Backing up

Backing up your data

Technology and data, and free access to both, has become a vital part of everyday business running procedures. People still overlook the importance of backing up their data, making sure that in case of an unfortunate event, they will not lose valuable information.

We have a backup policy for our online systems to reduce the risk of data loss, this being said, each client is responsible for their own data back ups for their offline services. To help implement good backup procedures we’ve drafted guidelines and recommendations for your IT team.

 

Why are backups important?

Having duplicate copies of your most important information saved in a alternate location keeps it safe in the case of damage to your computer.

There are a number of ways files can be lost unexpectedly:

Computer crashes – always happen when you least expect it, and can lead to data loss.

Virus Infection – aggressive malicious viruses can corrupt files and disable computers.

Hard drive failure – hard drives have a finite lifetime and can fail suddenly and without warning. The sudden death of a hard drive can cause the painful loss of months or years of irreplaceable files and the timing can be catastrophic.

Physical computer damage – your files are more at risk if you use a laptop. The portable and light option comes at the price of reduced durability. Laptops are sensitive and easily damaged if dropped or liquids are spilt on them.

Theft – computers are sought after by thieves and cannot always be kept secure whilst travelling.

The bottom line is that if you value what’s stored on your computer, it’s wise to take steps to protect your information from sudden loss. Work can be redone, but the loss of cherished files like family and travel photos is permanent.

 

Many users regularly backup their files to their computer hard drive, but in the event of a total computer breakdown this will not protect the information. Saving data to a separate location makes much more sense and can be easily done if you have an external hard drive, or a large-capacity flash drive to back up onto.

However, this method is only as secure as the device you’re backing up to. When saving your files to physical devices, your backup device needs to be kept in a different location to your computer, and can in turn fall victim to damage or loss. In addition, despite your best intentions, you may forget to copy your files as often as you should, leaving a large amount of recent work unprotected.

A safer and more effective method of securing files is backing up online. Files stored online are safe from damage your computer, and if something goes wrong with your machine you will still have remote access to your information from any computer with internet access. This means files can quickly and easily be restored to your computer from a secure online server.

 

How frequently should you backup your ResRequest database?

The most popular schedule is to run back ups at daily, weekly and monthly intervals, with daily backups on a rotation system, this is to ensure that you have a redundant backup, if one frequency fails then reverting to another previous version is easily accessible.

 

What time of day should your ResRequest database be backed up?

Running a backup will slow your system down so schedule your backups at a time when no one is working on the server e.g. before or after working hours.

 

How do your backup your ResRequest database?

Step 1: Install ResRequest script

Our mysqlback script will convert your ResRequest backup into a compressed file and dump the backup into a folder of your choosing. C:\Mysqlbackup\backupfolder\. Changing the backup location will be done in the script, on line 63, by changing to the path desired. The timing is edited and made using the built in windows “Task scheduler” to run the mysqlbackup.bat file at your chosen time.

 

Step 2: Install a backup tool that will backup the compressed file

In case you don’t already have a plan on how to or where to backup your database, we have a few suggestions

  • Use of a 3rd party backup program, like Smartsync pro, which can manage multiple backup schedules to different locations.
  • Back up to two locations, first being onsite for an easily accessible copy. The second on an external hard drive that is only brought onsite on a weekly basis to back up but is kept off site.

 

Clearing out your backups

Over time backups can utilise a large amount of disk space. If your backup objective is redundancy then it’s unlikely that you need to keep backups for longer than 3 months.

What happens if I need to reinstall my backup?

If your server has crashed and requires a reinstall of the ResRequest software, contact our offices for assistance.

Other hints and tips

Many countries experience power outages and also “unclean” voltage, which can result in hardware damage and data loss in some cases. We suggest that either a UPS or inverter with a voltage rectifier is considered.

