If you’re reading this, you’ve clicked a hyperlink to access this page on your digital device. You could be anywhere – on a beach, sipping a cocktail, at home, at the office. Not a piece of paper in sight. The travel trade has come far since Thomas Cook sold the first packaged tours in the 1800’s. But you’ve felt the winds of change, observed evolving consumer habits. You’ve probably welcomed and dreaded the dawn of digital. Fear not. Travel technology is one tough nut that can be cracked.
What’s the tech buzz
One key component of the travel tech revolution is the shift to a consumer-focused approach. Everything must revolve around what the client/traveller demands and expects to experience.
From experiential travel to personalised consumer experiences, you can’t feed them the same old travel fodder that used to work and expect them to stay loyal.
From the frequent flyers down to the hip, cool, cruise-loving grannies, everyone is somehow plugged into social media. They have Facebook accounts and surf the Internet for specials. My mom is 77 and she does. She also posts reviews online during and after a trip.
Time to get in on that action!
Travel marketing with tech
Some of your current challenges include: competition from OTA’s; customer acquisition; sales and marketing; effective networking with other industry professionals. Travel technology goes a long way to addressing these issues.
- Build your brand by promoting and advertising in all available media. If you can produce attractive, digitally-sophisticated content and distribute it far and wide via different digital platforms and email, you can effectively compete with other brands and OTA’s. Spice up your website with emotive videos, 360° images and interactive itineraries. Make the investment of time and capital to locate and access the tech resources and talent that best suit your goals.
- Invest in the user-experience by empowering clients with a seamless, holistic purchasing experience. From the time they choose a destination to selecting activities and other interests, support them with a messaging service during travel and follow up with a post-travel email.
- Engage with the public and prospective clients on Social Media because they’re active there, seeking recommendations, reading reviews, sharing views.
- Collaborate with tourism partners. Trade shows and face-to-face meetings are first prize; but also contribute towards building a strong, interdependent community where useful relationships develop around a common purpose. The ability to access supplier info, use their content and specials in itineraries, rank your preferred suppliers and match them with clients, to provide options for agents to personalise client itineraries, all have the power to revolutionise your business practices.
No worries, the tech is out there!
Weigh up the cost of investing in tech VS the costs of neglecting to do so: what do you think will be the conclusion?
- Consider your time and labour costs of content curation
- Consider the quality of the content you use daily
- Consider how reliable and current it is
- Consider how it is presented
- Consider how it’s accessed, managed and distributed
In an ideal world, accommodation, activity and restaurant suppliers should manage their own content. And there should be a convenient location to access this content. That way everybody wins. Enter cloud-based technology: a user-friendly digital data bank where content can be uploaded, stored, managed and accessed.
In an ideal world, the combined efforts of destination marketers and suppliers should yield a comprehensive resource pool of destination and product content. Guess what? The industry has moved on. And the most it’ll cost you, is a mind-shift and some time investment.
☁Travel tech shrinks the globe sufficiently so that we can network effectively without even being in the same room.
Tech and traveller habits
Consumer habits dictate our own practices as we try to keep pace with the rise of smart mobile phones and its increasingly tech-smart owner. We exist in an App culture where phone users want apps for pleasure, work and travel. It’s all about an improved consumer experience.
Does your brand feature prominently in the search, select and travel stages of the customer journey?
Are your offerings accessible on all devices?
Is your content available in multiple marketing and sales channels?
👈🏼Can clients view their travel info and/or itineraries on their smart phones?
The answer to all these questions should be yes. Mobile friendliness is now imperative – if you pass on this, you lose face, get left behind. The DIY traveller will leapfrog you; others will simply fall to competition.
Tech also places in your hands the wonderful tool of analytics: measurement of the effectiveness of your marketing and sales campaigns. It empowers you to learn and understand how your products perform, how to adjust your offerings to match the demand and ultimately, how to diversify and grow your business. Everything comes back to speaking to the consumer’s desires – the data helps you get it right.
Techify your everyday work
During my 6 years working as a Tours consultant, my main frustrations were the daily manual aspects of the job: the slow, laborious search for content; producing each itinerary from scratch; battling to find alternatives to my unavailable first choice accommodation; mapping self-drive routes; the list goes on. Nobody can argue this point: your business needs to save time and optimise labour. Can you get more done in less time?
Producing 10 itineraries in 1 day instead of 3 days, because you have good quality content easily and freely available, sounds like an impossible dream, but tech’s your buddy. Even if you’re using a top-notch quoting system but the content or publishing options are limited and crude, there are software integrations to implement. Select the right resource-saving technologies and optimise your operations – it will change your life and your business.
Your work shouldn’t result in the sacrifice of an organ or your sanity. You can work more efficiently and also service your tech savvy consumer the way they need. The solutions lie with tech. Progressive, innovative travel technology is the aspirin to your operator migraines. Time to take that pill and chill. OP