CAN DMOs COMPETE WITH OTAs
An interesting discussion revolves around the travel web sites and portals which support DMOs. Should these portals give the full tourist information thereby competing with OTAs, and is this achievable?
In Italy, Alessandro Nucara, CEO of the Italian Tourism Association Direttore Generale di Federalberghi, motivates the creation of a similar portal by the fact that in order to restore and further develop the tourism it is necessary to get rid of the influence of global online players.
Of course, his plans deserve respect, but unfortunately, their implementation is impossible for several technical reasons: there is no content, there is no information collection system, and DMOs have not established interaction with tourism businesses. Such tourism portals, as a rule, do not have a sufficient number of versions in other languages. For example, Booking com, where the information is constantly updated, works in 43 world languages, which is quite a costly affair.
In addition, the problem for such portals is the relevance and timely updating of information, due to the lack of interaction with local tourism businesses which are not able or do not want to provide comprehensive information and quality content for DMOs. And DMOs do not want or are not able to collect and post it on their portal.
Moreover, local businesses often do not understand the importance of properly representing themselves online. And here, in our opinion, the role of DMOs can consist in helping and training local businesses with at least the basics of Internet marketing.
We can also help in this matter. Seeing this problem, we organized open lessons on the basics of Internet marketing for travel organizations, which DMOs can take as a basis.
What is also important – the budget of 20 million for creating the portal is incommensurable with the funds that OTAs spend only on marketing around the world (more than 11 billion). But creating a web site or portal is not enough. Their promotion is much more complicated and expensive. And world experience shows that attempts to create a tourism portal are always doomed to failure.
Perhaps, DMOs should do a few other things? For instance:
- Create engaging content so that tourists want to come to this country.
- Create comfortable conditions for tourists to form a layer of travelers loyal to the country, who would share their impressions after the trip on social networks.
- Train local businesses in internet marketing so that tourists from all over the world can directly find what they need.
In our opinion, this approach, on the one hand, will make the traveling much more comfortable and safe, and on the other hand, it will contribute to the growth of loyal customers, and the growth of UGC with positive references to destinations, which is the best advertisement these days.