If the server is damaged and needs to be replaced, the following need to be considered: the re-installation cost at our standard support fees as well as recovering all non ResRequest related settings and data, and putting a good preventative maintenance plan into action to save you money in the long run. Running routine maintenance checks to keep your hard drive and machine clean of unwanted programs, excessive data and archiving data, is important as it keeps your machine running at optimum level.

Remember that your access to digital information is a critical part of business, spend the time to make sure it’s done correctly and effectively.

 

What are connections?

ResRequest connections

logo-band

To be competitive in an increasingly online and automated space, Safari Agents and Tour Operators have implemented software applications that manage their business needs. A software application is the first part of their solution, the second part is electronic access to your system (to view rates and availability and make bookings) so they can prepare quotes and book directly from their solution. This process saves time and helps them compete with online agents.

What does a Tour Operator get with access to rates, availability and booking?

  • The ability to compete with online travel agents
  • Agents can effortlessly build itineraries
  • Prepare quotes quickly, in any time zone
  • Confirm bookings in a few quick steps

What’s your part in this?
Electronically connecting your agent (the buyer) to you (the supplier) is a change in the traditional way of making a booking. Agents are improving the tools they use to book so they can be more competitive, responsive and offer dynamic pricing. The booking process is changing from phone calls and several emails to using automated electronic bookings from systems designed to give Agents a competitive advantage. Your part is to recognise that your agent needs your support to leverage this competitive advantage.

What agents already use this connection to ResRequest?
Specialist agents like, Expert Africa, Bushtracks Expeditions, Go2Africa, African Eagle, Wetu and Wilderness Safaris have developed connections to ResRequest through ResConnect. As agents recognise the power in this connection, more and more have signed up to ResConnect to make it possible to sell Africa’s finest properties using their business tools.

Tourplan operators are also able to connect directly to your stock. The following agents using the Tourplan system are now able to connect to our ResRequest customers and will be requesting booking access permission:

Agents using Tourplan (create bookings): African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, African Bush Camps, Africa Travel Group, Africa 220, Cedarberg Africa, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Gamewatchers Safaris, Highline Tours & Travel, Iluka Tourism Investments, Infinite Africa, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Ker & Downey Africa, Live the Journey, Maplanga Africa, Natural Selection Safaris, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Team DM UK, Tour d’Afrique, Travel Counsellors, Sandown Tours & Incentives, Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

What are the steps to connect?
Once an agent has developed a connection between their booking system and ResRequest they will request permission to access your properties. You or our call centre setup their user account and you define what they can see and do in your ResRequest system. Our call centre then links this user to the agent’s ResConnect account which enables them to electronically connect to your rates, availability and make bookings.

We have recommended to ResConnect agents that only confirmed bookings are booked, however each relationship will need to be managed on a case by case basis.

How the setup works:
When you allow an agent to create bookings, the ‘Req Received’ button (at the top right corner of your screen) will flash and show the number of bookings received. These bookings need to be assigned to a consultant and checked.

Do we support editing and cancellations?
We do not support edits to bookings, however when amendments or cancellations are requested, an email will be generated to the supplier.

Will implementing an electronic connection change the relationship with your agent?
No – you’ll still work with your agent as a human – you’ll still meet with them at trade shows and sales visits, but the actual booking creation can be electronic.

Will this help you sell more bed nights?
Absolutely! New agents you have not worked with, will be signing with your property and existing agents, who prefer an automated booking process, will electronically incorporate your property into their itinerary building.

Can you control what the agent can see and do in ResRequest?
Yes, an agent will only see rates and room types allocated to their user profile and they can only look up availability and make bookings if you say they can.

Should you consider limiting an agent’s user access?
Limiting the agents electronic access is like owning a Ferrari and not adding the petrol. When we launched ResConnect 10 years ago, Agents only wanted a way to check availability and rates but now the trend is to create and cancel bookings. Why? Because it saves so much time and improves efficiency for your agent. It gives them a competitive advantage over other online sales platforms.

