Industry experts provided a well of knowledge and valuable advice to help bring Batangas’ best travel and tourism entrepreneurs take their business to the next level — and into the future.

Here are some of their insights:

Get DOT accreditation.

“[This] ensures that the DOT is able to maintain a database of all legitimate tourism establishments in the country. This makes it easier for the DOT to track legitimate businesses against fly-by-night ones.” – Marites Castro, DOT 4-A Director Officer-In-Charge

The Department of Tourism is encouraging travel and tourism business owners to get accreditation for various reasons, with the number one aim of professionalizing every aspect of service in the tourism industry.

As more and more travel and tourism establishments become accredited, the DOT is able to monitor if each establishment is complying with the set industry standards. Local travel and tourism establishments then meet nationwide and even global standards. A win for all!

Go where your market is.

“There are 67 million Internet users (as of last year), and it’s growing very, very fast. The Filipino people are becoming more connected because of their mobile phones. The Filipino consumer is more digitally connected than ever before.” – Joey Flores of AdSpark

Flores adds that the average Filipino spends about 9 hours and 29 minutes on the Internet. Take advantage of this time that Filipinos spend glued to their smartphones by reaching out to them while they’re on social media, messaging with friends, watching videos, or searching online for various information.

“Traveling has become cheaper, opening up opportunities for all income brackets to travel. Now, anybody can afford to travel.” – Grace Anduiza, Head of Business Development and Service Delivery for Globe myBusiness

As more and more people discover that traveling has become more accessible through the Internet, travel behaviors are shifting as well.

Anduiza adds, “Smartphone penetration is at 48 percent now, and come 2020, the forecast is 58-60%. This means that smartphone owners will start processing their travel destinations and activities through their mobile phones.”

Many mobile phone users are now turning to their phones to explore travel destinations, book flights and hotels, and find places to eat.

Be searchable.

“53 percent of travel is being booked online. If you can’t be searched on Google and you don’t have a website or social media presence, you’re crossed off the list because [people] can’t find information about you online.” – Rogelio Gabz Gabiano of @PinoyTravelFreak

With more people relying on the Internet for information, businesses will benefit much if customers are able to search them online. Online presence is at the top of the list for many businesses in the travel and tourism industry.

There are a number of ways to be searchable online: through a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or even a YouTube channel. This allows the customer to get a preview or a taste of what to expect when they travel to a certain destination. Ultimately, this helps them make informed decisions when it comes to traveling.

Harness social media.

“Stay relevant by having an online presence. Check your online reputation, and read all the feedback about your establishment. Don’t use social media as only a means of communication; use it as a marketing tool.” – Rogelio Gabz Gabiano of @PinoyTravelFreak

Social media accounts can be a useful tool in building that online presence. However, remember that it’s also a powerful tool in communicating with your customers. Don’t just use it as a directory for your contact info; rather, transform it into a powerful tool in reaching your customers.

Get an influencer.

“Three out of five people who watch travel blogs are interested to go to that space. 86 percent of travel blog content is produced by content creators and influencers. Take advantage of this through influencer marketing.” – Joey Flores of AdSpark

Create content that tells a story and entices viewers to also want to experience the same things shown on the video. Find the best travel blog storyteller—an influencer who is genuine and authentic.

Don’t have that much of a budget? Flores has an answer: “Get microinfluencers – those with 5k to under 100k followers – because they are relatively cheap, they have a lot of impact because they are real people with friends. If they have a good time, they will tell the world, and the world will come to you.”

Create relevant content.

“Start creating ‘Instagrammable’ spots—upgrade your decorations and the way you set up your hotel. Think of activities for the millennials—Instagrammable spots, food, or some offers for the week that are interesting.” – Grace Anduiza, Head of Business Development and Service Delivery for Globe myBusiness

Targeting the millennials? Satisfy their need for YOLO and address their FOMO (fear of missing out) by offering them opportunities to share these experiences from your establishment.

Get connected.

“One of the considerations for younger travelers nowadays is WiFi. People like to be connected and show off where they’re going. It’s also for safety and security, letting their family know where they are. ” – Grace Anduiza, Head of Business Development and Service Delivery for Globe myBusiness

Being connected doesn’t stop at you being accessible to potential customers; it also means having your present customers connected to the world at large. Make sure that your business establishment has fast, reliable Internet connection so that your customers can start posting about their experiences while they’re there. Nothing can be more authentic than seeing other travelers enjoying their vacation in real time.

Upgrade your customer service game.

“Will the emergence of technology, especially artificial intelligence, going to replace humans? My answer is ‘no,’ but at this point, you have to start harnessing the power of technology. The way we do customer service is different, but it’s still customer service with us connecting with our customers.” – Grace Anduiza, Head of Business Development and Service Delivery for Globe myBusiness

Utilizing technology doesn’t mean customer service has become cold and impersonal. Rather, customer service has become even more personal and more easily accessible. Responding to your customers’ needs should become easier through the help of digital marketing and technology.

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