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HomeNewsArchivesDepartment of Tourism Hosts Free Conferences for USVI Small Hotels

Department of Tourism Hosts Free Conferences for USVI Small Hotels

As part of the Department of Tourism’s ongoing commitment to the destination’s small hotels, it will host a two-day conference to provide marketing and technical support to hotels in the territory with 50 rooms or less. The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Windward Passage Hotel on St. Thomas and also from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 25 at The Buccaneer Hotel on St. Croix. The conferences will offer six parallel seminars each day to present small hotels with important marketing techniques to help enhance their businesses.

Led by Tourism’s public relations agency M Booth & Associates, the Public Relations 101 seminar will explain how small hotels can use media relations, relationship building and communications tools to work with the media, while the Crisis Management seminar will provide points on developing a plan to ensure accurate information is conveyed in the midst of a crisis. A third seminar, led both by M Booth and a representative from the department’s advertising agency, JWT, will discuss how to utilize search engine optimization and social media to benefit the small hotel product. JWT will also lead the Advertising & Branding 101 seminar, which will identify ways to develop and promote small hotel brands on a shoestring budget as well as highlight the value of customer relationship marketing. The Caribbean Market Manager for Expedia.com will conduct a seminar to explain how small hotels can work with online travel agencies to increase reservations through online channels. Keynote speaker and hospitality expert Alex Gibson will share his marketing expertise and knowledge with small hotels as well as offer tips for success. He is a noted professor of marketing and respected authority on the topic who has helped small hotels establish standards, develop their brands and make use of technology.
“The small hotels are the backbone of a destination, providing authentic experiences that cannot be duplicated. and add unique flavor to our tourism offerings,” said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
“Often this segment doesn’t have the resources of larger properties for marketing and advertising, so our goal is to provide them with cost effective tools that helps to level the playing field,” she said. “We are committed to ongoing support of our territory’s small hotels as part of our dedicated marketing plan for this segment.”
Last year the DOT launched a comprehensive marketing plan to promote the small hotel segment, which included the development of the evergreen Inntimate Treasures package, a 13-week ad campaign in USA Today, which will be repeated again this fall, online banner advertising, a small hotels section in the DOT’s bimonthly newsletter, separate identification for the small hotel segment on the DOT Web site, visitusvi.com, and most recently, a small hotels brochure that features photos and descriptions of all of the small hotels in the territory.
Small hotels interested in registering for the free conference should contact the Department of Tourism by Aug. 18. Hoteliers in the St. Croix district should contact Trina Soto-Clarke at 772-0357 or e-mail tsclarke@usvitourism.vi. Hoteliers in the St. Thomas/St. John district should contact Chantel Hoheb at 774-8784 or e-mail choheb@usvitourism.vi.
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