Tourism Minister Ingrid Arrindell lyrical about marketing results

POSTED: 08/30/16 8:53 AM

GREAT BAY – Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell, says that she is fully committed to “getting the job done” and ensuring that the upcoming high season will be “one that shows increased demand for destination Sint Maarten.”

“Tourism is our one and only economic pillar and we must do all within our power between the government and the private sector to safeguard it,” Arrindell said in a press statement. “I have received the latest report on the continued efforts of getting our marketing back on track.”

According to the minister, “Improvements continue to be made and the numbers speak for themselves. With the addition of the soon to be launched Sint Maarten Tourism Authority (STA), our opportunities are endless and getting the country back to its rightful place on the tourism map.”

Results for the period year-to-date July 2016 Expedia and TripAdvisor online marketing initiatives have shown significant increases in online bookings, Minister Arrindell disclosed.

Expedia one of the largest online booking engines and TripAdvisor the largest information site are part of an initiative by the government and the hospitality and trade association SHTA.

This initiative was launched in May 2016 to generate an increase in demand from the North American market and has shown to be extremely effective in generating bookings, the minister stated.

Information generated from Expedia indicates the following according to Minister Arrindell.

“Although there is some softness in revenue in September and December we are still seeing an overall double digit growth of +14%, with monthly growth of up to 65%. There is a tendency in hotels to lower their Average Daily Rate (ADR) in the summer months, but we still saw a positive ADR growth in June, July and August of up to 31%, and a small decrease of 4% in September.”

Arrindell added that Room Nights showed “a great double digit growth of +23% with softness in December but we still have time to recover as we get closer to the booking window. The overall softness for December is due to a decrease in hotel-only bookings, but there was a lift of +36% in package production.”

The minister said that it is “just fantastic to see a +36% Year over Year (YoY) growth” in US passenger production (the arrivals of visitors from the US) since the campaign started.

The press release furthermore refers to a so-called “June 28th Hotel Search Tab Takeover” followed by this comment from the minister: “What a success, with unprecedented record booking for the month of June. With an amazing lift of 138% in passengers and 296% in room nights, this is a true testament to the power of exposure on the Expedia platforms that combined with the efforts from the hotels to provide their best offers, created the optimal environment for branding and conversion.”

The campaign is being watched closely by the Expedia team and it’s pacing very well, Arrindell furthermore stated. “Impressions are being delivered nicely and CTRs (click-through-rates) are at or above benchmarks.”

For TripAdvisor, in July, the Sint Maarten campaign was “on full tilt.” All “metrics” on the campaign delivered increases across the board: Page views on the Sint Maarten Home Page, up 65 percent; page views up 178%, from June 2016; number reviews up 3%; interaction rate up 13%; and Click through Rate on Media on Page is 1.54% – a 33% increase over the Caribbean average.

The Ministry is “constantly thinking outside of the box” and committed to public private initiatives, Arrindell stated, adding that her ministry is working with all of the stakeholders in the industry and “engaging in cooperative marketing strategies to put Sint Maarten again in the spotlight.”

Finally, these “excellent results” reflect directly on the coffers of the government with an increase of 24% in room tax revenue.

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