Since civilization began, traveling and discovering far away lands has been the ultimate dream and goal of mankind. Think Columbus, Magellanes or Alexander the Great. Without their dreams and visions, the same ones which brought them across oceans and through deserts into new territories, most of us would simply not be here. Leaving the very controversial ways in which this was done behind, there is no denying the exchange and contribution was two-way.
They brought food and goods from the West, or East in the case of Columbus, which they shared and exchanged with the locals. They also found great treasures in their journeys. Not just material ones, but also many lessons learned and many spiritual awakenings in their discoveries.
Truth is, whether we want to admit it or not, traveling or the tourism industry in general, form a great part of human evolution. Not just for those in a path of self-discovery or those seeking to expand their business or shop for goods. Also, for the nations and economies they visit. Small island nations and resort areas in remote countries, medium size destinations and even large economies, all benefit from tourism. It is an integral contributor the the growth of any country, its society and economy.
Small island nations tend to be more remote and far from mainlands though, like in the case of Maldives, Vanuatu or Seychelles. Thus, depending and needing to attract more of the tourism industry. They have also developed good air and shipping links with mainland hubs, mainly as a result of their history under Western imperialism. These iconic paradises all depend on the tourism dollar inflow to generate further employment, develop infrastructure and better the livelihood of their people.
The contribution to these small nations from every tourist counts. Every dollar spent and every review made by a tourist, from a small secret discovery they made finding, for instance, local food; can change a small business or a family for life.
Technology is the reason why. Nowadays, technology allows us to make an even bigger difference than ever before. Technology allows us to speak for free with family, friends and far away business partners at any time for free. Technology allows us to source materials, look for jobs abroad and even make friends online. Technology allows us to do pretty much what a decade ago seemed impossible.
Technology, also, gives a chance to nations and governments to further promote destinations and even showcase their investment opportunities. The typical advertisement avenues, such as billboards, full pages in current affair or lifestyle magazines, are proving to be less effective. Particularly when it comes to measuring the returns and the impact.
Social media platform such as Instagram, Facebook and even Pinterest are proving to provide more tangible returns and even more trusted information when it comes to tourism, and those seeking to find their dream vacation destination. Both from the travelers perspective as much as the ‘providers’ angle, technology plays a crucial role in the tourism industry and space today. Especially when deciding where to go and spend their hard earned money.
As much as technology is a great resource and marketing avenue to secure more tourist inflow, this is time consuming. Especially for government agendas and their priorities. So why not partner with expert in the matter. Those with a track record in providing not just the most complete and diverse curated information on each destination, but also give a voice to the locals and their businesses. particularly those businesses which otherwise would barely have any exposure or voice, ‘competing’ with the giants in the industry in every country.
A government can gain much more than destination promotion through some of these platforms, especially those than can quantify and truly measure the actual impact in their GDP and economic growth from every tourist arrival and tourist dollar which goes straight into the coffers. Additionally, these nations can see the reflection of the impact and results when it comes to diversifying their tourism offerings while encouraging further employment and opportunities for areas which otherwise are not normally visited by the average tourist. The overall benefits from some of these platforms is invaluable.
Now the question is which platform or partner to pick. Facebook is mostly used as a social, friend to friend platform. While Instagram is all about sharing images of varied types and content. However, they lack the content and call to action that a government actually needs to communicate their distinctive and competitive advantages when it comes to tourism, for example.
A newcomer in the travel industry, and already considered a leader in the travel space, is TRAVLR. This new concept and the technology implemented in its platform is not only redefining the way people are planning their travels, but also how and what they experience and share with the world.
TRAVLR came to fruition after its founders poured their 8 years of experience on a unique platform first focused on Bali, Indonesia, and created TRAVLR. A unique and specialized platform for one destination at a time. They realized there was a niche which was yet to be explored and developed. Travelers don’t just want to read reviews on what are the typical places to stay and go to. People want to discover the secrets in every destination. Those, which exactly make a trip a memorable discovery. The secret hide-outs, the tiny ‘holes-in-the wall’ shacks where locals eat and the unknown hidden areas where the locals and true adventurers go for unforgettable experiences or unique shopping offerings. That is exactly where these small business and small unknown local areas gain a voice, visibility and also generate income and further employment. This, directly translating to economic growth of these areas, the islands or nations they are in and the expansion in the promotion of tourism offerings otherwise neglected by the average tourist.
In the pursuit of this, the founders of TRAVLR, realized the only way of doing this properly was to allow thousands of locals, visitors and experts to contribute their knowledge and experience on the platform for the world to learn and have a chance to make their dream vacation different, unique and unforgettable. But that was not enough. They thought of the return on investment for government partnerships and also private businesses which also directly impact on the overall growth of the economy through the tourist dollars coming in.
Again, technology plays the crucial role here. Developing this new platform with the use of the latest software and apps, they found a way to close the loop on the five stages of travel: dream, plan, book, experience and share. They developed a platform, TRAVLR, which not only allows those dreaming of traveling to discover these world’s hidden gems, but also hand selecting information from all the curated content. Then pick their favorites, shortlist them and the best part, all this leading to actual bookings and purchases. All in the same platform. Then, when all is booked, from flights, accommodation and even adventures and dining experiences; all they need to do is pack and go.
While in one of these paradises they may discover a new secret unknown to the rest. They then share it with others, helping or inviting other travelers to dream of and then live what they have just discovered and experienced. This is the social media aspect of the platform. And this is not just for them to remember their trip or share with friends, they share it with the whole world to see and the process begins again. The loop is closed, and it is for a fellow traveler to start again from the dreaming stage.
Now how does this translate to governments and businesses? Simple. With TRAVLR, an airline for example, can directly measure the amount of seats which were directly booked on the platform. Same with any other type of business in the sector. For a government, the ROI is reflected in quarterly reports provided where traveler engagement, action in bookings and purchases, not to mention arrivals, is easily measured.
As times and technology advance, social media and their ‘celebrities’ also known as influencers, play a crucial role in helping the visibility of a destination or product exponential. We are talking millions around the world. By utilizing this approach, TRAVLR can conservatively offer, based on international statistics, no less than a 3% of its users to become actual consumers, or in this case tourist arrivals. If an influencer has 6 million followers, a minimum of 10% will result in engagement or call to action. An from that percentage is where the conservative 3% go to the destination or consume a product. So let's do the math: 10% of 6 million is 600K consumers engaged, and 3% of those is 18,000 actual tourist arrivals all resulting from the direct visibility in TRAVLR. With the average spending of a tourist at EUR 1,500 that is EUR 27 million injected to the economy through tourism arising from the exposure in TRAVLR. Imagine doing a more comprehensive campaign with several influencers plus the curated content and booking technology. TRAVLR can offer any nation thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of tourist arrivals and millions of euros in tangible and measurable results in a year or less through a dedicate campaign done in collaboration with any government or destination.
We can all agree that travel and tourism have been a great contributor to the development of civilizations and countries. Now, way into the 21st century, it is through technology that we can make the most out of it and achieve the tourism goals any nation aspires to. It is time to take advantage of seeing that beyond a few tourist discovering a new place or visiting their favorite island in the world, but making others dream of this far away land and making that dream a reality. And for governments there is no better approach than the use of the right technology and platform to tangibly receive the ROI to develop economic growth and employment through tourism. TRAVLR is a unique and smart option to help the do just that.