Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Ingrid Arrindell, says that she is fully committed to getting the job done and ensuring that the upcoming 2016/2017 high season will be one that shows increased demand for destination Sint Maarten.
“Tourism is our one and only economic pillar and we must do all within our power between the Government of Sint Maarten and the private sector to safeguard such. I have received the latest report on the continued efforts of getting the marketing of Sint Maarten back on track.
“Improvements continue to be made and the numbers speak for themselves. With the addition of the soon to be launched Sint Maarten Tourism Authority (STA), our opportunities are endless and getting Sint Maarten back to its rightful place on the Tourism Map,” Minister Ingrid Arrindell shared on Sunday.
Results for the period Year-To-Date (YTD) July 2016 Expedia and TripAdvisor online marketing initiatives have shown significant increase in online bookings, Minister Arrindell disclosed.
Expedia one of the largest online booking engines and TripAdvisor the largest information site are part of an initiative by the Government of Sint Maarten and the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).
This initiative was launched in May 2016 to generate an increase in demand from the North American market and has shown to be extremely effective in generating bookings for Sint Maarten.
Information generated from Expedia indicates the following:
Revenue: although there is some softness in revenue in September and December we are still seeing an overall double digit growth of +14%, with monthly growth of up to 65%.
Although there is a tendency in hotels lowering Average Daily Rate (ADR) in the summer months, we still saw a positive ADR growth in June, July and August of up to 31%, and a small decrease of 4% in September.
Room Nights: again, great double digit growth of +23% with softness in December but we still have time to recover as we get closer to the booking window. Note that although the overall softness for December is due to a decrease in hotel only bookings, there was a lift of +36% in package production.
Passenger: US passenger production for Sint Maarten since the campaign started is just fantastic to see a +36% Year over Year (YoY) growth.
June 28th Hotel Search Tab Takeover: what a success, with unprecedented record booking for the month of June! With an amazing lift of 138% in passenger and 296% in Room Nights, this is a true testament to the power of exposure on the Expedia platforms that combined with the efforts from the hotels to provide their best offers, created the optimal environment for branding and conversion.
The campaign is being watched closely by the Expedia team and it’s pacing very well. Impressions are being delivered nicely and CTRs (click-through-rate) are at or above benchmarks.
For TripAdvisor, in July, the Sint Maarten campaign was on full tilt. All metrics on the campaign delivered increases across the board: Page views on the Sint. Maarten Home Page, up 65% YoY; Page views up 178%, from June 2016; Number Reviews of Sint Maarten are up 3% YoY; Interaction Rate up 13% Month over Month; and Click through Rate on Media on Page is 1.54% – a 33% increase over the Caribbean average!
Minister Arrindell also mentioned that the Ministry is constantly thinking outside of the box and are committed to the public private initiatives and are working with all of the stakeholders in the industry as well as engaging in cooperative marketing strategies to put Sint Maarten again in the spotlight.
Finally, these excellent results reflect directly in the coffers of the Government of Sint Maarten with an increase of 24% in the Room Tax Revenue.