Tourism comprises a mixture of geography, creativity, psychology and now, inescapably, technology. It’s also one of the fastest growing employers in the world!
We look back at the lessons learnt over a year of research, observation and learning to help retain the momentum of growing our business and pleasing our clients.
We discovered that shoving generic down our target customers’ throats works for nobody. Taking the time to establish the personas involved, we can use this to craft relevant experiences for the individual traveller.
That’s your responsibility: to identify what they like, don’t like and figure out how you can make their travel dreams a reality. Being relevant means tapping into the data that teaches you who they are and whether your destination and offering are aligned. And then communicating clearly.
When you’re in pursuit of an emotionally driven customer, your marketing needs an altruistic edge with plenty of free advice and value added to the mix. When the traveller wonders, “But what’s in it for me?” you earn more brownie points by steering clear of the constant hard sell. Instead, convey how much you care about them and how they experience your product/service. You want to answer: “We value your time. We value your trust and loyalty.” And if they give it to you, it’s because you’ve earned it.
The best way to tap into this emotional response is to provide travel content with a strong visual bias: emotive imagery supported by emotive descriptions. Tell the story of your experience with your client as the hero. Playing a strategic game with travel imagery, the audience you wish to attract will relate more to a video showing people enjoying an activity in your destination than to a run-of-the-mill pretty landscape pic.
Travel buyer experience
How much service can you pack in? Your target customer increasingly expects you to be accessible before, during and after travel. A direct messaging service can make you far more attractive than a competitor that offers a similar experience to yours without the messenger service.
How much of an end-to-end experience can you offer? Your client has sought you out for what and who you know, so as to avoid as far as possible having to book activities, restaurants and source local info themselves. Follow up that holistic service with comprehensive travel info and documentation at the ready, and you’ve provided your client with a better buyer experience.
Do you still feel far too often that there aren’t enough hours in your workday? Travel tech makes your job easier, so just use it! There’s no reason you cannot generate proposals of high quality, quickly and efficiently when the software that can help you do that already exists.
Still digging around the Internet for hours trying to get your hands on some decent travel content? That’s so last decade… Cloud storage is your friend. All you need to do is get your preferred product suppliers on board – they really should be the ones managing their own content since they know their products better than you do.
Software integrations can enhance the work of separate systems used for itinerary building, quoting, booking and payment. By investing in integrations, you also eliminate time spent sourcing quality content, because it will already be there, at your fingertips.
Finally, you win back time for your entire team to devote to clients by investing a system of organised expertise, product information, sales assets and marketing content. Convenient access helps boost your efficiency.
Networking in tourism is nothing new, but now you can do it virtually constantly in the cloud. Cloud computing enables you to pool resources with your trade partners provided they share and operate in the same space. You and your trade partners can collaborate on offerings and joint marketing campaigns, effectively reuniting the fragmented trade.
When your preferred suppliers have specials running, you should be able to incorporate those easily into your offerings. If you happen to target a Spanish-speaking market, you should recreate winning tour itineraries in Spanish. Being able to add translated supplier content to those itineraries is a major bonus.
Death to the tech dinosaur
Travellers live their lives increasingly glued to a mobile device, consuming on the go. The ability to interact with travel content as they imagine themselves inside the story you’re trying to sell has moved on from novelty into the realm of expectation. For this reason, travel research must be simplified, digitised and comprehensive, in contrast to the outdated mess of disparate content bits all over the show.
The growing App culture is a warning of more to come – time to look into adding it to your service and marketing mix, whether you invest in a messaging service, chat bot or distribution tool.
Don’t get left behind as the world moves on and travellers demand digital content at their fingertips.
For sizable chunk of your target markets, you don’t exist if your brand has no or meagre presence online and on social media. To prove to potential clients that you’re no Mickey Mouse outfit, you must invest in consistent brand representation and reputation management across all digital platforms. The same content that displays on your own website, must display on any third party sites you distribute to, as well as on your social media pages. People want to know whom they’re dealing with; so, get your staff involved and engaged in developing your brand online.
Remember: in the travel game, image is everything!
We hope you’ve seen your business grow this past year. Let’s celebrate the wins, acknowledge the lessons, and keep an open mind for 2017.