Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Many C’s of eTourism

Sunshine, a blue sea and 25 degrees outside temperature is just excellent when I know that at the same time it is freezing cold and snowing back home in Vienna. However, we had no time to relax at the beach because the topics covered on the second day of the E-Tourism & E-Marketing conference in El Gouna were far too interesting and not be missed. Just to make you a little bit jealous, though, I post a foto of me in the beautiful garden of the El Gouna Mövenpick hotel.

The presentations on the second day were centred around the themes distribution 2.0, branding 2.0 and tourism education and how tourism businesses and organizations can make the best usage of social media applications.

Matt Jerwood, discussed “How Tourism Organizations Can Embrace Digital Media and New Channels of Distribution” and pointed out that the “norm” of digital media usage evolves quickly and the challenge for tourism organisations is to keep up with that speed of change. He concluded that it does not make sense to put the same effort into all activities but tourism businesses should analyse and evaluate the strengths & purpose of different platforms and applications such as social media, email, mobile, web, sms or voice for different user activities. Not all platforms or services are likewise suitable for creating awareness, browsing for information, purchasing a product or post sales activities. Online is certainly an important part of the entire marketing mix and therefore businesses should also start reorganising their budget and shift it from traditional marketing to experiental marketing because online drives traffic and reservations. It’s all about selling experiences!

The issue of “E-Learning and Capacity Building in the African Travel Sector” was discussed by Damian Cook. He explained that eTourism consists of a number of important C’s in the travel life cycle that we need to consider in our marketing communications . eTourism means

  • Communicating the right
  • Content across a variety of
  • Channels to the best value
  • Clients who will
  • Convert to a sale and keep
  • Coming back

Dimitrios Buhalis provided an overview of how DMOs can exploit the new technologies for marketing and distribution. He revealed that he was able to predict the future but he cannot say when it will happen …
Nonetheless, he presented the lessons to be learned in order to tackle the challenges of the future. Travelers, he argued, were always connected through social networks and mobile applications. Therefore, a simple list of inventory of products and services is no longer enough for DMOs to stay competitive. They need to promote experiences and develop location based services for tourists en route.

The last session of yesterday was dedicated to Tourism education which faces challenges such as increasing globalization, sustainable tourism development, informatisation of the entire tourism value chain and the growing importance of innovation. As a result of this, tourism education should consider these trends in the curriculum design and educate and prepare students for the flexibility of the tourism market. Tourism is an important and growing industry also in 3rd world countries and a high quality tourism education is considered as a major imperative especially in African and Arabic countries.

In my presentation on “Tourism Education in Europe and Overseas” I focused on student employability. Employability is regarded as a key performance indicator for Higher Education Institutions. The three major stakeholders in tourism education are the students / graduates, the higher education institutions and the industry (see illustration below; based on Sofia Reino).

There should be a very close interrelationship between all the stakeholders. The aim of higher education institutions is to endow the students in the related subject matters with the key assets knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA) so that they will be fit for and competitive on the labour market. The industry asks for specific skills and competences of the graduates and life-long learning has become crucial in our fast-changing times of increasing internationalization and globalization.

You can download the complete presentation on “Tourism Education”.

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