I was recently invited to an executive breakfast round table meeting at Strathmore University to discuss the Trends in Hotel Digital Marketing in 2018.
Speakers/Panellists at the forum included Dr. Fredrick Oduori, Lecturer at Strathmore University and Mr. Nimish Hadole, Chief Executive Officer, Agency Africa Interactive Limited. Below is what I picked from the session that I believe travel agencies in Kenya should adopt to move their business forward in an increasingly digitalized world.
The general direction of the travel business is continuously changing by adapting to new ways of conducting and managing business. Technological and digital developments that may affect the travel business are on the rise.
According to a study done study by travel advice website TripAdvisor, 85% of travellers worldwide are smartphone users while 32% use mobile devices to book travel.
There are various emerging trends in the travel business. Just to mention the rapidly adapted trends;
Having data plays a key role in the travel business. With the possession of data Travel Agency owners or business owners are able to make analysis of their clients. In return make personalized, customer centric content to drive performance.
Data helps you gather information with time and are in a position to know what interests the clients therefore providing top notch service.
For example, a travel firm has had a loyal client for a while, the firm would be in a position to give suggestions’ of possible packages that would exceed the customers’ expectations because they had collected the customers data over time. Thus quality service is provided.
2. Content Development
Investing in content development is crucial. This is the process of researching, writing, gathering, organizing, and editing information for publication on digital platforms with the objective of marketing and building a company’s brand.
Basically its strategic marketing where potential clients/consumers will create ‘engagement’ with your post on digital platforms.
Travel firms need to be creative and strategic when developing content be it video, photo or infographics in such a way that the consumers and potential clients can engage with the post as well as the brand.
3. Influencer Marketing
This is a way of marketing where a leader or a person of interest to the firms brand or has influence to potential clients, is identified to drive the brand's message to the larger market.
Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.
In Kenya for instance we have the example of Eric Omondi a renowned Comedian who is the current influencer for a famous tour and travel firm Bonfire safaris.
Micro-moments are the little moments that individuals reach out to their phones to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.
In the travel business we can take advantage of this little moments to market and promote our products, services and brand as a whole. Companies should ensure that their digital platforms are mobile-friendly that is easy to navigate and not crowded with unnecessary icons, graphics, or text.
Easy-to-access technology gives travel firms opportunity to send personalized messages, offers, services etc.
5. Virtual reality (VR)
Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. VR is an extremely powerful selling tool because of its visual characteristic.
Travel firms can demonstrate to their clients the experience that is/will be felt on the airplane cabin, select their seat before booking, the different room types in hotels and resorts, restaurants and any destination available.
With the need to become more visible and reach more customers, the future digital marketing offers advancements in emerging technologies as consumers demand a more integrated experience.
Technology is picking up every day giving travel firms opportunity to explore the various digital marketing trends available.
Eve Lucky Karitu,
Communication Assistant, Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA)
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