MKTE 2019: Go Digital To Maximise Your Business Potential

Event Africa Contributor 02/10/2019 Uncategorized

It can be overwhelming to go digital, but there are basic steps that you as a tourism business or hotelier can do to maximise revenue in this field.

This according to a session on 2 October 2019 titled ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation: The Impact of Technology on Tourism’. Presented as a panel discussion chaired by Mqondisi Gumede of The OMG, and with panellists Nicole Hankar of Last Minute Mara, Naomi Mutua of A Kenyan Girl and Lefteris Sergidis of The Travebook Group, it was a rousing discussion and a fervent call to action for tourism operators, hoteliers and everyone in between to embrace the many opportunities to maximise revenue through the internet.

Today’s consumers have ever-shortening attention spans, and as such, it is imperative that online travel agents (OTAs) and hoteliers cut through the clutter and target their audiences effectively. This can be done, says Mutua, through telling a truly compelling story in 5 seconds or less – something that potential clients want to watch further or explore in more detail.

It’s also not just about getting the tech, but about being educated on what works for you, and having a presence across many channels to create proper awareness. “Many small properties don’t know how to sell themselves digitally,” they said. Awareness and parity are of utmost importance when working in the digital space he adds.

Back to Basics

But where do tourism businesses start? Being visible, having some sort of online strategy, and being as easily bookable as possible are the basics, says Mutua.

Must Do’s Include:

  1. Having a great customer experience
  2. Hiring the right people – you as a business owner cannot know everything digital!
  3. Strategy – the right people can advise you

Although this may seem simple despite the vast sea of information available online, it really is about knowing your client and potential and talking their language. Online travel agents should also have as much knowledge of a hotel or destination as possible in order to sell effectively – ensure your website (one of the most critical things to have when considering digitisation) has activities and all offerings with pricings available, and also load this info onto online booking platforms so agents can access your info easily.

What Not To Do

Don’t put your hotel on only one channel, all the panellists warned. A great, or terrible, example of this is the recent Thomas Cook fiasco. As a hotelier, you cannot rely on only one tour operator for revenue. Rather, hoteliers should give all tour operators the same rates and allow them the opportunity to sell the product fairly. “Don’t let people take advantage of you as a tourism product.”

Towards the end of the session, the panellists turned their thoughts to digitisation in the Kenyan context. “Kenya has a much bigger story to tell than just the wildlife, the Masai and the beach. We can create good news if it is a compelling story – which can have many different perspectives. Stop telling a single story of Kenya.

The Future is Digital and Personal

Millennials and Gen Z are also changing the way we do travel today. They want authentic experiences and they want to engage with locals on the ground. OTAs need to find these local people and start-ups, and partner with them to offer a more diverse experience for travellers. This can be done through online networks, but it’s also possible to do it through radio and mobile-centric campaigns. This is the segment of the Kenyan market that is far stronger than we realise.

Event Africa is at Magical Kenya Travel Expo doing the show’s electronic daily news. For more information on MKTE, visit