According to the IMF, prior to the COVID-19, travel and tourism, which accounted for 10% of the world economy’s gross domestic product and more than 320 million employment globally, had grown to be one of the most significant sectors.
Unfortunately, the travel and tourism business has taken an assault from the unforeseen pandemic, with the whole world under lockdown, placing hundreds of millions of workforce in the industry at risk. Fortunately, with the introduction of the covid-19 vaccinations, many of the countries are slowly opening the borders, welcoming tourists and rebuilding their travel and tourism industry.
However, like it or not, the travel and tourism industry will never be the same pre- and post-pandemic. A new sustainable strategy should be developed to reintroduce tourists to the country in the endeavour to recover the industry and make it resilient to the pandemic.
As business owners of travel and tourism businesses, it is imperative that in the path of business recovery, as we reintroduce, rebrand or relaunch the services we provide, we have the right Go-To-Market Strategy.
What is Go-To-Market Strategy (GTM)?
Simply put, a Go-To-Market Strategy is an action plan on how to bring a product or services to the market. It describes how a business obtains, keeps and grows their customer base.
A Go-To-Market strategy (GTM) cannot be used to promote every product on the market because it is not a universal plan. It is a thorough, customised, step-by-step plan that is made for each unique product or service. Your target market will be mesmerised and enthralled by the new product, brand relaunch in a new market, or new service your company is offering if you use the correct GTM.
Why is Go-To-Market Strategy Important?
Usually, a new set of travel and tourism services has undergone a tremendous amount of effort to develop. But a subpar GTM could lead to the project’s failure as a whole. A weak GTM, coupled with a poor pricing strategy and product branding, could result in low sales at the expense of the brand name. Travel and tourism businesses in particular stand to lose a great deal more from this, especially after the business slow-down during the pandemic.
Even if it cannot guarantee success, a go-to-market strategy can help you control expectations and work out any kinks before you invest in bringing a product to market. A good GTM shortens the time it takes to get a product to market, lowers costs, manages challenges brought on by product innovation, improves customer experiences, and makes regulatory compliance easier.
How Do You Lay Out a GTM?
A typical GTM strategy essentially consists of the following:
- Target Market
- Value Proposition and Product Messaging
- Pricing Strategy
- Sales and Distribution Strategy
Step 1: Target Market
When putting together your strategy, it’s critical to understand who your audience is. You may have a number of audiences or target markets. However, it will be simpler to create tactical plans and essential messaging for your GTM if you have a more detailed grasp of your audience.
Give yourself some time to consider the audiences you want to attract without considering their demographics. Instead, consider what they are seeking and why they would find your brand intriguing.
After drafting your target segments, consider whether they are not too broad. What would you call these audiences? Any suggestions for how you might approach each of these differently spring to mind?
Step 2: Value Proposition
The main justification for a prospect to purchase your services is your value proposition. It’s a promise of value to be delivered, not a catchphrase or slogan. A good value proposition should be convincing, conveys results that were achieved in the past and shows why you stand out from your competitors.
The following questions can guide you on formulating the value proposition:
A. What services does your business offer?
B. What is the advantage of your services?
C. Who are the services meant for?
D. What distinguishes your services as special and different?
Step 3: Pricing Strategy
Pricing for travel and tourism businesses involves a careful balancing act between financial research and marketing strategy.
Tourism goods are rarely exactly the same, usually because of the location, the people and the elements that go into creating the experience you offer a traveller. For this reason, there is no one formula to develop a pricing strategy for this industry.
There are several key points to consider in pricing strategy:
- How does your business stand out?
- What value-added services are offered in addition to the experience?
- What market do you want to target, and where do you want to be positioned within that market?
- What are the fixed and variable costs of your operations? Get your accountant to help you determine your break-even point using your costs. As a result, what your minimum pricing should be to achieve your business goals (estimates of revenue, occupancy rates etc should be taken into considerations).
- The majority of tourism-related businesses will usually base their pricing decisions primarily on the competitive market, or what other businesses in your industry charge for comparable goods and services. Keep in mind that before you can decide whether you should compete in this way, you must be informed of your personal financial situation (debt levels, cash flow, etc.). Being competitive should ideally be motivated by the product rather than the price.
Step 4: Sales and Distribution Strategy
This step comprises creating a plan for introducing the product or service to the market and choosing the channels or routes that it will take to reach its target audience.
The goal of every business is to increase sales and thus profit. Finding measures to improve sales performance is crucial, especially now that the travel industry has undergone significant upheaval and experienced a period of calm.
You can position your company to reach more of your ideal customers with a tactical approach. More than ever, paying close attention to the smaller details will be important.
To simplify things, we can look at sales strategy from 4 aspects:
- Lead Generation
- Percentage of Conversion
- Average Dollars Spent
- Number of Transactions
- Lead Generation
Lead generation is the process of drawing potential customers to your company and piquing their interest through nurturing, all with the intention of turning them into paying clients.
With more than 60% of the population having Internet at their fingertips daily, absent-mindedly swiping on social media as their way of passing time, setting your business’ footage well on the Internet is utmost important.
