Venture Southland tourism digital marketer Maree Davidson checks out Southlandnz on Facebook.

TOURISM business operators are lining up for tips on how to promote themselves in the online world.

A full house of 20 attended a Venture Southland (VS) digital marketing workshop last week, with the overflow attending a second workshop yesterday. The workshops were led by VS tourism digital marketer Maree Davidson.

She said her message to participants was the need to have an integrated marketing approach and use “multiple channels in the digital space”. That included a good website and linking into tools such as Google my business, Trip Advisor, tourism websites and online travel agents.

“Nearly 90% of New Zealanders have internet and are using it for [holiday] research or bookings or whatever. For tourist operators, it is about being there for their customers and having that strong online presence for when their customers need them.”

Facebook was the number one social media platform in the western world, she said, with 1.54 billion users globally.

“In New Zealand there are 2 million Kiwis who use it on a daily basis, and 1.6 million of them are accessing it from their mobile phone, so having a mobile phone-friendly website is becoming increasingly important.”

The seminar also covered how to respond to negative customer reviews.

Miss Davidson said poor reviews could be a “big, scary thing”, but her advice was to turn them into an opportunity.

“It’s about how you go about responding to those reviews and promoting your business in a positive way… because the world is going to see your business whether you like it or not if you’re online.”
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