Joint SPTO/CDE e-Marketing Support Initiative to Elevate SME Accommodation Operators to the Next Level

Savusavu & Labasa SME Accommodation providers participating in the SME e-Marketing Support Workshop.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), together with the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), hosted the SME e-Marketing Support Workshop for Accommodation providers in Savusavu from August 13 SME operators from Labasa and Savusavu.

The half-day workshop session was the first of five private-sector-accommodation specific workshop sessions being undertaken by the SPTO within the framework of the cost sharing agreement of the Private Sector Tourism SME Accommodation Development contract with the CDE. With the technical expertise provided by Hotel Link Solutions, this capacity building exercise is a continuation of the SME e-Marketing Support programme carried out in Fiji (Yasawa) in 2011 as a result of an agreement between SPTO and the CDE.

The workshop was organised with the main objective of enhancing the e-marketing aspects and capabilities of SME Accommodations through the provision of a booking engine to assist with their online marketing and facilitate their interaction and connection with both local and international tourist source markets. While the workshop has provided the participants with an update on the online travel trend globally, it also introduced participants to the latest online e-Marketing tools that they can use to benefits their businesses such as a custom made e-commerce website (free-of-charge and funded by the project).

Hotel Link Solutions consultant Mr. Rob Shortland confirmed that so far there are about 10 SME accommodation operators already signing up and more operators were expected to join the programme in the weeks ahead. The team also had the chance to talk to members of Savusavu Tourism Association (STA) who are very keen to embed an online booking functionality into the current tourism association website to complement and enhance the individual accommodation operators e-commerce once built.

Lorna Eden, a Managing Director of Hotsprings Hotel and a longtime member of STA, commended SPTO and CDE for their recent SME initiative. “This project is a godsend to small operators and we are grateful for their support since a number of resorts have signed up and we hope to induct more over the next couple weeks” said Mrs. Eden. She acknowledged the positive results of the SME project in places like Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands and she had high hopes that Savusavu and Labasa will follow suit.

“This SME e-Marketing Support project supports the Government of Fiji Look North Policy and the smallest SME accommodation operators in Savusavu and Labasa are targeted and stand to benefit from this good initiative”, SPTO Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ilisoni Vuidreketi confirmed.