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Middle East hotels hooking up to social media to book more business

Hoteliers and hospitality providers across the Middle East and North Africa region are increasingly using social media to attract visitors.

Hoteliers and hospitality providers across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region are increasingly using social media to attract visitors.

About 40 per cent of hotel bookings in Dubai are made online, according to an industry report conducted by The Hotel Show at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

About 80 per cent of hotels report direct, tangible results from their increased use of social media and digital marketing in the past year.

“Hotels in the region are beginning to show greater interest in digital systems for a variety of uses, from improved ways of online booking as well as brand marketing in a cost-effective way,” said Alexander Barder, the regional director of business development at Sabre Hospitality Solutions.

“Increased use of advanced digital systems can also result in more efficiency for revenue management as well as in house communication,” he said.

Social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor enable hoteliers to market their properties and services directly to potential customers.

Online travel bookings in the region are expected to reach US$15.8 billion next year as travellers become more comfortable with buying flights and holidays online.

“Interest in UAE accommodations on TripAdvisor has increased 15 per cent year on year,” said Dan Cross, territory manager of Mena at TripAdvisor for Business. “Hoteliers can monitor their online reputation, respond to reviews and make use of our widgets to showcase their property’s TripAdvisor content on their own sites.”

According to TripAdvisor the UAE is attracting an increase in traveller interest on the site from inbound markets such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

“Globally we have experienced great interest and growth from the hospitality industry but not yet within the Mena region,” said Walid Driss, the client partner at Facebook Middle East.

“As with any innovation it takes time to adopt new technologies …but we are looking forward to support the industry and its digital growth as we work to establish our local presence further.”

thamid@thenational.ae

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