Portugal: Tourism and Marketing Together Forever!
by Diogo Assis, events by tlc and Case Imagine Director
When there is an event, there is a purpose of communication. An event is only one stage of an entire complex communication process and not just an isolated act. Let's see, an incentive is the culmination of an internal campaign to boost results that in the end rewards the best, who set an example for the rest and the calendar for the following year.
A kick-off meeting is an event that aims at effective communication and alignment of employees with goals for a given period. A trade show serves as a platform for suppliers in a given industry to make their products and services known to potential customers. And so on. That is, there is always a very present communication goal.
I see a DMC today as a communication service company, where knowledge of destination and tourism products is important, and certainly a competitive advantage, but not enough.
The traditional source of local contacts has been replaced by the online search, supplemented by the Tripadvisors in this life and replacing the traditional model.
A DMC, in essence, is a spin off from the traditional travel agency for group operation, acting on bus reservations, guides, hotels, venues, tours and such.
This logistics continues to be an important competence of a DMC, but certainly less relevant than in the past. Today we need to have broader skills in creativity, design, content, technology, that is, having global competencies and acting locally. You have to think about experience, not just logistics.
Are we facing a new category that encompasses communication and tourism competences, combining a deep understanding of the customer, motivations and objectives of the event, elements and communication strategy to the knowledge of the destination generating appropriate solutions that reflect in the generation of positive feedback to the organisation?
"What used to work in the old days does not necessarily work today," and this comment leads us to the foundations, studies and training. Using the Japanese word "Kaizen", which means constant improvement, we need to rethink the educational model appropriate to the digital transformation necessary in organisations, but also in individuals and, above all, to instill the spirit of constant training. "I went to university 15 years ago, I've studied, I'm ready!" are lines that do not work anymore. Constant adaptation is a necessary asset, and as Darwin taught us: only those who can adapt will survive.
There is a growing substitution of man for the machine, and at a time when it is estimated that 40-50% of jobs will disappear in the next 15 years, organisations must be transformed so as not to become obsolete. There are skills that are harder to replace for machines, and certainly interpersonal relationships and creativity are two of them. We have to use them in our favor, assuming the transformation of industry and detaching ourselves from the "good old days".
Evolution of the transactional model itself refers us to consulting professions in which brainware is the source of income. Sounds familiar, right?
If the mark-up model worked in the past, in which a DMC, in addition to commissions, added a margin to all contracted services, today, this model is not accepted. Transparency is required in an industry that is increasingly eager to demonstrate the true value of intermediation, and a consequent return to the contractor.
Organisations are looking for new trends in relating and communicating with their audiences, both with internal teams and with their clients / consumers. They look for solutions that emotionally relate these audiences to the brand / product, and sports are more and more present (as a relationship platform generating good opportunities for interaction and visibility), as are viral videos, online platforms, public spaces activations, among others. A DMC currently has to understand these trends and present appropriate solutions, taking into account the 360° vision of the customer's communication objective. If they do not, they are at risk of losing their place in leadership and losing added value in the industry. It is with this perspective that I increasingly believe that tourism will go hand in hand with marketing, in a marriage that is expected to last (not to say being eternal).
Understanding the real needs and motivations of the customer when travelling to Portugal or another destination is crucial to exploring the full potential of the business, satisfying it more deeply and making it loyal to our services.