Boost to digital marketing in NI tourism sector

 B&B Ireland has secured a contract with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) to provide IT training and online marketing services to the NI Bed and Breakfast sector.  The scheme was launched in Belfast this morning by NI Tourism Minister Arlene Foster.

 Acting chief executive of B&B Ireland, Mary Doogan, says they are delighted with the decision and look forward to working with NI B&Bs.  “The scheme aims to ensure that all small tourist accommodation providers will receive support to get their businesses online and bookable by April of this year.”

 “This may sound ambitious but as consumers moved to online booking, B&B Ireland invested heavily in developing our digital marketing capacity into the success it has become, so we have the skills they need to deliver this scheme.”

 “We also believe we can have a positive impact on tourism income to Northern Ireland”, says Ms Doogan. “At present, just 40 of our 900 island-wide membership are based in NI yet our most recent figures show that online bookings to these members contributed over £700,000 to the NI economy.”

 Under the terms of the new contract 586 approved properties throughout Northern Ireland will be given all the training and assistance they need to offer an online presence and booking facility on .  They will also be part of B&B Ireland’s 2013 digital marketing campaign – in conjunction with Tourism Ireland overseas – to promote all approved properties in Northern Ireland in association with key events. This will include attending overseas promotions in all markets, e-marketing and promotional campaigns and inclusion in  across all markets.  In addition, the participating NI properties will be included in all B&B Ireland promotional material in 2014.

 The NI contract will enable the Ballyshannon-based B&B company to further develop its cross border marketing strategy, and expand its all-island approach to the online marketing of the Irish home-stay holiday experience.  B&B Ireland chairman, Michael McLoone says  the boost to business “will help the company reshape our business plan, with a view to easing the financial pressure on our current membership.”