Talking Tourism Trends With Four Industry Experts
Keeping abreast of what’s happening in the travel industry is vital for staying up-to-date on what’s happening on the ground to detect trends and meet travelers’ expectations. The best approach is to go straight to the source and get expert opinions. That’s why we carried out a recent round of interviews with professionals from across the European travel and hospitality industry to know their perspective about some of the latest tourism industry topics.
Tourism trends: Four keys from four experts
CEHAT: “Cultural change, the lack of awareness, and externalizing services are the primary challenges for business people.”
Our first interviewee was Ramón Estalella, the Secretary-General of the Spanish Hotel and Tourism Lodging Alliance (Confederación Española de Hoteles y Alojamientos Turísticos-CEHAT). We talked about the degree of digitization in the hotel sector, where Ramón noted that we find ourselves with a very “heterogeneous” landscape that’s tough to generalize. He indicated there are two obstacles that business people face in this spectrum:
Cultural change, even more challenging in organizations that have a family-style structure (60% of them).
Lack of knowledge when it comes to tools and technology. They’re not sure what they need or acquire products that don’t solve their problems.
How do you solve the problem? He clarified that “the best way is to externalize services in a way that lets experts evolve in conjunction with the technology to avoid assuming those costs internally.”
ARTIEM: “You need to have a clear idea of what your brand is like and how to translate that to the digital world.”
We also wanted a first-hand account from hoteliers, and so we decided to sit down for a tourism business interview with Víctor Mayans, Marketing Director of ARTIEM Hotels. We wanted to ask him how they managed to digitize their brand and not lose their essence or differentiating traits along the way.
For ARTIEM, the process behind digitization has gone hand-in-hand with offline. However, their main concern was to transmit the brand experience using digital channels successfully. Víctor Mayans noted that “It’s fundamental you have a clear idea of what your brand is like and how to translate that to the digital world from how they browse on your website and what it conveys, the content you offer, the experiences you can have, and the trust you transmit. If I could talk about an obstacle, it would be to unfurl everything in order and on time without losing its essence.”
They have similarly placed great importance on measuring performance and controlling the ROI for every tactic. He also added that “executing without measuring and improving doesn’t do very much. That’s why integrating measurement tools like Analytics or DataStudio, along with PowerBI that help you control KPIs while integrating them with customer satisfaction and sales metrics, is fundamental.”
What are his keys for the near future? For him, they’re clearly:
- A robust CRM that gathers quality data.
- Full adaptation to mobile devices.
- Authentic experiences.
Iberostar: “You to ensure every channel plays its best part in the customer journey.”
Iberostar, as a large global hotel chain with 114 properties in markets worldwide, has a different take on the digitization process. We talked about it with Ignacio Ochoa, Iberostar’s eCommerce and Online Marketing Director. Their goal focuses on working on the visitor experience. “We seek a fully-optimized experience for every customer on every device, whether it be on a website that’s adapted to desktop and mobile, as well as assisted sales services and the contact center,” he explained.
How are they doing it?
- Developing mobile websites.
- Taking care of the design and content for every step of the journey.
- Improving customer service coming from the contact center.
Along with these tactics, when it comes to creating a digital experience with our guests, we’re also placing a “strong bet on digitization inside the properties themselves.”
Digitization also extends throughout the rest of the organization, Ignacio Ochoa explained. They’re working on implementing digital tools like Google’s G Suite and improving their data management to put them at the service of the business.
Salesforce: “Data is key, and it’s crucial we get precise information to achieve a 360° view of the customer.”
Last, but certainly not least, we had to talk to a tech firm. We sat down with Francisco Reverte, Senior Account Executive for the Tourism industry at Salesforce. The firm’s task is to give tourism firms “the best tools to address customer demands, that are increasingly demanding or sensitive, with a degree of service where bad experiences have a high cost to their reputation.”
Francisco Reverte explained that the main advantage tools like Salesforce offer to firms are “to know their customers better thanks to new technologies like Big Data or Artificial Intelligence (AI), that’s turning into an important element for maintaining the tourism industry’s profitability and contributing to customer loyalty.”
With more data, more information, more knowledge, and more power to create 360° campaigns that adapt to the audience, channel, and moment, that’s the only way brands can stand out from the competition and call travelers’ attention.
Metamorphosis in the tourism industry: 360° Customer and innovation as key factors
All of these tourism interviews exemplify the change happening in the industry. It’s an era of change, or as we called it in our tourism trends report, a metamorphosis where every stakeholder is learning to adopt new technological solutions, make them a part of their day-to-day and get the most out of them. It’s a long process that currently encompasses most organizations and tourism firms. Marketing strategies and communication will shortly be seen as a single unit where offline and online actions come together as one. The most important thing, in the end, will be to create cohesive, differentiating brand experiences for the tourists of today and the future.
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