What happens if agents start booking and cancelling frequently?
Electronic connectivity makes checking availability and making bookings so easy that it will very likely be tempting for your agent to frequently hold space and cancel. Initially some agents may not realise this makes more work for you. Remember to set your reservations that don’t materialise to ‘Deleted’ and if your agent’s actions are causing more work for you – show your agent their conversion stats and ask them to find ways to streamline the process to avoid a negative rating with you.

What can you do if your agent does not have a system but they want a similar competitive advantage?
That’s easy – give them a login to your ResRequest system. Here’s what this means for your agent:

We would love to hear how you benefit from this business to business solution, get in touch if you would like to share your thoughts.

More exposure on Airbnb

Airbnb shares how you can get more exposure for your property by listing it on airbnb.com. More than 80 million people have travelled on Airbnb so listing your property gives you access to a broad base of customers who love to travel. It is free to list and Airbnb only charges a 3% commission.

About Airbnb
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether a spare bedroom, an apartment, a villa or a private island, Airbnb connects travelers to a more diverse and authentic range of experiences in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

How Airbnb works: 

  • Ordinary residents – “hosts” – can list their own homes on the Airbnb website. They create online profiles for themselves and for their property, choose their own price and availability and set guidelines for guests.
  • Increasingly we are seeing that unique properties do really well and that it has become and avenue for small lodges, tented camps, tree houses etc. The key thing is that there is a host who can communicate with and welcome guests and that each bedroom is unique.
  • Guests search for hosts and properties that meet their criteria – dates, location, number of beds or rooms, wifi, breakfast included, etc.
  • Hosts and guests can learn about each other through information provided on their Airbnb profiles, including past reviews, photographs, and identity verification. Additionally, hosts and guests can communicate with each other through the Airbnb website, to discuss travel dates, expectations, and price.
  • Airbnb facilitates the entire financial transaction and holds onto the payment until 24 hours after the reservation begins to make sure both guests and hosts are happy before the payment goes through. Hosts keep 97% of booking fees, and guests pay a 6-12% fee to Airbnb.
  • After the stay, both hosts and guests leave reviews for one another. The reviews are public for all future hosts and guests to read.
If you’re still not convinced, hear what President Obama had to say about Airbnb.

Who can list on Airbnb?
Anyone with a bedroom, an apartment, a small guest house, B&B, lodge or self catering accommodation. What is important is that there is a host to facilitate the guest experience, and that each room needs to be listed separately unless you are renting out the whole place.

Would you like to become a host?

Where do I go to list my space?

If you have any questions, feel free to contact velma.corcoran@ext.airbnb.com or go to https://www.airbnb.com/help.

ResRequest does not currently have an integration with Airbnb, but do let us know if this is something that you would be interested in.

Changes that impact your email

At the end of February we received notification from our email provider, Mandrill, that they would be moving to a more secure method of emailing which would require verification of email senders when sending mail via their web service. The change is in line with a global move to reduce SPAM and have resulted in a new business opportunity from other vendors to step into the gap.

Mandrill notified us with short warning that they would implement these changes on 01 April. The implication would negatively impact our customers since it meant that every user who sends an email from ResRequest (agent, direct or staff member) would need to be registered by their system administrator as a verified email address. This is not a ResRequest specific issue but affects any / all applications that facilitate outgoing mail. As we were unable to work with these restrictions we needed to change our email provider from Mandrill to Elastic Email.

 

How does this effect you?

Emails being sent from ResRequest have an Elastic Email [mailto:mailer@elasticemail.com] On Behalf Of XXX as the “From” address, and for security reasons these have universally been put in place to prevent combat phishing in particular.

When clients reply to your emails it will automatically fill in the reply address. We are unaware of any situations where the email does not recognise the original sender’s email address on the reply.

Does it affect everyone?

Note that not all email clients display the “On Behalf Of” message and these recipients will be unaware of the problem. Microsoft Outlook users are affected which unfortunately means a large proportion of all email recipients.

