Northern Tourism stakeholders are getting ready to promote hotel packages using the best practices of Digital Marketing suites for the new normal

Accommodation Sector Tourism Stakeholders in the Northern Province were provided with a comprehensive knowledge on Digital Marketing to promote their hotels in the new normal by the EFECS Project. Two-days’ workshop on Promoting hotel packages using Digital Marketing was conducted by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing under the guidance of Northern Province Tourism Bureau on 21st & 22nd Jan 2021 at Green Grass Hotel, Jaffna, 25th & 26th Jan 2021 at Julie Reception, Mannar and 27th & 28th Jan 2021 at Princes Rose Hotel, Vavuniya.

The training idea was generated based on the Tourism Value Chain Study conducted in 2019 and the Need Assessment conducted in the 2020. This activity was performed as a step of the Emergency Work Plan developed to restart Northern Tourism.

Participants are getting registered with the programme ensuring the pandemic guidelines….

“As per our recent research, 46% of Tourism MSMEs use the support of third parties and online booking engines to capture tourists. Lack of knowledge on the right use of booking engines and managing reviews and complaints were revealed as MSMEs challenges. So, our study recommended to conduct Education Programmes on Effective Use of Digital Marketing for Tourism” said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Tourism Value Chain Officer of the EFECS Project briefing the objectives of the training programme.

Tourism Value Chain Officer, EFECS Project welcoming the participants for the programme….

She further elaborated that 29% of the Digital Media usage is from Accommodations and Amenity service providers. So, the MSME Challenge was the Poor knowledge on Instagram, websites, and social media activities and therefore, a decision was taken to conduct Training Programmes on Digital and Social Media Marketing to expand the revenues using modern technology.

Mr. Sharanyan Sharma introducing himself for the audience on behalf of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing…

The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) is the apex body for Sri Lankan Marketers, which was founded in 1970 and subsequently incorporated by an act of Parliament in 1980, recognizing it as the National Body for Marketing. SLIM is mandated to uplift the Marketing profession in Sri Lanka, thus providing Marketing studies and conducting many National level events and projects.

Mr. Sharanyan Sharma, Award Winning Entrepreneur, Digital Marketing Trainer, Ecommerce Consultant – FORBES 2000 & Fortune 500 Listed Companies lead the programme using his specialised skills in SEO, E-commerce, and SEM. He is a certified SEO Consultant, Trainer, Google Certified AdWords Qualified Individual warded as the Emerging Entrepreneur of The Year Sri Lanka – 2013. He is a professional trainer recognised by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing.

Trainer, motivating the business community towards the change in New Normal….

“Your products and services are the Goldmines for your customers. But do they know that you already exist to solve their business challenges? As a certified Digital Marketing Trainer, I sternly believe that my clients are the ultimate advocate of my brands” stated Mr. Sharma welcoming the audience. 

Trainer, interacting with the audience……

Department of Cooperative Development Northern Province who pioneered in developing the community-based tourism products in the rural sector also participated for this programme to obtain proper knowledge on digital marketing strategies that can be effectively used for the cooperative sector developments.

Representatives from the District Secretariat ICT Division also attended the programme in order to enhance their knowledge on Digital Marketing required for Accommodation Sector in the New Normal.

“Based on the Impact and Need Assessment conducted by EFECS Project in Northern Province after the Covid 19, Project developed the Emergency Work Plan and Domestic Tourism initiative as a Livelihood Diversification Strategy for the SME Hotels and Restaurant” explained Ms. Abeynayake presenting the proposed “Real North Destination Marketing Campaign” for the northern hoteliers.

She further stated that “The Real Northern” campaign was developed and will be implemented through Facebook and Instagram channels. There, the project identifies the practical requirement of training the SME Hotels and Restaurant owners/managers regarding the importance of Digital Marketing to make this effort a success and sustainable.

 Tourism Value Chain Officer (Tourism) presenting The Real North Destination Marketing Campaign focussed on Northern Province, Sri Lanka to re-boost tourism…

Training was provided a complete review on marketing and it’s importance for the Tourism Industry. Mostly on how to create their own social media, websites and media boosting for busines amplification as well as on how to measure the ROI gained from Social Media.

Providing safe hospitality as per the pandemic guidelines….

Northern Province Tourism Bureau officials, interacting with the stakeholders….

Participants commenting about the programme in the feedback forms…

The event was organised by the team of Northern Tourism Bureau, Mr. V. Sinthujan & Mr. K. Hershanth Market Development Officers from EFECS Project which is a joint development project between SANASA International and Desjardins International Development under the financial support of Global Affairs of Canada. Mr. Anujan, Northern Province Coordinator for Association of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Tourism also actively engaged with the programme.

Hoteliers expressing their views on the programme…….

Assisting the participants for the practical assignments in Digital Marketing…

Participants presented their digital marketing strategy under the given framework and the organisers evaluated and commented on the strategy with the participation of the digital experts represented from Extreme SEO Solutions.

Presenting the Proposed Digital Marketing Strategies for the individual hotels….

Evaluating the Proposed Digital Marketing Strategies….

53 hoteliers including the front office staff and the owners of the MSME Hotels and Restaurants in Northern Province were trained on effective management of digital and social media in order to improve the business during the difficult pandemic period adhering into a sustainable marketing approach.

With the vision of leading the nation’s efforts towards economic prosperity and the mission of establishing Marketing as the driving force to enhance business and national value, SLIM actively promotes Marketing as an essential business philosophy to facilitate the mission of establishing Marketing as the driving force which enhances business and national value alike. “I believe this programme will be one of the successful initiatives for SLIM to assist the Tourism SME sector in order to re-start their businesses in the New Normal “said Mr. Stanley Mascarenhas, Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau thanking the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing for facilitating this programme.

Mr. Stanley Mascarenhas, Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau thanking the participants and the organising committee……

“This programme will be a definite benefit for the MSME Hotels as they could actively participate with “The Real North Destination Marketing Campaign using the knowledge obtained on digital marketing” said Mr. Mascarenhas addressing the audience.

The participated SME Hoteliers obtained the knowledge on effective management of Social Media and other digital channels for business improvement in order to attract domestic as well as international travellers.