Domestic tourism is booming all over the world. Combine that with a resilient and buoyant global tourism industry and hoteliers are presented with a solid opportunity for attracting new guests and securing increased revenue – but only if they have the right technology in place.
NB: This is a viewpoint by Kevin O’Rourke, executive vice president of global sales at SiteMinder.
Dominated by incredible athletes rewriting the history books, the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Rio were an international spectacle watched by billions of people worldwide.
Post-Games, attention has moved away from the sporting achievements and instead turned to Rio’s legacy, and how Brazil can recoup some of the $12 billion it cost to host the Games.
Tourism always plays a vital part in the legacy analysis of any Olympics, as the success of Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012 proved.
Using these past events as a basis, Brazil’s tourism ministry is projecting a 6% increase in the number of tourists over the next 12 months.
As ambitious as that might sound, it’s not a completely unrealistic figure.
Tourism across the globe is riding a prosperous and resilient wave, with little sign of the upsurge slowing.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) projects growth in 2016 to surpass 3% globally, and despite pockets of concern around continued economic and security challenges, the industry is outpacing global economic growth by 1%.
Domestic tourism in the global driving seat
It’s often described as the ‘poor relation’ to international tourism, but over recent years domestic tourism has made something of a resurgence, boosted by weaker home currencies and renewed investment supporting domestic tourism initiatives.
More and more travellers are choosing to explore destinations closer to home, following successful campaigns driven by tourism organisations. And the evidence of this domestic tourism boom can be found globally.
- The UK: A post-Brexit win for domestic tourism
Summer in the UK is emerging as a post-Brexit winner with 2.5 million more UK tourists opting to holiday at home. The cost of trips for a family of four to popular European destinations has increased by £245 (US$318) due to the pressure of the falling pound.
In a double boost for the UK, the weaker pound is luring overseas visitors with lucrative exchange rates. According to VisitBritain, July was the highest month ever for inbound tourism to the UK with 3.8 million visits, up 2% on July last year.
Cheapflights also reported in the days after the referendum that searches for the UK from the US doubled, queries from China increased 61%, and a further 31% increase came from travellers searching from continental Europe.
The UK’s Tourism Alliance says the ‘staycation’ surge is estimated to be worth an extra £2.4bn to the UK economy.
London’s hotel market certainly reaped the benefits of the post-Brexit fluctuations this summer with guests flooding in from Europe and the US – both Claridge’s and The Connaught describing this July as “the best ever on record”.
- Australia: A social media masterclass in domestic tourism
If you’re looking to follow a plan of attack to spearhead phenomenal growth in tourism, look no further than Australia.
Domestic tourism is growing at its fastest pace since records began in 1998 – and Deloitte estimates three million trips are made at home by Australians every year.
Tourism Australia is widely credited with boosting the spend of domestic and international tourists alike, with back-to-back campaigns showcasing some of Australia’s most appealing attractions, including its current campaign focused on coastal walks, beaches, and aquatic experiences.
Global reach is playing a pivotal role in the success of Tourism Australia’s year-long campaigns. The organisation’s Instagram account is a social media manager’s dream with almost 2.5 million followers from less than 7,000 posts – most of which come from locals and visitors.
- Canada: A weaker dollar is providing domestic tourism strength
A low loonie might not mean much to anyone outside of Canada, but to the tourism market there it’s proving significant. As we’ve witnessed in the UK and Australia, the weaker local currency is keeping Canadians holidaying at home and at the same time luring Americans northwards.
Arrivals from international markets halfway through 2016, were the highest on record. Visitors from the US are up 10% annually – but the real success story is from tourists further afield in China (+24%), South Korea (+20%), and Mexico (+19%).
Despite the lure of a favourable exchange rate, it’s domestic tourism that is bringing home the maple-cured bacon for Canada. Total tourism spend in the first quarter of 2016 reached $17.7 billion, with $14.6 billion of receipts attributed to domestic guests.
Destination Canada is heavily pushing tourism industry growth in its latest plan called ‘20/20/2020’, targeted with attracting 20 million visitors, spending $20 billion, by 2020.
A major focus of the new campaign is the hyper-connected nature of today’s travellers, aiming to turn Canada from a ‘someday’ destination to a ‘visit now’ option. The organisation plans to do this using content marketing techniques to “inform and delight” audiences worldwide.
Combine the power of domestic and global reach to boost revenue
Keeping a close eye on both domestic and global tourism numbers to understand traveller sentiment is an effective data point to include in any hotel marketing or distribution strategy.
And regardless of where your property is located in the world, combining the power of domestic and global tourism is a crucial part of attracting, reaching, and converting guests.
As well as having the right hotel technology in place, a holistic approach is best to drive your marketing and distribution efforts if you want to attract tourists from both home and away.
Here are three key areas of focus that we at SiteMinder believe are universally important to hoteliers:
1) Managing a good website is a guest experience necessity
It’s often the first impression for your guests – and a good website is one that can be found on any device by lookers before they become bookers.
Ask yourself: Is it mobile-friendly? Is it optimised for search engines? Do I have beautiful images showcasing everything the property and the local area has to offer? Am I using content to keep potential guests on your website for longer? Can I take direct bookings using a seamlessly-integrated booking engine? Am I catering for all potential guests with multi-lingual and multi-currency options?
Your website should do all your selling for you – think of it as an extension of the guest experience.
In the same way you wouldn’t leave your hotel’s lobby in a state of disrepair, the same should be applied to your website. Make your potential guests fall in love with your hotel before they’ve even arrived with a beautiful website experience.
2) Understanding your market is key to pricing accurately
When you know that tourism is booming and you need to make the most from every opportunity, how do you ensure you’re competitive against the other hotels locally?
Using technology to scan your competitors and analyse their pricing up to a year in advance is an effective method for guaranteeing you are pricing your rooms fairly and accurately.
Look for a pricing intelligence tool that can notify you when a hotel locally changes its prices – it means you can react quickly to the fluctuations in supply and demand and remain competitive.
3) Diversifying your distribution is the only way to get global reach
How will you reach the 1.8 billion people planning to travel overseas by 2030? How will they find your hotel? Using third-party websites such as OTAs and metasearch will become increasingly important for broadening your reach and allowing your hotel to be accessed in markets you might have previously thought were unattainable.
Think local as well as global when it comes to connecting with OTAs – it pays to have a solid presence both domestically and overseas.
Combine this approach with your optimised website and pricing, and your distribution strategy will be in a strong position to be part of the global boom.
Attracting, reaching, and converting guests from all corners of the world is complex enough. If you’re not combining the universal tactics above with automation and available data, then you’re probably complicating your revenue management strategies even further.
Hotel profitability is the end goal for hoteliers of all sizes around the world, but the journey to get there needn’t be convoluted. You can learn how to simplify today’s complex revenue management strategies in a FREE TLearn webinar hosted by SiteMinder and Tnooz.
NB1: This is a viewpoint by Kevin O’Rourke, executive vice president of global sales at SiteMinder.
NB2: Image by sdecoret/BigStock.com