New customer experiences vital to tourism success: Experts

Thiruvananthapuram, June 9 (IANS) Experts Sunday asked travel and tour operators in the country to look at ways to provide new experiences for guests to be successful in a highly competitive space.

Himmat Anand, founder and CEO of Jaipur-based Tree of Life Resort and Spa, says that tourism business in the country often gets stuck in traditional offerings that have remained unchanged.

“Kerala is perhaps the only state to excel in tourism. Most others have been left behind. Tour operators in Kerala are successful because they no longer handle agents for people sitting elsewhere, which is a great business model,” said Anand.

He was speaking at the three-day International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) India, that ended here Sunday.

He advised tour operators to specialise and find niche areas like weddings, meetings and incentives.

“Give customers new experiences, don’t make it repetitive. Guests are your ambassadors. If you provide them great service, they will effectively do your marketing for free through word-of-mouth,” added Anand.

India’s first conference on travel technology, organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organizations, India (ATTOI), with the support of Kerala Tourism, attracted more than 250 delegates interacting on a number of subjects relevant to the industry.

Avijit Arya, the founder and CEO of Internet Moguls, said that 85 percent of the hotel business can be lost due to poor reviews resulting from poor customer service.

“Most of the reviews for a hotel are a function of what is being done offline, at the property. Reviews are the next level of word-of-mouth and bad reviews can be very damaging,” said Arya.

Sheila Scarborough, a US-based writer and speaker specialising in tourism, said that the social media space must be seen by businesses more as a platform for social interaction than simply a medium for promoting themselves.

Tour operators were given tips on how to create a niche in the crowded online space by consultant and web entrepreneur Jaydip Parikh, the founder and CEO of digital marketing company Tej SolPro.

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