These days tourism is as much an online business as it is a local one, especially thanks to us darn tech savvy and impatient millenials. One of our first destinations when researching travel, no matter who you are, is the internet. Due to the nature of tourism itself, visiting a place that is physically removed from your local area, online is the obvious starting point for all things travel related, even if you’re still looking for a place to go.

More and more of us are finding and booking flights online, often through sites offering cheap fares and fare comparisons. We’re also using sites like Airbnb (which is seriously awesome) and Trivago to find a great place to stay at a good price. Don’t worry about millenials being cheap though, apparently we’re willing to fork out the cash for things that we think are worth it, plus most of us are in the ‘peak earning period’ of our lives.

Then we have Tripadvisor, everyone’s favourite stop for finding out whether a tourism operator is worth our money. An ‘excellent’ Tripadvisor rating is an invaluable asset to have, given research has indicated that more than 80% of us are willing to trust the reviews of strangers, peers and friends when it comes to travel. Especially if we’re looking for authentic, local and personalised experiences, there’s no better resource than word of mouth.

I found Jane’s recent blog about ‘Voluntourism’ really interesting given how this form of travel relates to the increasing trend of travellers looking for authentic experiences. This idea of voluntourism is strongly indicative of the current generation of young travellers who are likely to be socially conscious, open to learning, keen for immersive experiences, and who are often likely to travel with friends.

If you’re a tourism operator what does this mean? Well…

  • Get on Tripadvisor now (if you’re somehow not on it already)
  • Make sure the experience you’re providing is worthy of an excellent rating
  • Make sure you’re listed on any popular booking or comparison sites relevant to your industry
  • Think about how you can add a sense of ‘authenticity’ to what you offer, with a focus on real, relatable stories and anything that’s unique about your location or what you do
  • Think about different ways you can show this to people online

If you need help with that last one you know who to contact!