Digital marketing -- done by the tourists themselves -- being discussed at TripAdvisor workshop in Seychelles
World famous actress Gabrielle Union on her honey moon in Seychelles posted on her Instagram. www.instagram.com/gabunion
(Seychelles News Agency) - The importance of digital marketing for destinations is the focus of a three-day workshop hosted jointly by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and TripAdvisor.
One key idea being discussed: Visitors to a destination end up doing more impactful marketing -- through Facebook posts of their vacation, for example -- than the tourism property can do themselves.
Called the ‘TripAdvisor Data Africa 2018’, the workshop is seeing the participation of tourism board representatives from 10 African countries including Seychelles, South Africa and Kenya. Two representatives from TripAdvisor and two from E-Tourism Frontiers - a global programme that develops online tourism in emerging markets -- are also taking part.
Participants will learn about the key digital trends influencing travel in the tourism industry during the March 19 to 21 workshop.
|Sherin Francis said, such workshops are touchstones of critical importance as it provides a priceless platform for us to exchange ideas, learn from our neighbours and plot a course using our newly gained perspectives, information and insights. (Joena Bonnelame) Photo License: CC-BY|
“We are talking about the impacts that digital and social media are having on the travel business at a business level and also at a destination level,” said Damian Cook, the Founder of E-Tourism Frontiers.
He continued by saying “it is important that destinations and the travel industry understand that the control of marketing has shifted from the destination running advertising campaigns into actual materials produced by visitors to the country through Facebook posts, Instagram photos, reviews and YouTube videos.”
The data workshop being hosted in Seychelles is the third held for African countries. Last year’s workshop was held in Kenya, at the end of which most of the participants voted for the event to be held in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, this year.
“Such workshops are touchstones of critical importance as it provides a priceless platform for us to exchange ideas, learn from our neighbours and plot a course using our newly gained perspectives, information and insights,” said Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
|Free access to fast internet is key for visitors to be able to share experiences that are visual -photos and videos (Joena Bonnelame) Photo License: CC-BY|
TripAdvisor -- an American company -- is the world's largest travel site which enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip.
Participants will have the chance to also explore how successful global destinations are developing digital marketing strategies to stay relevant and sustainable.
Cook said that some of the challenges that someone might face in the social media is getting access to the content, understanding what people like doing in a particular destination and having the ability to share the content.
“Free access to fast internet is key for visitors to be able to share experiences that are visual - photos and videos,” said Cook.
Talking to SNA, the director of Digital Marketing at the local tourism board, Vahid Jacob, said that Seychelles is expecting to learn new digital marketing techniques from participating countries.
|Some of the challenges that someone might face in the social media is getting access to the content, understanding what people like doing in a particular destination and having the ability to share the content. (Joena Bonnelame) Photo License: CC-BY|
He said that “the South African Tourism Board is more advanced in the field than we are and maybe we can learn from them.”
“In Seychelles, digital marketing launched only three or four years ago and during these years we have managed to catch up with most of the African countries and even some European Countries,” he said.
He explained that in the coming years, the tourism trade will have to move away from using the traditional ways of marketing - brochures, leaflets and move more into digital marketing.
On the third day of the workshop, participants will get to see first-hand an example of an integrated adventure – zip lining – available in Seychelles, targeting online communities.