Damian Cook is the CEO of a company called E-Tourism Frontiers and has vast experience of working with Kenya Tourism board as well as over 30 different destinations in and across Africa, Middle-East and South East Asia. During his session at MKTE 2017 on Kenya Tourism in the digital market place, he talked about travel-trade industry in Kenya can leverage digital platforms.
Digital works effectively when it is used just not just by the government by the travel-trade on effectively maintaining relationships with their customers. Damian is advising KTB on a new digital strategy for promoting the destination.
Evolution of Digital in Travel
- Phase 1 – High street and Brochure driven shopping (by Suppliers and Travel agents)
- Phase 2 – The Rise of Online Bookings (OTAs and Airlines)
- Phase 3 – Direct Inbound (Search + Suppliers)
- Phase 4 – User Driven Business (Social Media + Customers)
Experience of travellers in-terms of UGC (user generated content) is now a critical part of the marketing process.
Travel is online
The core essence of online is Travel.
- 63% of all travel is now research, booked bought and sold online
- 50% of online travel sales involved more than one device
- 300 + reviews per minute posted on TripAdvisor
TravHQ Note: As a travel-trade industry professional, you need to identify and look at Google reviews for a hotel and destinations.
Global Market Challenges
- Tour Operator driven model is diminishing
- KPMG lists 49% of Pos as in decline and 24 major POs bankrupted in 2011-15 including Thomas Cook
- European Charter Market drops to 2%
- Online regarded as motivating factor
Key attributes of Millenial Travellers
- Are you ready for them?
- Avoid anything referring to ‘tourists’ and destinations regarding as ‘attractions’
- Are traveller seeking experiences and those words matter
- May not want to stay in hotels
- May never have children
Selfie culture is here to stay even though selfies kill more people than wild animals
Understanding selfie psychology
- Look where I am (Destination)
- Look who I am with (Demographics)
- Look what I am doing (Interest)
It’s a gradual shift from hiring marketing companies to whom you used to pay for the brochure photographs etc. Now hotels have got customers who are using their smartphones to create visual content for them and put them on social media. The more photogenic your food is, more likely people are to create photos.
Don’t tell them about your product … show them your product
TravHQ note: Damian’s workshop is in-line with the series of workshop conducted by TravHQ team for destinations across India. We’ve been strongly advocating the role of digital across state-tourism boards in India and across SEA destinations.