Almost every industry is undergoing a technology-driven transformation, and tourism is no different. Tourism operators in Atlantic Canada are increasing their competitiveness by using technology effectively.
One of the most significant changes to the tourism industry in the past few years is the rapid rise of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). These websites are all-in-one reservation sites and include online booking capability for airlines, accommodations, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Some sites even include the option to book excursions and experiences at your travel destination. Many travellers are opting to use these sites to book their trips, so you have probably heard of a few of them: Priceline, Expedia, Hotwire, Booking.com, Kayak, TripAdvisor, and others. The success of OTAs can be attributed to a number of factors, such as dealing with a travel agent from the comfort of your own home, discount prices, and third-party reviews. As more and more travellers log on to these sites to plan their trips, tourism operators need to work with OTAs or risk missing out on business.
In addition, it is essential that businesses operating in the tourism industry create their own online identity. Here are some ways tourism operators are using technology to generate business.
Once a traveller has chosen a destination, the next step will often be an Internet search for accommodations, restaurants, and activities in the area. According to a 2014 Google Travel Study, 74 percent of leisure travellers and 77 percent of business travellers use the Internet to plan their trip. So if you are a tourism operator and you don’t have a website, you could be missing out on a significant amount of potential business. Your company website plays an important role in the consumer’s decision-making process, as it allows the customer to learn about your business and see visuals of your products and services.
Online booking systems
According to a 2016 survey by TrekkSoft, tour and activity providers can see anywhere from a 30 to 40 percent increase in reservations when they implement an online booking system. Thus, online booking systems are becoming essential for businesses in the tourism industry and are quickly becoming an industry standard. These systems require a well-designed, mobile-friendly website with a user-friendly interface and e-commerce capabilities. Booking systems are popular because they offer customers control and convenience, but traditional methods of booking cannot be ignored. If you are a tourism operator who wants to provide a high level of customer service and an all-encompassing customer experience, you still need to include contact information for bookings and inquiries on your site.
On average, 20 percent of travellers visit a social media site immediately before booking travel, according to a 2017 white paper from EyeforTravel and Jumpshot. Social media is a great marketing tool for tourism operators, as it offers a platform to showcase product and service images, photos taken by customers, and interactions with past, current, and potential customers. Business owners should choose their social media platforms carefully based on their target audience. Common social media channels used successfully by tourism operators include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Embracing technology is no longer optional for businesses who want to be successful in the tourism industry. However, employing technology does not always mean going with the next tech craze or most popular sites. To be successful, you must understand your customers, their buying habits, and their decision-making processes. The tourism industry is built on customer service. Providing the customer with strong in-person customer service and an online presence creates a win-win situation.
TourismTechnology.com is a strategic partnership designed to help tourism operators in Atlantic Canada improve their competitiveness. It provides operators with the skills, knowledge, and expertise you need to take advantage of online tools and resources. The site can also connect you with a tourism coordinator in your area and offer customized services such as tourism mentorship, workshops, and webinars.