As this year comes to a close, resolve to learn the lessons that will help you dig out new opportunities in the year ahead.
Travellers have their pick of accommodation types, day tours, excursions and activities, and the increasing popularity of cruising, train travel, and mobile accommodation in different forms poses huge challenges for product suppliers to get a piece of the action.
Resolve to be relevant
Luxury has undergone a re-birth: to the modern traveller, it is now about getting to do what they can’t do at home but fantasise about. This is a buyer’s market – you’re compelled to address client needs and travel desires before you push your own agenda; or find clever ways to marry the two.
Product development must be customer-driven. Knowing what motivates a person to travel or stay at a particular accommodation is super important. They’re driven emotionally, socially, psychologically, ethically, even environmentally – the crowds won’t arrive if we continue to promote what we’ve always done.
The beach resort lovers still want that pristine, deserted beach experience but they want it responsibly; so if they want to get involved in clearing rubbish from a beach, factor that into your offering. Profile your clients, so that you can get creative and provide value-adds that are relevant to them.
Resolve to develop a content strategy
Put the traveller into the story of your experience, and use visually rich imagery to tease and titillate the senses, complemented by succinct descriptions. Showcase all that delicious content in a way that your audience can interact with, clicking their way through hi-res images, professional video media and even some raw footage taken by your clients. This amounts to persuasive content that speaks directly to your target customer, inviting them to explore your offerings virtually.
A place of accommodation can be the portal to a destination, making it crucial to destination marketing. So, resolve to engage with trade partners in the vicinity, hospitality and transport companies, and other relevant service providers, to jointly promote the destination. Remember that competition may make us faster, but collaboration will make us all better, and tell a more holistic story.
Resolve to improve the travel buyer journey
There are many touch points during this journey where you should be present. It’s broadly understood as good customer service, but its value is so deep that it can make or break your relationship with your clients and your reputation. Removing frustrations from the client’s path results in more convenience and, ultimately, earn your brand greater loyalty. Resolve to offer as much of a one-stop-shopping experience for them as possible.
Keep the old school guest in mind for their traditional creature comforts and love of paper but remain ever alert to your growing base of tech savvy clients. Resolve also to accommodate the various language groups among your target markets with translated, accessible product content.
Resolve to be more efficient
From quicker response times to enquiries and complaints with direct messaging, to ensuring our content is always easily accessible in a convenient format to clients, the right digital tools enable you to work quickly without sacrificing quality. Resolve to make your best content available to trade partners, so that they sell your products better and put your products into more sales. You will have more time to attend to your guests and trade clients.
Resolve to investigate your business’ compatibility with software integrations that enhance your reservations process.
Resolve to collaborate better with the trade
The better you engage with your community of tourism professionals, the more exposure you’re likely to benefit from, the more visibility your brand enjoys. Resolve to share information and cement your common marketing goals. Update your product images, specials, videos, virtual tours, and descriptions regularly so that our partners always have the latest correct information to use in their itineraries.
Your trade partners will battle without your input, while you risk being misrepresented if you leave it up to them to source content for your products from alternative sources. Resolve to collaborate on joint offerings that respond better to the client’s desire for a fully immersive experience of the destination.
Resolve to develop online brand presence
Understand the power of social media in travel and its role in marketing. Not having a solid presence makes your brand pretty much invisible to an exponentially growing global audience. Resolve to represent your brand consistently across channels, from your website to social media. In particular, invest in Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as these are currently the most popular platforms for video sharing and travellers are increasingly choosing travel based on video.
Tourism evolves as the traveller evolves. Resolve to evolve along with both. It’s exciting how the digital age makes the world seem smaller and everywhere seems more accessible. It means you can have stronger, closer relationships within the travel community and with travellers.
Our industry is employing more people, generating more revenue for our national coffers, and we’ve already been proven to effectively promote peace around the world! Here’s looking forward to another year of growing tourism together.