Hoteliers empowered with basic social media marketing skills
March 8, 2013
Hoteliers empowered with basic social media marketing skills

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) this week hosted a three-day training session, with the aim of lifting the standards of the country’s hotel sector and tourism services.{{more}}

Avanelle DaSilva, the Quality Development manager at SVGTA, stated that the training programme was designed to teach hoteliers the basics of marketing their business; to highlight aspects of marketing through social media and to be a review for persons who were familiar with marketing strategies.

DaSilva noted that marketing is a very important part of any sector and that there are many small properties in St Vincent whose owners may not have necessarily studied marketing.

“Social media is the biggest trend right now in terms of marketing; it’s one of the most inexpensive ones also,” DaSilva noted.

Marketing via social media seemed to be the interest of most participants, as they understand the role of the Internet today.

Jan Fernandez, owner of the Time Out Café, said she believed it was a way to help get St Vincent on the map.

“It (social media) is the way forward,” Fernandez said.

The café owner stressed that training programmes of this type are important, as they enable business owners to learn, which in turn promotes the tourism industry in St Vincent.

“We need to try to get St Vincent on the map and seen as a great destination,” she said.

President of the Hotel and Tourism Association Kim Halbich was also in attendance and shared similar views.

Halbich stated that she decided to attend the training, so that she can be more informed about using social media as a marketing mechanism, which she can in turn pass on to the association’s membership.

Also the managing director of Paradise Beach Hotel and Fantasea Tours, Halbich mentioned that she sees the importance of being able to market one’s business properly.

“The way the world is going, everything is happening online now,” she said. “We have to either fit in or get left behind”.

Ronald Reddock of the New Montrose Hotel told SEARCHLIGHT that the programme has shown him that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to bring the country’s industry to a level of competitiveness in the region.

“I believe that we have a good product. It’s not there yet, but we can get there,” Reddock said.

Additionally, he said that it has inspired him to do better in terms of improving the product and services that he is offering.

The main facilitator of the workshop was Jean Leacock, a freelance consultant who taught participants the basics of marketing.

James Kinna, a social media expert, also worked along with participants to deal with aspects of marketing via social media, which include Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

The training programme officially ran from February 25 to February 27, with February 28 being for one-on-one sessions with the main facilitator.

Funding for the traning was provided by the European Development Fund.(BK)