Will the problem persist?

This change was unexpected and there is a large community looking for solutions to the issue. ResRequest is also considering different solutions so that the mail “From” address would emulate your own email.

It was not a decision made by ResRequest but instead it was made by most mailing companies globally. We are investigating how we can resolve this for a more professional presentation of your email “From” address when using our web server.

What can we do to help?

Elastic mail is a new mail providing service and therefore doesn’t have a large footprint in the industry, In light of this, a few things need to be taken into consideration.

A lot of SMTP (that’s your mail providers) don’t have elasticmail.com listed as a trusted domain, which means that emails might be sent straight to spam.

White listing the domain or email address for elastic mail in your SMTP will always mark those mails as legitimate. Your agents can do the same for speedy mail and easy deliverability. The email address to add is mailer@elasticemail.com and the domain is elasticemail.com.

rainmaker | Google 360° virtual tour

rainmaker is the accredited Google Street View Trusted Agency in Africa, bringing you all of the new features and benefits of the Google Travel Services. This will significantly improve your direct booking conversions, digital presence ranking and, thus, your revenue, average daily rate and occupancy.

Providing stunning rainmaker VISTA 360° Virtual Reality Tours (powered by Google Street View Trusted), properties can gain the most immersive and best converting content, not only for their own website but also for their Facebook Page and, most importantly on Google. All tours are seamlessly integrated into all relevant Google Services such as Google Search, Google Maps, Google Now, Google Trips, Google Plus, Google Places, Google Hotel and Google Destination. As a result, this increases traffic to direct websites right from Google.

THIS COULD BE YOUR HOTEL

SEE HOW OTHER PROPERTIES GOT MORE BOOKINGS via Website, Google MapsFacebook and Google Search.

Want to know who’s using 360° Virtual Tours? Take a look.

Don’t miss this great opportunity rainmaker and the Google Travel Services provide for all hotels, lodges, guesthouses, B&Bs and restaurants in southern Africa.

Contact riette@rainmaker.travel with any question you might have.

Tour Radar | Booking tours made easy

Want to sell your own tours?

TourRadar, the web and mobile marketplace for group travel has launched a payment and messaging platform connecting small/medium sized tour operators with customers. Now with 20,000 bookable multi day tours TourRadar boasts the largest unbiased selection on the web. Adventure travel news

Specialising in multi day tours, particularly 7-10 day trips including accommodation and transfers they appeal to various budgets and age groups. TourRadar is also associated with Contiki tours which have been running tours for more than 50 years, for travelers aged 18-35 years old. They are specialists in this age group, offering their unique tours worldwide to those who have a passion for travel, exploration and adventure.

Partnered with a range of high-end to smaller operators and using review algorithms they aggregate tours on their platform and pride themselves in price matching.

This year they will be integrating with Amadeus – Asia Pacific connecting to 80000 agents and are currently exploring interfacing to ResRequest.

“TourRadar is the pick of the bunch for its great content, reviews, user experience, integration of social and for trying to do something different in a sector of travel that is under-represented” – Nikki Emmans, Head of Online Marketing at Lonely Planet

Here’s how it works

8 steps to get more bookings

  1. Update the tour details regularly
  2. Clearly state what is and what is not included
  3. Use a high quality photo for each tour
  4. Add videos to my tours
  5. Ask every traveller to write a review
  6. Prompt every traveller who has booked a tour to meet others
  7. Respond to enquiries within 5 minutes
  8. Keep responses short and establish a dialogue

Read more

For operators TourRadar is a Global Online Marketplace where travellers search, compare and book multi-day group tours. Find out more


Why shop for a tour on TourRadar?

Booking on TourRadar is in real time with 24/7 service – questions can be asked and bookings made and confirmed with an agent anytime. They are known to be experts on touring, unbiased comparisons and advice on tours across all brands.

