Digital technology to promote make profitable local tourism

Digital economy, Dramatic growth, Internet , Web technologies, Tourism
Preparing tourism businesses for the digital future

Inaccessible beaches, leisure activities at the stop, curtain down on restaurants and shops, the few hotels still open in recent weeks have not been able to fill the booking book. However, beyond the constraints of administrative closures for health reasons, this period was also an opportunity to remember that tourism is conceived only in a well-functioning ecosystem, where the offer is complete and attractive and the organisation is able to retain customers.

This is a secret for no one, the actors of local tourism like the guest rooms, the small campsites, the managers of historical heritage have neither the time, the means, nor the technical skills to think a coordinated global offer on a territory, combined with a real tourism experience. Certainly, the offices, regional and departmental committees of tourism carry admirably the role of aggregator of offers, which has turned over time into a real promoter and facilitator for the industry of leisure and local tourism. But in such a tense competitive environment, promotion alone is clearly no longer enough, or even isolated marketing initiatives.

Developing a vision of dynamic local tourism

Local tourist operators mainly rely on large reservation centres to sell overnight stays and visits, leaving them up to 20% of their profitability without guarantee of better visibility.

However, there are already some French initiatives which show that it is possible to sell activities better and more. All are based on technological concepts combining online booking solutions, customer profile creation, guarantees and payment facilities and above all proposals of tourist values. Thus planning solutions for itinerant tourism enthusiasts can be built from catalogues of localized offers and around predefined routes. But tourist examples are not the only ones who know how to feed the inspiration. It is sometimes enough to look at what is being done nearby in other areas. Supermarket drives, for example, try to offer their customers products that can be accommodated with what is already in the basket.

So, in terms of local tourism, how to offer the consumer a truly stocked basket? In order to move from a co-dependency of tourism actors to a co-construction that benefits everyone in a given territory, it is necessary to understand the principle of omnicanality, distance contracting and the importance of the payment role in monitoring and retaining a customer base.

Objective: to push the contractualisation to the end

If it is not a question of definitively banning the large reservation centres which can play an interesting role in the off-peak period, it is not relevant to use them in the high season, where demand is high and awaiting value propositions. To succeed in attracting and retaining holidaymakers, it is necessary to think of a range of services that will add to the attractiveness of a territory, in a unified customer journey logic, consolidating a scattered and scattered local offer.

To cement a process composed of dispersed sales acts, and feed the local economy, this is where the digital booking and payment solutions come in. Today they do much more than organize payment, they are the foundation of loyalty. They make it possible to draw up a customer profile, likely to be found by any tourism player integrated into the digital ecosystem. This profile facilitates future purchases, whether online or on-site, and is an incentive. The history it sets out makes it possible to anticipate new needs and to offer adapted services, which until now had not enough visibility to be consumed.

The appropriate structure

In these territories, which benefit from a brand that tourist offices intend to promote, a digital ecosystem composed of multiple individuals can be deployed. But to sustain it, it will have to be supported by a structure with strong enough reins to ensure its technological functioning and take responsibility for omni-channel marketing in a context of local federated actors, promoters of each other.

Will the tourist offices and committees take this role in order to emerge definitively from the aggregation of offers alone? A hotel chain perhaps, already experienced in the exercise and anticipating all the interest to communicate on a range of tourist offers richer? An existing local tourist market place? There is no single form of organisation, and certainly local particularities will play a full part in defining the future local digital tourism ecosystem.

From local to national, federate around standards

The new project of OTA Fran├žaise provoked many reactions, often dubious. This is partly because the federation of local tourism actors on a national level has always been an Arlesian. Faced with international platforms, which hold immense technological know-how, the ambition to challenge the tourist disintermediation has something to think about.

The disruptive innovation that the tourism and leisure sector calls for is not always where it is expected. In this case, it lies much more in the creation and sharing of common standards than in the construction of any piece of a national platform. It is only around fully adopted technological standards that the local tourist offer will find to be valued and the French destinations marketed, why not, in the long term, within an OTA both sovereign and efficient.

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