As tourism businesses you have to engage with the tools that you have at your disposal. You have to understand these social tools, learn their strengths for your particular businesses and then deploy them to interact and attract new customers.
You have to use this new technology if only to make it all a bit more exciting.
The world is pretty well connected so your customers can be logging into systems that connect them to your reservations systems.
Where are these customers coming from? From another continent, around the corner or out of the sky? It does not matter. What matters is that you are visible on multiple devices, systems and networks ready to do business now. You need to be as close to the customer as possible.
Every connection you have with a customer gives you the potential to turn that customer into a brand ambassador. If you give the customer what they want then they will in turn let others know about it, so the path from customer to ambassador can be as easy as they want to do it, or it can be incentivised. “Like me” and you will get a discount off you next booking. Share your experience and we will give you a further discount. These “check-ins” “posts” and “comments” are live, and because of that, they are more believable.
Encouraging customers to engage is essential to this process. Reminding people to “check-in” on Facebook and post images is fine. Even better is giving them the amazing experiences that they will want to share. This co-creation of content is very important because it adds a credibility to the product that can be hard to achieve from internal sources. This co-creation of content is your customers becoming brand ambassadors and helps to build your future customer base.
With the advent of the web, blogging and social media, now everyone needs to become a publisher. Give your customers the experiences that they will want to publish and encourage them to share those experiences globally.
As product and activity owners you need to build a strategy around the co-creation model. Ask yourself what it is that you want your customers to co-create? What message are you trying to send out?
How do you define a customer experience?
- Customers strive for unique experiences
- They buy expectations
- Competitive advantage can only be obtained by providing experiences and creating added value.
The modern tourist is a E-Tourist and this means that you need to address these three issues
- Any where – they want to have options on destinations
- Any device – must work on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile
- Any time – available 24 hours a day, even on a skydive
The operator in turn needs to manage the following
- Dreaming – This is where the customer has seen some co-created content and has the seed planted
- Planning – They are now engaged, looking at options. You want to have the added value to make yourself distinctive and stand out from the competition
- Booking – Make it easy
- On-site Experience – Make the holiday memorable. Create the perfect experiences.
- Sharing – Encourage further co-creation and sharing
Operators should go as far as to create a TO DO list that addresses the above process and divides it into three distinct areas:
- DURING TRAVEL
- POST TRAVEL
The key to the future is a digital vision and a plan that includes the use of technology to engage with your customers. It is no longer acceptable to only focus on traditional and outdated methods of marketing, booking and engagement. It is not the way that modern customers want to build a relationship.