The company is built on transparency and has no hidden fees. TourRadar charges no booking fees, hidden credit card fees, change fees or cancellation fees for additional peace of mind.

The website also hosts a loyalty program for travellers to earn credits on bookings and referrals.

Centricity | Guest Surveys, Online Reputation Management, Image Library

Centricity provides three separate solutions to the hospitality industry – Guest Satisfaction Surveys, Online Reputation Management and an Image Library solution.  Through an integration with ResRequest you can automate the sending of post-stay guest surveys and receive high quality guest feedback and comments in real time.

In addition to guest surveys, Centricity also help hotels to monitor and manage their online reviews from key travel review sites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia.com and Facebook.  With the Online Reputation Management module you can see all of your online reviews in one location and reply to them directly from Centricity.

Images sell hotels and the Image Library solution helps hotels to move their image libraries to the cloud, so that your images are more accessible and easily shared directly from the cloud when needed.

Periscope | The world through someone else’s eyes

Written by Jill Bennett-Howes

Cool advancing tech

For two years the theme at tourism and social media conferences is clear – the world wants to watch videos. Come to think of it probably 15% of my week is spent watching videos on my YouTube channel and my Twitter and Facebook feeds!

With video being the new norm it makes sense that video streaming products like Periscope are quickly bought up for “small sums” like $100 million. So what is Periscope and how does it fit into your business? I decided to do my own trialling and draft my experience. Here’s what I learnt…

What you need to know about Periscope

To understand what Periscope is you need to understand what the developers were trying to create. “It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video.”

Launched in March 2015 as Twitter’s app, Periscope is an exciting video streaming social media platform. It allows you to watch and broadcast live video from across the globe. Often confused with Meerkat, Periscope’s difference is that you can save the video streams once you are finished so anyone can view them for up to 24 hours; Meerkat’s live video disappears.

In its first 10 days of operation Periscope gained an audience of 1 million users, by August 2015 it was announced that it hosted over 10 million active accounts. With all that interest it’s definitely a platform every marketing genius should be exploring – and considering the Battle at Kruger’s success – we know video feed is one of the most effective ways to sell Africa.

While no one’s sure if Periscope will continue to grow and activate all 300 million twitter accounts, considering video success stories like Google, Youtube and Facebook our money’s on this space becoming an expected norm for Tweeters.

What is it? Periscope is like your own live TV station. It allows you to video record and broadcast to anywhere in the world, streaming it to public or only certain users.

How does it work? Periscope users have the option to tweet out a link to their live stream. Instead of Facebook “likes”, Periscope uses “hearts” to the broadcaster – simply tap on the mobile screen as a form of appreciation. Once you’ve downloaded Periscope from the App store you can sign up with Periscope in two ways either in conjunction with your Twitter account or create a Periscope account using your mobile number.

The beauty of using Periscope with your Twitter account is that you can push a notification on Twitter each time you scope – which will gain you a larger audience.

Like most social media platforms Periscope has its own language. Understanding it is just the same as liking and following on Facebook or retweeting on Twitter.

Here’s some terminology to get you going:

  • Scoper: (with a capital S please!) A person actively using Persicope
  • Scope: Each time you broadcast a video, you are creating a scope.
  • Hearts: Scopers show their appreciation of a scope by tapping on the screen. This gives the broadcaster a “heart”. The number of hearts received determines the colour assigned to your account – indicating your popularity.
  • Reply: Periscope offers the option for Scopers to record their broadcast so that other scopes can replay the broadcast.
  • Follow: Scopers follow each other. It’s the same as liking on Facebook, connecting with a user’s LinkedIn profile, or following a user on Twitter.

