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Tourism - Time to reboot!

By Neil Glentworth | Chairman, GWI | Director, Community Data

We all face a new normal. The world has just rebooted, and not all features will be available when it comes back on-line. Some permissions and access we had in the past will need the administrator’s approval (government) for a while. I predict international travel will be one such feature. While we will have the means, though the cost of the travel insurance after the initial reboot may prohibit many from going on a holiday overseas.

Within Australia, my adopted home, we are blessed with a smorgasbord of travel, tourism and adventure activities. While some will have suffered beyond repair during this crisis, others have hibernated, grappling with ‘what next and how’. I intend to offer some advice on the next.

Now is the time for domestic tourism to engage with the domestic market, pivot products and services through low cost and high-value digital channels direct to the domestic consumer. Now is the time to prepare for the next and the potential of ongoing low fuel prices, making long-range domestic travel a viable option. Now is the time to capture that much-needed data and insights at scale, to work with the banks, telecommunications sector and other services to share insights.

Where do you start?

1.     Reach – Find customers. Many parts of the tourism industry have suffered from poor data and insights. Now is the time to focus on audience reach to capture and connect:

  • Run online competitions.

  • Run online activities, small videos, blogs.

  • Conduct online surveys, find out more about how you can improve your rebooted business.

  • Collaborate with tourism industry bodies and key services providers, banks, and telecommunications sector to create new insights and products.

2.     Acquire – Get them to commit. Everyone needs hope, and this current crisis will end. An open ticket sold now might just be the hope some need to plan for their ‘bucket list’ adventure.

  • Run an advance online discount.

  • Create a ‘friends of XYZ museum/attraction’ offering life long discount.

  • Work with your industry groups to aggregate fuel demand at low prices

  • Speak with the airlines about new ticket models. They will return and will value your input.

3.     Develop – Build a relationship. Own your brand and experience now. There has never been a better opportunity to use digital tools to build a customer following:

  • Create a digital diary of your activity.

  • Engage your audience by providing them with a choice.

  • Tell your story; people want to know. Get over yourself and get in front of the camera.

  • If you have the means or can collaborate, look at a remote Virtual Reality experience.

4.     Retain – Keep them interested. New exciting content is vital to keep your audience engaged:

  • Make it fun; make it contemporary.

  • Create an escape away from the current crisis.

  • Ongoing competitions.

5.     Advocate – Make them a champion for your brand. Word of mouth (WOM), their referral is a powerful thing:

  • Provide your audience with discounts for others.

  • Create digital stickers to share your brand in their social media.

  • Have your hashtag.

While every case and death of COVID-19 is tragic, we cannot be paralysed by fear. We must plan for the future. Domestic tourism is ideally placed to come together and plan for the future, using data and insights the industry can and will come back stronger. New products, businesses, new opportunities will arise from this horrid situation. Stay strong and keep moving forward.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Wartime, British Prime Minister. Sir Winston Churchill.

This article was originally published on Neil's LinkedIn profile here.

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