Tourism body uses Google to boost image

The Samoa Tourism Authority has signed up to a Google programme that it hopes will improve Samoa’s online content as a destination for both visitors and local residents.

The S.T.A. Chief Executive Officer Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua confirmed the move when queried by the Samoa Observer, saying it is called the Google Destination Optimisation programme.

He said the programme started last month and is scheduled to be completed by the end of June this year.

According to the S.T.A. chief, the programme will improve the quality of destination content and information for visitors and locals, as well as expand the online reach of tourism businesses and enhance the overall presentation of the destination across the Google platform.

Furthermore, he said the programme will conduct a detailed analysis of business information, including the verification status of ‘discovered’ businesses currently listed on Google Maps.

Google Travel Guides and audit of the top sites that appear within each will also be analysed. 

Additionally missing information from business listings will be added and the accuracy of Google Maps will be fine-tuned. The programme will also create destination content within maps using maps lists and get promoted via related website content.

Virtual destination content using Google Earth will also be created to support content and marketing initiatives.

The programme will also include industry education to help tourism businesses understand, optimise and measure their exposure within Google products. 

Faamatuainu said that the industry being made aware and understanding is crucial to this initiative, with training rolled out for operators with the usual working partnership and collaboration.

He said the goal is to improve awareness and use of digital marketing tools by the tourism industry.

“[And] achieve increased and sustained organic reach and facilitate travel planning by consumers, and we are therefore grateful for the support of the New Zealand Government for supporting this initiative,” he said.

The S.T.A. is also working with Miles MEDIA from New Zealand on the programme with the firm dealing with websites for the travel and tourism sector, while also addressing the unique content and technology needs of destination management organisations, tourism operators and other various stakeholders.

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