My foray into Periscope

This is great. Right? A few paragraphs and *BOOM*, you’re already a Scope-pro. That’s just what I thought and I promptly enrolled in the process to become a Scoper… (1) I went to the App Store and downloaded Periscope. Ok that was easy enough. (2) I logged in using my Twitter account. That’s when the wheels came off. I felt utterly lost, like I was teaching my mom how to Facebook all over again. In mild panic, thinking I had maxed my tech talent, I debated who I could call for help knowing I’d have to admit I was far from understanding this “super simple, app of the year”. Instead of facing the humiliation I took to Google: “Periscope 101 for dummies” I typed. Scott Kelby came to my rescue and after a 10 minute tutorial I was back in the game.

Seven things they need to fix in Periscope

With great relief I eagerly embarked on adding my fellow Tweeters to my Periscope account. That’s when I came up short again. It turns out Africa hasn’t figured much of Periscope out yet either so not many of my local friends and favourite properties had an account, so I ended up spending most of my night watching reams of second-hand footage of some important soccer match in Brazil in my public stream.

I was about to give up when I remembered that I absolutely adore Scotland – so why not swing by and see if there were any highlanders posting amazing footage from the Isle of Skye or from Edinburgh Castle. After watching the v-neck and groin area of several badly filmed greetings broadcast by some Irish pub crawlers, I realised I was not going to be delivering any hearts to the Highlands anytime soon. I continued my foray into this realm of amateur, irrelevant broadcasts and surfaced a few hours later.

During that time I watched a piano recital in Sefton, England. I saw how windy it was in England, I listened to an urgent press briefing in Germany that got a load of German comments – unfortunately Google translate is not built in yet but the journalist definitely had me Googling what the big news could be about. I watched a rockstar attempt karaoke in Spain and got to see Niagara Falls. In a blink I realised it was 02h30 and I’d spent way too many hours doing *ahem* research. Was this a #EpicFail? Actually no, I ended up having an entertaining evening. In fact as I turned to Clash of Clans to see if my base had fared better than my Scoping attempts it dawned on me that I had actually thoroughly enjoyed my research and that I’d be doing a bit more of it again.

Could I have enjoyed it more? Absolutely! I would have loved to be watching the northern lights or seen the view from the Isle of Skye or the sun setting in the Rockies over a Harley Davidson’s handlebars, maybe the rush of the bungee on the Zambezi or an elephant charge.

My conclusion: I think this tool is being grossly under used but I think it’s is going to become a powerful social media tool for experience based travel. I can’t wait to start scoping our customers and their customer’s broadcasts!

Love your agent

One of the major advantages of moving away from an excel booking sheet and onto a central reservations system as sophisticated as ResRequest is that you can leverage your availability to increase sales.

We know that the online realm can be a little bit alarming – and knowing how much access to give and to whom is a worry we all have. Especially those of us who feel connected to our bookings and don’t want to cede control to the anonymous web!

One of the “gentlest” ways to leverage your availability is to give agents you trust, who already know and sell you, a certain amount of access to your system.

You can do this in several ways:
1. You can give agents access to your system – as you would someone in your office with a login – but with limited rights.
2. You can use our plugin ResNova to put your availability onto your website, and you can tell your agents to check there.
3. You can allow agents to access your system through their system – using ResConnect. This only works if they have a system which interfaces to ours. We are happy to supply you with a list of these specialist agents and tour operating system that we connect directly to.

Today we are talking about #1

Add agent conact

You can setup an Agent in your system as a User – and decide how much access you will give them to your system. You can specify which Properties and Accommodation Types they can see and which Rate Types they can use.

You can give them the right to:

1. See availability: and decide whether you will show actual numbers, or just available / not available.
2. Hold space
3. Make a reservation

When a booking comes into your system from an external source (which is what we consider an Agent User to be) – the booking goes into the Req Received area on ResRequest, which means you have to accept the booking into your system, and can thereby keep track of new bookings coming in.

If you would like to give agents access – or have already done so – you might find this little video useful. It explains to agents how to access the system, and how to make reservations (if they have the right to do so).

