248% Increase in Irish Tourists Booking Irish Holidays Online
A significant growth in visitor traffic this year has seen GoIreland.com’s total online bookings for January to May 2004 increase by 107 per cent on last year. GoIreland.com, the premier online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations, released its latest online booking figures today (Tuesday, 29th June 2004).
It reported that more than 23,000 people have been accommodated through GoIreland.com to date in 2004 which was valued at €1.6 million. This represents a total of 7,750 bookings made through the website. The website is averaging 50,000 unique visitors per week there has been an increase of 80% in booking engine searches on the same period last year.
The number of Irish users booking home holidays on GoIreland.com has increased dramatically – up by 248 per cent on the same period last year. This is a significant development for domestic tourism, which now accounts for 23 per cent of GoIreland.com bookings. The UK accounted for 22 per cent of bookings while 26 per cent were from the US.
Online bookings from the US have increased by 75 per cent while those of mainland UK visitors grew by 66 per cent. Online visitor numbers from Northern Ireland are up 109 per cent and online bookings from Australia increased by 218 per cent on the same period last year.
GoIreland.com also reported that 40 per cent of accommodation bookings were made for hotels and a further 40 per cent were for Bed & Breakfasts. Guesthouse bookings increased by 85 per cent, hotel bookings grew by 118 per cent and online bookings for country homes are up 128 per cent.
Growth in other accommodation categories saw online bookings to hostels increase by 136 per cent and university accommodation bookings grew by 192 per cent. The average booking value for serviced accommodation is €188 and €473 for self-catering accommodation.
Dr. Stewart Stephens, Managing Director of Gulliver Ireland, which operates GoIreland.com, welcomed the results by saying, “We are very pleased with the increase in the volume of bookings made through GoIreland.com. It’s great to see that the increase in bookings is spread right across the range of accommodation categories from B&Bs to hotels, and from all of our key visitor countries.”
“The figures highlight the increasing use of the Internet by tourists to research and book their visits to Ireland. Our strategy of ongoing investment in GoIreland.com has ensured that the portal has experienced strong growth in bookings and develops its reputation as the leading online window for Irish tourism businesses and the leading consumer site for tourist information and reservations. We’re particularly happy at the growth in domestic bookings. Irish people know what to look for in a home holiday and this increase reflects the range and value we have to offer. The reason we have so much availability is our transparent commission model – we don’t rip off our suppliers, and they know it.”
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.
Last year online bookings were worth €8.4 million which was a 68 per cent increase on the same period in 2002. According to Gulliver Ireland, 34 per cent of total bookings in 2003 were made online, compared with 21 per cent in 2002 and 9 per cent 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.