Some 90% of trips taken by Asians are to destinations within Asia said Clement Wong, CEO, Be My Guest (Singapore) during his presentation on “Travel Marketing for Small- & Medium-Sized Tourism Businesses” at the Mekong Tourism Digital Boot Camp 2016, July 5.
The Boot Camp took place in Sihanoukville, Cambodia the day before the main Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 and was attended by the vast majority of the more than 200 registered Forum delegates.
Mr Wong said first-time travellers from the burgeoning middle classes of Asia still prefer the security and perceived box-ticking value of group tours. However subsequent trips are increasingly likely to be FIT.
Therefore the GMS would do well to target repeat Asian travellers, whose behaviours as consumers correspond to the following five stages:
Dreaming – Prospective travellers are inspired by social media (52%), display ads (50%), and their mobile phones (71%). Therefore it is important that SMEs develop a mobile-optimised website (before considering an application) and strategies for social media engagement.
Planning – Prospective travellers use search results (85%) and video (60%) when planning their trips. They are also receptive to emails, which can achieve click-through rates of more than a third.
Booking – SMEs must make booking a clear and simple process. Online booking facilities should take no more than 5 seconds to load or risk losing the bulk of prospective customers. And if a website is not optimised for mobile devices, 57% of people say they would never recommend it to their friends.
Experience – Bookings for ground content such as day tours or day spas etc often occur at the destination. It is better for tourism SMEs offering ground content to acquire customers before they reach the destination. They can do this by offering discounts and package deals to secure advance bookings, rather than compete with the many suppliers offering same or similar products.
Sharing – It is most important that SMEs track and respond to online reviews by their customers.
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Presentations from Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 are available for download here.