Online Bookings Expected to Increase by 50% in 2004
2nd February 2004
The latest online booking figures were released today by GoIreland.com, the premier online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations. Online bookings over the Christmas period rose by 61% over the same period last year. Dr. Stewart Stephens, Managing Director of Gulliver Ireland, who operates GoIreland.com, estimates that overall bookings on GoIreland.com will increase by over 50% in 2004.
Welcoming the results, Dr Stephens said, “We are very pleased with the increase in volume of bookings made through GoIreland.com over the Christmas period and anticipate that the proportion of online bookings will continue to increase significantly over the next number of years. Our online capability is an area in which we have invested significantly and we have big plans for the future.”
GoIreland.com is Ireland's leading tourism information portal. Users travelling to and around Ireland are offered a wide choice of and the best value deals in accommodation, car hire, ferries, vacation packages and online shopping. The portal provides immediate, low cost and easy access to an extensive range of tourism products and services through an up-to-date, comprehensive database. Information provided includes accommodation, general destination information, calendar of events and sport and leisure facilities.
A key offering is the portal's accommodation reservation system that features real-time availability for almost 9,000 properties throughout the island of Ireland. GoIreland.com provides high visibility online distribution to all accommodation types regardless of size, location or technical competence. The portal's focus is the international market where US and UK users account for over 80 per cent of visitors.
Last year (2003) online bookings were worth €8.4 million, a 68% increase on the same period in 2002. According to Gulliver Ireland, 34% of total bookings in 2003 were made online, compared with 21% in 2002 and 9% in 2001. There were more than 1,950,000 accommodation searches on the Gulliver online booking system last year. Despite the dramatic growth in online bookings, most people searching for accommodation online still book directly with the premises, so online booking volumes greatly underestimate the influence of the web on booking patterns.
GoIreland.com received over 4.5 million visitors in 2003 and Dr Stephens predicts this figure will rise to 5.5 million in 2004.
Dr. Stephens added, “As can be seen from our own figures issued today, as well as from feedback we are receiving from the global tourism market, tourists are increasingly using the internet to book their travel reservations. This trend is clearly set to continue and GoIreland.com will continue to offer consumers the most cost-effective, efficient and user-friendly online tourism product on the market ”.