Google tools available to tourism operators
More Pacific Island destinations should take advantage of free online tools such as Google’s new global programme for Destination Marketing Organisations to enhance their digital presence.
Miles Partnership (South Pacific) New Zealand general manager, Chris Adams, gave an overview of how learning to upload fresh content, flag errors and destination updates is now easier and more effective at making information more accessible to prospective customers.
“Google has reached out to destinations regarding free online tools. It’s not about how big your marketing budget is – it’s about how innovative you are in a flexible and powerful way,” he said.
Most people search for information on their mobile phones, which Mr Adams said justifies the need for people to change how they can make accurate data more accessible. An increasing number of people are using the voice search feature to search for information online.
Mr. Adams said Google Business is also a free online resource that is under-utilised by the tourism industry in the Pacific Islands, especially the use of Google Street view (with the exception of Tonga) which is available to anyone
“Google Street view covers many countries in the world but its not widely used in the Pacific, in a place like Samoa that doesn’t have street names or site signage, picture recognition to find a place may be a good way for tourists to find their destination.
“Train locals on how to capture pictures on an ongoing basis. It’s got great value beyond tourism such as disaster management and cataloguing climate change,” he added.
Google also has a new platform to allow destinations to upload a set of updates in photos, videos, gallery of videos and unlike social media platform such as Facebook – and there are no constraints on its organic reach.
Mr. Adams said the technology is available for local tourism operators to get views at no cost.
“Hundreds of destinations are using it. Hotels are posting about their conservation initiatives in videos and images. People promote their events and its completely free. They get hundreds of thousands of views and you can do it all from your mobile straight on to Google,” he added.