The tourism industry in Sri Lanka has long relied on traditional methods for operating and managing day-to-day efforts. With the introduction of dynamic websites, operations were put to the test where demand could come in at a moments notice and preparations had to be made well in advance to account for bookings and fluctuations. As the Sri Lankan tourism industry has recorded significant growth post-war the resulting increase in competition for bookings has become apparent to operators.
Traditional booking systems are no longer meeting the dynamic needs of the tourism industry as the digital marketing landscape has changed the playing field dramatically with fickle buyers that demand better and instant access at their fingertips.
Be it from the start of the booking to the very experience itself enterprise systems are proving to be highly useful in managing and enhancing tourism operations for businesses of all sizes.
Enterprise solutions that link with front end website tools such as internet booking systems allow for accurate accounting to take place and subsequent reporting that is vital to show seasonality and yield. Such integrated systems can show the impact of promotions, which can be measured for consumer behavior relating to seasonality for instance. Further to this those back-end systems manage operations with ease and allow owners to have confidence in their investments with 360 degree reporting anywhere and anytime.
Digital marketing tools that are linked to booking engines help increase retention, facilitate re-marketing and improve overall loyalty amongst buyers engaged with various social media tools. Booking engines can now be designed to reduce bounce rates by suggesting alternative options or offers based on online behavior. Further to this, added features such as coupon codes, referral systems, and rewards programs help generate repeat business and improve customer loyalty. Traditionally, these avenues were never integrated and businesses in tourism never thought of cultivating or nurturing repeat business as it just happened serendipitously. Although online newsletters and database marketing honed in on this it has not been done strategically via an integrated system based approach. As email marketing effectiveness lessens systems such as marketing integrated booking engines with google adwords and social media capabilities become vital tools in the battle to secure and increase bookings in the Sri Lankan tourism market.
A challenge that has now taken off from the ‘1-click’ shopping approach pioneered by Amazon is how long it takes to complete a booking from start to finish. Can this be done under 20 seconds for instance? Can ‘push methodology’ such as ‘live chat’ be used for room selections instead of traditional ‘pull methodology’? Once a buyer has decided that they will purchase a holiday, tour, or room night they need to complete that transaction quickly otherwise they might stray or lose interest in the offer altogether. Systems designed to deliver such value are beneficial not only to tourism operators but also to consumers.
On-location experiences are very much driven by low levels of technology in Sri Lanka with very few locations utilizing wifi and tablets to share some basic promotional information. However, what about features such as a virtual butler accessed via personal mobile devices? A mobile application that allows your guests to order food or book a private tour from the hotel for instance or avail of some exclusive offers based on their login. These tools can be developed rapidly and deployed with ease via existing infrastructure.
There are a host of beneficial and current web and mobile tools that are available for tour operators and hoteliers alike to increase operational efficiency and guest satisfaction levels thereby helping them thrive in the increasingly competitive Sri Lankan tourism market. Please do contact us at 011 4506904 or email [email protected] for a chat about how we can help you obtain the right solution to suit your particular needs to boost your bookings and increase guest satisfaction.