Big Data Intelligence
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Travel companies that want to stand out in today’s world need to test new ideas and use data analytics to bring innovation. That is according to Amadeus white paper, Defining the future of travel through Intelligence – smart decisions for smart destinations using Big Data.

Understanding what motivates your travellers, the kinds of travel experiences they are looking for, and the other destinations that appeal to them, is essential for Destination Management. According to the Amadeus whitepaper, travel companies must move past getting people from A to B, and start thinking about collecting information to build a 360-degree view of the traveller.

And that is exactly what Cape Town Tourism has done, as the Cape Town Tourism’s website has recently been listed as one of the top 25 tourism board websites in the world by eminent travel publishers, Skift.

We chatted to the CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, about how he is using Data Intelligence to attract travellers.

Big Data

How is Cape Town Tourism using Data Intelligence to get the right message to the right client on its website? 

If you can provide options that are tailored towards your users, then you’re delivering a more targeted service. You allow the user room to choose what they’d like to see, and then you give them that. It helps to reduce the noise on a platform.

Does Data Intelligence help you to understand which other destinations are the city’s main competitors? 

 Extensive ongoing research is done to examine shifts in the market. Insights gleaned from data analysis can reveal all sorts of trends, such as whether there is increased or decreased traffic from a source market, changes in demographics, the size of travelling parties, duration of stay, average spend and more.

Your audience can tell you what they want, how they want it and when, so it’s worthwhile to examine how they’re engaging with you and to have feedback tools.

Who are the city’s main competitor destinations?

We have competitors on many fronts, including leading European destinations such as Paris, London, Berlin and Rome, for example, but then also across East Africa, the Middle East and UAE South East Asia and the Far East.

How are you addressing this competition?

As an organisation we have to constantly evaluate our competitors’ strategies to ensure we’re not missing a great opportunity. We consider Cape Town to be a world-class destination, but maintaining the interest requires growing the market potential, so, for example, finding new ways of promoting the city such as tapping into the potential of Cape Town as a Muslim-friendly destination.

Could you let us in on what the secret is of a successful destination management website?

 Personalisation and efficiency. The visitor must feel that they’re able to achieve what they want, and this achievement is made all the more successful when they have the sense that their needs are being addressed. From a business perspective, the website must be attractive and user-friendly, leading to sales conversions, bookings or regular use as part of the destination’s community.

Do you feel mobile functionalities of your website have become more important?

Reaching your market on their mobile devices is imperative as you are putting your products and services in their hands, right where they are. Cape Town Tourism’s website is, as far as we are aware, the first mobile-first website on the continent, reflecting that we understand that as visitor preferences have shifted to mobile platforms, our presentation must evolve to meet those expectations. Mobile allows for convenience and immediacy: today’s traveller wants to research, book and pay right away.

How important is the introduction of video on a tourism website?

 Storytelling is a mechanism used throughout tourism – from tour operators to destination marketers. There’s great value in using video as a medium for telling the kinds of stories that reflect visually what’s on offer.

A great website can handle both written and photographic content as well as video. We’ve created the Love Cape Town Neighbourhoods video series that takes you right into places such as Langa, Woodstock or Khayelitsha to showcase what it’s really like in our neighbourhoods – who the people are, what businesses are doing exciting things. The great thing about video is that it can be shared across social media platforms, too.

What can we still expect from the future? Virtual Reality?

 Virtual tours are already growing in popularity, so we’re actively supporting this being rolled out in attractions and for tours.

As our audiences evolve, we must stay in touch with what they’d expect from our platforms. For any business, however, one must be certain that there’s an adequate market demand before investing in options such as channels and platforms; it must form part of a business strategy that yields benefits.