With optimum IT use

January 06, 2020
Visit Nepal 2020 has been launched with the slogan ‘Experiences of a lifetime’. Given the steady growth in travel worldwide, the number of tourists visiting Nepal this year will definitely increase.
Travel is an exciting experience for everyone. At every stage of travel, from the time of searching for destinations, planning the itinerary, selecting and booking service providers, experiencing the travel itself, sharing the experience to reflecting on those experiences and possibly returning for similar experiences, every traveller needs the right information. Travellers seek for thrills, adventures or even inner peace in their travel itinerary.
Nepali hospitality and tourism service providers are facing challenges in providing the right information and services to the right travellers at the right time. The need of exposure in the global market to be chosen by travellers is ever increasing. After travellers embark on their journey, providing the right service with the right set of tools and technology, and automating communications and business operations add other challenges in providing a good experience to the travellers.
While searching for travel destination, travellers use search engines, social media networks, travel portals as well as word of mouth recommendations. Nepali hospitality and tourism service providers have catered their websites well using search engine optimisations to position the websites for better search results, listed their property and profiles on social media and travel portals for global reach. In addition, use of branding and targeted marketing strategy, world-class branding materials and designs, detailed dynamic itinerary of tours, virtual tours of hotels and other places of attractions, and prompt response to queries will enhance the possibility of a traveller selecting Nepal as their destination.
Booking for hotels and tours in Nepal has been most challenging for international as well as domestic travellers. On one hand, booking via global service providers incurs heavy commission whereas on the other hand, opting out from these global service providers and limiting to domestic booking service providers only shrinks global reach. Booking via agencies and third party service aggregators also has similar problems due to multiple intermediaries.
Nepali online booking service providers can play a key role by building trust and facilitating international payment via their portals to reduce the number of intermediaries and hefty booking commissions. Integrating with international payment gateways and insurance providers, implementing security measures on servers, web apps, mobile apps, maintaining privacy of customers, and assurance of cancellation policy play key role in building trust with international travellers and adoption of Nepali online booking service providers.
Upon arrival of travellers, Nepali service providers need to make sure that they get most out of their visit. Allowing the right choice of services and products to the traveller is very important. Use of Point-of-Sale machines, information desks/kiosks, and mobile apps with Augmented Reality (AR) enhance the experience of travel. The stay of a traveller needs to be comfortable and secure enough. Information about local events and activities, specialties in food and culture shows add value to the service provided. Practice of secure payment, use of global security certifications and digital door locks with security builds the confidence of travellers on the service providers.
Every traveller wants to reflect, recommend and possibly return to similar experiences after a travel completes. Not all travels result in a pleasant experience. It is the responsibility of the hospitality and tourism service providers to make sure no stone is left unturned to avoid unpleasant experiences of travellers. Various online platforms are available for travellers to reflect on their travel experiences as well as provide a rating of their stay/travel. Nepali service providers can use the social media and other portals to highlight the good experiences collected by travellers during their stay. A rewards point mechanism can be established for those travellers providing constructive feedback.
Similarly, reward points can be allocated to returning customers.
Using information and communication technology to target travellers, reach them with proper branding and marketing contents, facilitate the booking and payment process, enhance their experience and ensure their return is possible by the Nepali hospitality and tourism service providers. Nepali service providers can benefit by identifying prospective customers, enhancing their experience and retaining them for long-term with the practice of customer relationship management systems.
Tools for customer relationship management help capture travellers’ data, analyse the data in terms of their demography, geography and psychography, identify exceptional cases by using business intelligence tools so that the service providers can get a snapshot of their business at will. Technology also allows the service providers to build an alliance so that travellers can get integrated services from different service providers. With the right set of technology use in the hospitality and tourism industry, Nepal surely can achieve the target of Visit Nepal 2020.