Members often ask me how the season ahead will look and what are the prospects for the season?
As we enter our winter season; we are developing the biggest and most interactive ‘sardine festival’ – to capture our share of the inspirational travel market – through the lure of the ‘sardine run’.
Research is necessary to determine trends.
Listening to journalists is helpful, regularly, though you need to look beyond the words to pick up on the trends, and the hospitality industry is no different to other economic sectors. Last week the Sunday Times noted “The black middle-income market is now officially larger than the corresponding white sector”. Also last week, Mr. Nigel Villiers, Director of Customer Experience for Harley Davidson advised our members – to claim their space! – and be customer centric.
A Harvard Business Review study revealed that 91 percent of people believe in word-of-mouth, i.e. trusting advice from a friend, whereas only 14 percent of people believe in advertising (Instant Grass, 2009:10). The Journal of Digital Marketing study “Word-of-Mouth Marketing to a Female Emerging Market: A South African Perspective” provides a wonderful insight into this growing sector and added “Trusted advice from relevant sources is now needed more than ever before for guidance in their quest towards self-actualisation”. For more on the social media and following journalistic advice – check out the full article on www.tourismsouthcoast.co.za
Last year journalist and author, Martin Hatchuel spoke to South Coasters on the responsible tourism market and how we could be part of this appealing segment - ‘fair trade in tourism’ - and advised us to follow his talk on slideshare. Many of us, myself included, learnt about this trend for the first time - http://www.slideshare.net/MartinHatchuel1/responsible-tourism-africa-bike-week-2012 if you missed the discussion first time around.
I think we all recognise that social media is here to stay, but maybe not how far the industry has grown in the past five years. It is simply incredible.
Journalist and author, Martin Hatchuel is working closely with several tourism agencies (South Coast included) in developing capacity and capability in social networking. One tool that he’s using is “Google+ Hangouts” – and you can watch live on YouTube as he talks to Ron Mader (the editor of the world’s oldest responsible tourism web site).
Watch the twitter feed @thistourismweek from about 4:30 onwards for the link to the livestream on YouTube, which will be announced together with the hashtag #MarketingSA. You can also watch videos of previous discussions on http://planeta.wikispaces.com/marketingsa - and the page is filled with other interesting links and information.
South Coast Tourism will be hosting Martin Hatchuel and Tessa Buhrmann (the editor of the Responsible Traveller) – as well as Ron Mader (who’ll be appearing live via Google+ Hangouts from his base in Oaxaca, Mexico) for a lesson in ‘Responsible Tourism and Marketing via the Web” at Umthunzi Boutique Hotel on May 15th.
If you would like to be part of paradigm shift – contact Vanessa on 039 682-7944 to book your seat. Social media is all about story telling – So have a great week in the Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom - and go online and tell your friends all about your experiences.
I have been following Skyscanner’s Victoria Bailie - and picked up this insight recently - “Social media is now the most popular way for travellers to communicate with friends and family back home, and its rise has led to a major slump for the postcard industry”. I know of many businesses which only have an online presence.
According to a study (by www.Skyscanner.net), only 11% of travellers now send a postcard when they go on holiday, while 91% go online to communicate with friends back home. Sad news, but not that surprising.
The report continued “Facebook is now the most popular way to update those at home (58%), with almost four out of five people admitting to updating their status every couple of days and 17% checking their news feeds at least every couple of hours. Sixty-percent of international travellers stay in touch by sending text messages, and only 5% admitted to not making an effort to make contact with people at home”. Again, I would imagine these figures to be fairly accurate.
The survey also revealed that travel agent brochures may also be a thing of the past, with 88% of respondents saying they no longer using brochures when researching a trip. This was interesting and peaked my attention.
Instead, travellers turn to technology such as travel websites (17%) and social media sites (21%) which the report stated had became the most popular forms of travel inspiration - however, more than one in 10 people still said they turn to newspapers and magazines when researching holidays.
Bailie added ““Social networks have transformed the way we communicate with the world and is now the most popular way to stay in touch with those at home to share our holiday experiences having replaced the more traditional postcard. The internet has changed everything, not only the way we communicate but also the way we look for inspiration. Gone are the days of trawling through endless pages of travel agent brochures, these days most of us surf the net or turn to our favourite newspaper”. Sad but true.