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Puerto Rico small inn owners launch initiative to improve digital presence

Members of the Puerto Rico Small Inns Association recently participated in the first educational session of the Island Digital Education Academy launched by Discover Puerto Rico, to support and improve the digital presence of 5,000 local businesses associated with tourism — mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The program known as La IDEA, consists of two phases, and will be directed by global marketing firm Miles Partnership, together with students from the University of Puerto Rico, the Sacred Heart University, and NUC University, who will serve as individual coaches, with a total investment of $2 million over a two-year period. Most of the funding comes from the American Rescue Act (ARPA), the association confirmed.

“The members of the Association feel very positive about the progress achieved in the first session and the opportunity we had to strengthen our presence on digital platforms such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, and others,” said Xavier A. Ramírez, president of the Association and co-owner of Combate Beach Resort in Cabo Rojo.

“In addition, the process allows us to evaluate other digital platforms that we don’t currently use, and that are important for our foreign clients, while we prepare for the second phase of the academy,” he said.

The small inn owners attended the educational workshop together with the people who manage their digital marketing systems and concluded that the “improvements are very important and will expand their exposure and visibility on the main platforms used by travelers to search for information and decide on the destination they visit and the experiences they want to have,” he said.

Meanwhile, Christian Rivera, vice president of the Association and co-owner of the Parador Guanica 1929, said “the small inns have a high-quality product that fits the local experience that the global adventure, nature, culture, gastronomy and sports traveler is looking for.”

“In addition to safe and comfortable lodging, with modern technology, our inns offer Puerto Rican gastronomy, excursions, and direct access to hundreds of natural, cultural, and historical attractions,” said Rivera.

“Discover Puerto Rico is attracting thousands of tourists to the island, and the La IDEA program will help us amplify our message and attract them to our municipalities, positively impacting hundreds of SMEs,” he said.

The La IDEA program began in the tourist region of Porta del Sol, which comprises Puerto Rico’s western region, and will be available in the 78 municipalities over the next 24 months.

Ramírez invited the more than 5,000 businesses that are registered as suppliers of goods or services on the Discover Puerto Rico website to apply to receive a free evaluation and advice, as soon as possible.

“The pandemic accelerated the need to market effectively on digital platforms and social media. Receiving an expert assessment with recommendations specific to your business, and at no cost, doesn’t happen every day,” said Ramírez.

“Once each entrepreneur completes the necessary improvements in the first phase, they will be able to choose to participate in the academy and determine how much they want to progress in digital marketing, to increase the trust of their current clients and attract many other new clients,” Ramírez said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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