  • Appoint a new National Golf Tourism Development Manager to lead the implementation of the Strategy;
  • Focus on attracting more women and children to the courses in Scotland;
  • Implement training packages to assist golf clubs with marketing, business planning and service;
  • Establish regional golf development groups to improve the service to visiting golfers throughout Scotland;
  • Develop the network of 'golf classic' events to improve access for visitors to attractive golf packages;
  • Provide support for the development of infrastructure and facilities for visitors in Scotland's golf clubs;
  • Improve the industry's market intelligence by researching golf markets and golf consumer;
  • Identify new channels through which to promote Scottish golf to consumers, including its two main websites and;
  • Introduce new research methods to monitor the way golf tourism is measured and therefore the progress of the Strategy.
The launch of the Golf Strategy was also welcomed by Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport, Rhona Brankin. She said:
"Today's announcement is a landmark for Scottish golf and presents the sport with an excellent opportunity to grow and prosper in the future.
"By aiming to attract more golf tourists the strategy will strengthen the game nationally, help develop facilities and give more young people the chance to make a career from the sport.
"I am delighted that the strategy also makes a clear commitment to bringing more world class events like The Open and Ryder Cup to Scotland. These prestigious competitions will build on the high profile which Scottish golf currently enjoys, mainly thanks to the success of Colin Montgomerie.
"When the golf strategy begins to pay dividends I think we can look forward to a stronger game in Scotland and a new generation of young people enthusiastically taking up the game".

11th of July 2000...