Tourism is an industry that, above all, serves people. The world is changing, and people are changing with it; the way they interact with each other and with businesses is constantly evolving. By Chevaun Herholdt.
As a customer-centric industry, tourism businesses need to find ways to reach as many people as possible in spaces where they feel comfortable – and that means going online. People communicate far more, and far more effectively, online than they ever have before. This means that your tourism business needs to be using digital marketing to stay relevant. Let’s look at some reasons why.
1 Reviews matter
The vast majority of people do online research before they book a trip, and Tripadvisor points out that 87% of travellers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa say that reviews influence them in choosing where to book. On the other side, even more hoteliers (96%) say that reviews influence how many booking they get. People trust their peers much more than they trust companies themselves (90% trust people they know, while only 60% trust traditional advertising, according to Pomegranate), so you need to make sure that you have a positive online presence rather than a negative one or none at all.
2 People want it
Because of the growing use of mobile devices, travel agents and other tourism-related industries need to be available not only on the web, but on the mobile-accessible web. Some travellers need to book on the go, and if they do a search and don’t find your company, or your website makes it difficult to check out, you’re going to lose business. Even those that plan from home expect to be able to compare locations, prices, services, and accommodation online.
3 You can make it personal
Social media makes it possible to form long-lasting relationships with consumers for repeat business, keeping your company top of mind, and it allows travel companies to highlight the emotional side of travel. Most people travel because they want to enjoy themselves, right? Use social media to show them how that will happen and to make their trip more enjoyable.
Use KLM as an example. They have fully embraced social media; they offer customer service, give you the option to select who you want to sit next to by matching profiles, and even rewarded customers who checked in on Foursquare or Twitter with gifts – all via social media.
4 You need to stay competitive
Tripadvisor’s TripBarometer for April of 2014 found that 21% of travellers planned to spend more on travel this year, and 70% of global hoteliers feel sure they will be profitable in 2014 despite poorly performing economies. If almost two thirds of travellers use the internet to research their trip, you could lose out on a lot of revenue by not staying competitive in the digital world.
A strong online presence affects people who want to book a holiday, from the start, when they are merely imagining what they want to do, all the way to the end, when they share their experience and thus influence others. Can you really afford to miss out on that?