 

How to get guests in your bed – a strategic guide to get more bookings

Analyse clients

Written by Mqondisi Gumede, Man and Machine

One of the difficulties of marketing in travel is that it is a very large place that boasts an incredible array of beauty. It is a never ending pageant of scenery, culture, beauty, culinary delight, diverse experiences and accommodation establishments at their best décor and service.

In such a situation, most hoteliers will have found that, as justifiably proud of their establishment’s charms as they are, there are other establishments with different but no less compelling offers to potential guests.

In this situation, what are hoteliers to do? Our response is to develop a strategy.

One of the hallmarks of strategy is to answer the question ‘WHO?’ first, before you answer the question ‘WHAT and HOW?’ (To understand why this order is important, I make the argument in the post – A strategic marketing approach to get a date ahead of Brad Pitt. In essence being tactical, approaching this problem from a first ‘WHAT’ and ‘HOW’ perspective, will render you far less likely to succeed than approaching the challenge from a first ‘WHO’ then ‘WHAT’ approach.

Gaining clarity on who for all businesses, especially hotels, has so far been a very difficult affair. Recent conversations have pinned hopes on big data, hoping that, if businesses had more data they would be better at generating insight. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that we have today are businesses that have a greater amount of data but generally still have the same scarcity of insight.

In your pursuit of understanding the ‘WHO’, it is important to focus on insight. Here are the 2 main reasons:

1) WHY is the power.

In the movie The Matrix Reloaded, Neo (the One) goes to visit the Merivingian. An entertaining passage of dialogue ensues that culminates in the Merivingian asking Neo: “Why?” The star of the movie hesitates and offers no answer, the Merivingian, incredulous, admonishes him saying:

“…Why is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless. And this is how you come to me: without why, without power, another link in the chain.”

Then, he dismisses him in the following fashion:

“But, fear not, since I have seen how good you are at following orders, I will tell you what to do next. Run back, and give the fortune-teller this message:…”

In the world of appeal, nothing can be more valuable than understanding why people do what they do. Imagine how you could change your marketing, your Facebook page, your website, if you knew why people travelled at all and why they choose the travel experience providers they do.

This is perhaps the most important prerequisite to being able to have a compelling offer in a crowded travel and tourism industry, if you can understand the why of the people that are likely predisposed to choosing your establishment.

As difficult as it is, there is no greater guarantee of success in marketing, online or not, but locating the reasons, the why, of your target market’s travel choices. This may not be the fastest or easiest route but it is the surest route to marketing and booking success:

2) Start by getting a better understanding of the people who have stayed with you before.
Many businesses go after more and more data when they do not use the current data they have to gain rich insight which remain the same even if they analysed 100 times the data.

To avoid this huge missed opportunity, think of all the people that have booked at your establishment and all the conversations you’ve had, all the reviews and social media mentions that you’ve read about your establishment and answer the following questions.

i. Try and list the 3 largest groups of people that emerge.
ii. Once listed ask yourself and/or key members of your team, why they chose your establishment?
Once you have the first answer, ask “why is that important?” and as you get an answer repeat the process for 5 whys.

If you don’t get beyond 2 or 3 whys, it signals that there is some work to do in understanding the motivations of your targeted audience and would not keeping your marketing activity to a moderate level until you can have this conversation very casually with your new guests over the course of the next weeks.

Once you can get to 4 or 5 whys for the top groups that stay with you, you will now understand why they travel and why they make the travel choices that they do.

This insight, will start to shed light on who your audiences are and the best way to prosper in trying to appeal to them.

In our next blog post we’ll discuss how to apply this new found power. If you feel you need more detailed analysis, we at Man&Machine combine the understanding of people, strategy, marketing and digital and put them together in a way that works best to get you more guests to your establishment. We will be able to apply a host of techniques that can provide you with a clearer view of the people who have stayed at your establishment as one of the inputs to greater marketing efficacy in the online space.

www.manandmachine.solutions