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 Business

Digital marketing – a must-have for travel and tourism

8th August, 2017

By VESTA VANESSA JSOL

KOTA KINABALU: Digital marketing has become the most important tool for any travel and tourism businesses. A digital marketing expert, Dr Frank J Peter said that hospitality and tourism is one of the industries that are greatly impacted by digital advancement.

Thus, to perform well and gain competitive advantage, players in the related industry are always looking for the newest and greatest way to reach their customer personas and enhance offering to their target audience.

Peter who is sharing his knowledge at the ‘Digital Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism’ course here yesterday, believed that digital marketing is both art and science, from communicating the right massage to utilising the right tools and formulas.

“Using the right platform is essential but it is not achieved by merely spending time and money on any popular platforms but to carefully evaluate and assess what is the best for your industry and specifically to your market segment.

“With digital marketing, consumer data can be collected from various sources from endless platform and the ability to diligently optimise this data can improve revenue significantly.

From gaining new customers to customising an actual experience for them: digital marketing can do wonders for the industry, he said.

During the three-day course, Peter who is also a Google educator and associate faculty at the University Utara Malaysia’s Graduate Business School, shared interesting topics such as ‘Digital Marketing Strategy’, ‘Website Marketing: Content Planning, Website Review + Measurement’, ‘Social Media: Strategy’, ‘Customer Advocacy, Online Reputation Management + Digital Visitor Servicing’, ‘Email Marketing’, and ‘Online Advertising: Facebook, Adwords, Instagram’.

More than 30 participants from local and international travel and tourism industry including Sabah Tourism Board, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Hotel and Resort, Borneo Nature and Resort, Financial Park Labuan, Promenade Hotel, Sutera Harbour Resort, Hyatt Hotel, Sabah Tea Resort, Amazing Borneo and OTCINC Brunei attended.

Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism has also placed emphasis on moving toward digital marketing efforts due to the rise in internet bookings and frequent travellers.

“It is undeniably the channel is easier to reach new travellers. These days you will even find seniors making bookings online,” said its marketing manager, Cassie Forsythe adding that the training is relevant to officers as they begin to pursue this while working close with industry players. Australia is currently running a GoogleAdWords campaign and concurrently a destination awareness campaign on TripAdvisor UK, US, Germany and Australia.

The course organiser, a regional training provider, CF Learning Services (Corporate Frontier) hopes that participants will learn how to make their organisations future proof in the online world.

According to its founder, Grace Chin, CF Learning Services understands that digital marketing is crucial for the hospitality and tourism businesses in Sabah.

She said that potential travellers are spending more time online, researching destinations and deals. “To reach these prospects at the right time, digital marketing has become a vital tool for modern hospitality and tourism businesses.

“And, to get ahead and obtain a competitive advantage over their rivals, players in the hospitality and tourism industry need to adapt to and embrace new trends and changes in the digital marketing landscape, or they get left behind.

“We hope that the industry players will take this opportunity to acquire the knowledge on how to implement Digital Marketing and increase their profitability.

On the other hand, World Bank revealed that online hotel bookings in Malaysia are expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.6 per cent from 2017 to 2121, to an expected market volume of some RM5 billion in 2121.

And, this is purely for online bookings, so any hotel or tourism business that is not online optimised runs the risk of not getting a slice of this pie.

   
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