TourismSolved - Uncovering the mysteries of digital strategy for travel and tourism operators

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Uncovering the mysteries of digital strategy for travel and tourism operators

Simon van Wyk, 9th Feb 2020

If you are a Tour, Activity or Attraction operator you have probably heard, you need a digital strategy.   I bet that the next sentence included a lot of terminology you did not understand.   Maybe you you were unlucky and parted with some money and received a document that really just told you what you already knew.   Most of this strategy simply borrows your watch to tell you the time.


It might be controversial but there really is no such thing as a digital strategy.   It’s actually a business strategy and because travel businesses are primarily driven by digital, they are one and the same.


The first component of any strategy is where are you today.   Who and what are your competitors, what is changing in the industry, what is happening to margins and volumes? Let's assume you have done this part. There are really only two strategic goals.   These are:


1. To sell more

2. To save money


Most businesses in this area are pretty lean already but it pays to have another look.  For the purposes of a digital strategy let’s focus on what’s going to sell more.   Mostly that’s about products and marketing. Now, this can get overcomplicated but it’s really simple.   We like to follow a  three-step process:


1. Get found

2. Make sure you get the customer back

3. Convert and communicate


First, you have to make sure that people looking for your business or a business like it are able to find you.   Let's assume for the purposes that your business is called “Pure Hiking” and you provide luxury walking tours on Tasmania’s Overland Track.   There are a number of things someone could do to find your business.  They might do a search for “Luxury hiking tours Tasmania".   If your business is not found, another one will be, and that generally means you’ll miss out.   If you are not found, you can’t sell to the customer.   Luckily Google provides all the tools to make sure you can be found.   Google My Business and paid search will ensure to have the best chance to present yourself to the customer.


Once the customer has come to your website you have to do a good job of answering their query and you don’t have long.  Most people don’t buy on the first visit; they are just doing research so in under 30 seconds they are off.   You have to remind people about your business and mostly you have to do them over a 5 week period.   Google and Facebook have the tools to do this.   You can remind these people you exist and you can change your pitch just in case something else resonates with them and hopefully get these people back to your website.


If you are lucky, they will give you an email address and you then have the chance to send other content to either convince them or make them comfortable with their decisions.  Selling more involves your channel strategy and other parts of what is needed to sell travel these days, but once you know how you can sell more you might need to address some internal resource and training issues.    The point is, strategy is not really that complicated.   If you start with the basics of saving money or selling more you have the starting point to at least start the thinking yourself.