How Digital Marketing Transformed The Tourism Industry
By now we’ve probably all seen and read the plethora of articles, videos, documentaries, etc. detailing just how much the Internet has changed the way we live and how businesses function. There isn’t an industry that has not been affected in some way by the digital age and that includes the tourism and travel industry.
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The tourism and travel industry is truly the life-blood of most Caribbean islands and for continued success, it’s important to understand the ways in which the Internet and specifically, digital marketing, has transformed the industry.
- Travel Research – Thanks to the Internet, individuals can now extensively research specific locations, hotels, rates, etc. before making a decision about a trip. Online reviews have also become essential and sites like Trip Advisor, which receives approximately 50 million unique monthly visitors, can sometimes make or break a hotel, location, etc. depending on a review. Naturally, this has also led to an increase in improved customer service as customers can now express their concerns, questions, etc. in real time, across many channels.
- Increased Ability to Share Travel Experiences – Digital marketing, particularly the rise of social media, has made the ability for individuals to share their travel experience in real time, grow exponentially. And the industry has wisely taken notice and more importantly, taken advantage, with the rise of user-generated content for repurposing across various company marketing channels. Many businesses in the hotel and travel industry now use images posted by customers on their social media channels, websites, etc.
- Use of Social Media Influencers – With the rise of social media, eventually came the rise of social media influencers, i.e. individuals, groups, etc. with a large number of social media followers and more importantly, engaged followers. Individuals whose opinion on various products, topics, etc. are trusted by many. The travel and tourism industry took notice and the last two or three years has seen an increase in individuals being paid to travel the world and post about it. Of course, the concept isn’t entirely new as most travel magazines employ writers, photographers, etc. to travel the world and document it. However, the digital world has opened up the concept in a new and extensive way.
- Evolution of Travel Agencies – The digital space has caused most travel agencies to evolve from brick and mortar stores to more digital and online companies. Most agencies now offer online booking, digital brochures, an app version of their services, etc.
- Travel Experience Has Changed – With the digital age, particularly mobile devices, changing the way we live, the experience of traveling has naturally also evolved. Many airlines now offer onboard web-enabled devices and options, as well as pre-travel conveniences, such as online check-in, etc.
- Big Data – One of the greatest benefits the digital space has provided many businesses is a wealth of data and analytics about customers and even potential customers, which has allowed for more personalization. This, in turn, has allowed for greater personalized experiences for customers and potential customers as there is far more information about their individual preferences, likes, searches, needs, etc. And like many other industries, the travel and tourism industry has taken advantage.
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