According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, one of the major trends in the tourism industry is “increased looking and booking online.” International travelers are increasingly using the internet to plan their holidays and book their accommodations.
For tourism enterprises, this means that a strong presence online is more important than ever. Unfortunately, small-scale and mid-sized accommodations often lack the technological infrastructure needed to position themselves online and reach the global marketplace.
Through its “market place operators” such as Outdoor Albania, World Hotel Link hopes to bridge the technological gap between locally-owned accommodations and online consumers worldwide. Small business owners now have the opportunity to list their accommodation on a destination website, and they have the additional option of a high-quality hotel website in English with high results in search engines such as Google.
World Hotel Link’s destination websites cover three geographical regions of Albania: Shkoder and the North, Tirana and the East, and coming soon: Saranda and the coast. In addition to listing accommodations and offering instant online booking services, these websites also contain a wealth of tourist information. They provide travelers with information about activities, restaurants, events, and transportation. Each site’s traffic has been increasing steadily, with an average of 3,093 total weekly pageviews during the months of July and August.
“We are promoting the 'real' Albania, and we are looking for small family- run hotels, guesthouses or sustainable hotels which are interested in a free listing of their accommodation on one of our websites.” says Laura Payne, co-founder of Outdoor Albania. “Our goal is to bring as much economical gain to small scale accommodations as possible. With WHL, we create a win-win situation.”
One success story is Hotel Lugano in Tirana. Through its listing on the the WHL Tirana destination page and on its WHL hotel website, Hotel Lugano secured numerous bookings during the summer 2010 season. Most importantly, Hotel Lugano is findable to those who search for it online. When “hotel lugano tirana” is entered in a google search box, the destination site and the hotel website appear among the top ten results.
To see how the accommodation listings appear online, visit the three destination websites at www.travel-tirana.com, www.shkoder-albanian-alps.com and www.albanian-coast.com.