By Tshepo Matlou
THOSE working in and around the tourism field will agree that the industry is struggling to keep afloat during the hardest time in memory to be in the business.
This is the uncomfortable reality that the trade is dealing with, and while trying to recover from the hard impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry has been forced to come up with new levels of ingenuity in its marketing tactics, as it bleeds value and opportunities. This requirement trickles all the way from the top of the industry, as an umbrella, down to the small-medium enterprises (SMEs) at the bottom of the tourism hierarchy.
Taking into account that technology is a proven economic enabler in South Africa, the possibility of technology as a solution also applies to a sector like tourism, as an isolated part of the economy.
Small businesses in the tourism sector have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic's fallout, but guest houses and B&B’s – particularly in villages and other previously disadvantaged environments – can improve their market visibility and profitability by teaming up with a bigger company that specialises in tourism data management. These smaller businesses face a different challenge compared to their peers in urban trading environments because often, their hurdle is visibility rather than competitiveness.
We’ve found that many entrepreneurs want to appeal to new markets by using technology, but don’t always have the necessary resources and guidance to do so. Partnering with an experienced company allows them to manage their bookings and availability but it also provides them with additional marketing of their business which, in turn, will bring in more bookings.
To stand out in 2022 and beyond, tourism and hospitality professionals need to take advantage of the advancement of technology in order to appeal to active, modern-day travellers.
Choose the platform you market your business on wisely, to get the following benefits.
An online footprint suits the modern traveller
Technology is a definite enabler and small businesses involved in tourism can benefit if they either implement an online footprint or improve on their online visibility and accessibility. Proper engagement on a platform can really advance the marketing efforts of a small business, especially in previously disadvantaged pockets of the country.
Save on costs for expert services
Have a dedicated team of professionals who can manage and maintain the site, including the back-end data where participating SMMEs, showcasing their offerings and properties, are hosted. This means these businesses get to have a better grip on their marketing budgets.
Segment your audience to speak to the right people
Featuring your business on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is important. It helps if you segment your online engagements, meaning that the people who interact with your business online are specifically interested in travel and looking to book stays.
Tshepo Matlou, Head of Marketing and Communications at Jurni.
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.
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