You can start with perfecting your business website’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and creating blogs to update fresh content and latest content on your website. You must also boost your brand visibility on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Offering incentives to existing clients who refer can be a good lead generation as usually by word-of-mouth, their referrals are already confident with your brand. You may even offer incentives both ways, that is to the referred clients as well.
Forming strategic partnerships with vendors, partners and agents who can help market your tours can also increase your lead generation.
- Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
Leads are fresh opportunities for the travel industry, therefore it is critical to respond to them right away. Even a one-day delay in responding can result in a loss of business, and there is a potential that the lead will go directly to your rival. If you are calling or chatting with a potential customer, make sure to promote your goods and services in an understandable way. Respond to all questions and concerns, making sure the consumer has the information they need.
- Average Dollar Spent
By upselling to current customers, you can increase your sales. Check to see if there is a chance to add additional advantageous upsells before leaving a booking alone. This can involve giving your participants an upgraded lodging or an extra activity.
Selling to customers who already trust and want to support your brand is a good marketing technique.
- No. of Transactions
Number of transactions is the total number of purchases a typical consumer will make in a year. A fantastic strategy to raise your profits affordably is to cultivate repeat business. Offering loyalty programs and membership is a way to help keep your customers loyal to your business on top of keeping them happy after every purchase.
Focus on methods to increase the sales from these 4 aspects and you will see an eventual sales boost.
With the proliferation of new technology, the travel and tourism distribution channels have expanded. To remain competitive in the market nowadays, handing out brochures to hotels is no longer sufficient.
Chain of Distribution
Before we talk about the types of distribution channels in Travel and Tourism Business, let’s start by understanding the Chain of Distribution in this industry. The chain (adopted from tourismteacher.com) shows how the many organisations in the travel and tourist business frequently collaborate.
Operators who directly generate travel or tourism goods are known as suppliers or principals. The individual parts of a travel product are called principals. These could include tour and attraction providers, lodging firms, travel insurance companies, airlines, and vehicle rental agencies.
For merchants to resell, wholesalers create packages of travel-related goods, while in some situations they may also deal directly with customers. These bundles or itineraries may contain excursions, activities, lodging, transportation, and/or travel protection. Among wholesalers are:
- Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) such as government tourism boards or tourism authorities. In order to market packages and itineraries that are appropriate for their destination to a tour operator, destination management companies (DMCs) or destination management organisations (DMOs) frequently partner with travel suppliers.
- Global Distribution System (GDS) is a computer system that keeps track of airline, hotel, and automobile rental availability. Retailers with direct access to this inventory include Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and B2C travel agencies. GDS specialises more on selling airline tickets than lodging.
- A bed bank is a B2B enterprise that purchases rooms in bulk from hotel chains and other lodging providers at reduced and fixed costs for particular periods. Between hotels and shops, bed banks act as middlemen or brokers. They might resell their bulk accommodations at a discount to airlines, other bed banks, travel agencies, online travel agencies, or tour operators.
Retailers are organisations that deal directly with consumers to sell them travel and tourist goods. These might include B2C tour operators, visitor centres, and physical and online travel agencies.
Consumers are the guests who finally buy the product. These could include domestic and international passengers as well as business and pleasure travellers.
Consumer search and booking practices are always changing. In fact, it’s totally possible for customers to engage with travel distribution providers today at any level of the supply chain. One of the reasons your tourism business needs to have a broad distribution strategy is because of this.
Distribution channels stand for the many strategies for promoting or selling your goods.
Distribution channels can be divided into 2 ways:
- Direct Channel and Indirect Channel
- Offline channels, Online channels and Strategic partnerships
Direct Distribution Channel
A Direct Distribution Channel is done via your own travel agency or your travel agency’s website.
Indirect Distribution Channel
An Indirect Distribution Channel is done via partnership with third-party distribution channels, travel agents or other sales channels.
Most travel businesses are familiar with offline channels because they are considered as a method that has been long in practice. Examples of these channels are lodging establishments including hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, as well as gift shops, eateries, visitor centres, trade exhibitions, and cafes. The reseller may be able to cross-promote or suggest your tours or activities if you ask them to leave fliers, pamphlets, or discount vouchers with them.
Online Distribution Channels
On the other hand, online distribution channels include sites like social networks, review sites, mobile location-based services, and online travel agents. In recent years, the online channels have played a larger role in the distribution and revenue generation.
It makes sense to establish strategic partnerships with a variety of offline and online distribution channels, and these alliances have the potential to be profitable for all parties.
You may collaborate with other travel businesses to provide attractive vacation packages at affordable prices. Make contact with local hotel concierges and ask them to tell guests about your experiences. Set up commission fees with several OTAs, and get travel writers to write about your excursions. Finding the partnerships that work best for your company can be done through a variety of different relationships.
Choosing the Right Channel
A distribution system that works for everyone is almost impossible. Using a range of distribution channels and keeping your distribution network balanced will help you avoid being dependent on any one source.
You may consider these few points while working on your distribution strategy:
- Will this channel help me reach my target market?
- Does this channel accurately reflect my brand?
- Could this channel aid in my market expansion?
- Will I be able to work and maintain a fair and appealing commission rate via this channel?
Your distribution ultimately determines success in the tourism industry! Therefore, if you have a distribution network, you will become more visible and, consequently, generate more word-of-mouth, which will ultimately result in success!