Invest NI helps local hoteliers aim for new markets

Twelve hotels from across Northern Ireland are gearing up for increased export business thanks to their participation in a new Invest Northern Ireland initiative.

The Invest NI Visa Programme is specifically targeted at the hotel industry and aims to help hotels further improve service capabilities and aid the development of a clear overseas marketing plan.

Senior representatives from the twelve local hotels recently visited the award winning and innovative Schindlerhof Hotel in Nuremburg, Germany, to learn from the experiences of proprietor Klaus Kobjoll.

Future activities will include participation in workshops delivered by Professor Eddie Friel, former Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and now a Guest Professor in Hospitality and Tourism in the University of Niagara, USA.

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, said: “Over two million visitors per year are coming to Northern Ireland and overseas interest in the region has never been higher. Invest NI is helping local hoteliers to capitalise on this by enabling them to refine and better market their product so they can target new sales opportunities abroad.

“Local hotels can emulate the success of the Schindlerhof Hotel by learning from its innovative approach to business. By focusing on the needs of the customer, the Schindlerhof Hotel has secured return visits and invaluable word-of-mouth publicity. This has helped to build the hotel’s brand and, ultimately, its profitability.

“As well as helping hoteliers to develop a clear and focussed strategic marketing plan, the Visa Programme is also establishing a knowledge-sharing network where participants can pool ideas and information with similar growing tourism businesses both in Northern Ireland and further afield. Indeed, the recent learning visit to Germany was undertaken in conjunction with a group of similar Scottish hoteliers, strengthening ties between these two major tourist regions of the UK.”

The 12 local hotels participating in the VISA programme are:

White Horse Hotel, Londonderry

Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Co Londonderry

Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Comfort Hotel, Antrim

Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Dunadry Hotel, Dunadry, Co Antrim

Kilmorey Arms Hotel, Kilkeel, Co Down

Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down

Mahons Hotel, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh

Bushmills Inn Hotel, Bushmills, Co Antrim

Valley Hotel, Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone

Londonderry Arms Hotel, Carnlough, Co Antrim