2020 was a devastating time for the tourism industry. COVID-19 has hit tourism-reliant destinations and their businesses hard, but history shows that the tourism industry is extremely resilient and always bounces back from difficult times. 2021 seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, offering opportunities— especially tourism market intelligence— to stay up to date on the latest tourism sector trends and developments.
1. Travel Insights with Google
In December 2020, Google launched a new suite of tools designed to help industry stakeholders make better, data-informed decisions. Travel Insights with Google features three tools for destinations, hotels, and Google’s commercial partners.
The first tool, Destination Insights, is a public resource for governments and tourism boards that details top sources of demand for a destination, as well as the destinations within countries that travelers are most interested in visiting. With the data, destinations can map out possible restarting of travel on specific routes and decide where to communicate with potential future travelers.
The second public tool, Hotel Insights, packages Google hotel search data to help hotels – namely small and independent hotels – understand how to target their marketing as they plan for recovery. It also includes a resource guide to help hotels leverage tools like Google My Business and Google Reviews.
The final component is the Travel Analytics Center, available only to Google’s travel commercial partners which enables organizations to combine their own Google account data with broader Google demand data and insights. The insights will help travel partners manage their operations and find opportunities to reach potential visitors.
Image source: Google
2. Virtual Tourism Trade Shows
Sure, we all miss scouring exhibition halls and meeting with tourism professionals from around the world face-to-face. Nevertheless, due to limitations on physical presence at tourism trade shows, organizers have become more creative – if not downright innovative – in offering up-to-date information and sales meetings through virtual channels. Most of the recent virtual tourism trade shows have been combined with webinars and workshops on the latest tourism trends and developments, focusing especially on COVID-19 impact. The good thing is, all the statistics, infographics, and market reports are only one click away, ready for you to download without having to leave the comfort of your home, and #staysafe.
3. Online tourism information sources, e-newsletters, and Podcasts
Finding reliable online resources for the tourism sector is hard and time-consuming. Instead, why not receive a curated list of the most relevant content for you straight in your email inbox? Subscribing to one or multiple tourism newsletters is simply a must for every tourism professional. Newsletters not only keep you updated on the latest news, but they are also filled with upcoming events, insights, travel data, and industry-defining content for tours, activities, and attractions. Some good examples are associations like UNWTO market intelligence webinars and Adventure Travel Trade Association, tourism portals, and online communities like Tourism Review and TravelMole.
As for Podcasts, Tourpreneur Daily Brief’s content is curated by Shane Whaley, a veteran of the travel industry for over 20 years who also hosts the TourPreneur Podcast. Also, The South Asia Travel Show is a podcast that analyses inbound, outbound, domestic, and intra-ASEAN tourism in-depth (and so does their newsletter.)
4. Social media
Social media such Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are excellent places to gain market insights. They also provide the ability to encounter other professionals and researchers in the tourism sector by joining tourism groups and actively participating in the group’s discussions. Social media also gives you a real-time look at industry demand through the travelers’ feeds from a tourist’s perspective. Viewing posts with travel-related trending hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, such as #staycation and #DreamNowVisitLater, show what people most desire to do and where they want to go post-pandemic.
5. Knowledge Sharing Sessions
Having a broad network in the tourism sector that consists of several stakeholders, such as tour operators, tourism associations, airlines, and sector experts is very important. You can tap into your own network and exchange useful information on market trends, developments, and expectations, interpret and analyse statistics, validate desk/primary research and translate information into practical actions.
For example, Globally Cool was recently commissioned by CBI to organize a knowledge-sharing session about tourism for business service organizations (BSOs) active in tourism promotion and tourism experts. More than 30 tourism experts came together to share knowledge during the session and provided excellent input to enrich the Online Tourism Destination Toolbox.