The impact of technology on most industries can’t be overstated—more so in the hospitality and tourism industry. After all, for at least 10 years now, we all browse reviews on TripAdvisor and search for flights, hotels, rental cars, tourist information and more online. In this age of “Google it yourself,” is there room for travel agents and traditional tourism promoters?
We asked Maricel Gatchalian-Badilla, our resource person on tourism marketing, for some tips on how tourism professionals could take advantage of this digital information explosion.Use moment marketing. Connected consumers prefer stories. Appealing stories create emotional connectedness where content invokes various emotions that range from happy to sad and everything in between. For example, pageants like Miss Universe and sports events like the UAAP are trending topics online that tourism-related businesses can use as themes for their content to generate awareness. There have been successful brands, even though they are not event sponsors, who made sure they were part of the conversation online through moment marketing.
Use different platforms. Digital marketing tools include websites, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc. Mix and match the different platforms and use the appropriate tool to catch your target customers, whether they are millennials who want to travel every month or the family that saves to travel comfortably once a year.
There are hotel chain reward systems that use mobile apps to engage their customers, for example, while aggregators like Klook (travel ticketing partner) and SweetEscape (travel photography) have tapped celebrities who have proven to be influencers on Instagram.
Execute your plans consistently. Your digital marketing strategy will only work for you if you apply it often, everyday if possible. Consider: user-generated content is now an issue that tourism marketers need to watch out for. Consumers can rave or rant about one’s services and products without your consent. As such, they can make or break your image. Take for example the recent fiasco hotels are receiving from negative posts on social media about how athletes for the Southeast Asian Games are being treated. As a post can go viral within minutes, the poor hotel can get a bad reputation based on a single post. Unfortunately, recovering from such is going to be a challenging task. As more customers rely on information from social media, tourism marketers need to take control in crafting and managing their images online—otherwise, they will be overtaken by user-generated content of which they do not have any control.
Badilla will facilitate a course titled “Tourism Marketing: Creating A Marketing Plan for your Tourism and Hospitality Business” on Feb. 7, 2020. If you want the program to be conducted exclusive to your organization, it can be customized according to your learning needs. INQ
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