At eTourism Summit, we’re continually staging a full-blown “Listening Tour” to stay a beat ahead of whatever’s coming down the pike before it reaches the junction of DIGITAL MARKETING and TOURISM. Our delegate feedback from last October signals a green light on expanding the Attractions Track at #eTS14.
The Magnetic Attraction of Attractions and Q&A with Viator
Over the course of our lifetimes, the world’s greatest attractions have come to realize that simply unlocking the doors in the morning is no replacement for a marketing strategy.
In other words, they used to think that if people cared about the treasures of the Louvre, the depths of the Grand Canyon or the mystery of Stonehenge, they’d just show up.
These days, attractions marketing is a great deal more sophisticated than printing a brochure and running a gift shop. However, one thing hasn’t changed: Attractions attract.
With a Finger on the Digital “GO” sign
We spoke with Kelly Gillease, Vice President Marketing at Viator to learn more about the latest.
We’re pleased to begin by recognizing and thanking Viator for their sponsorship of the Attractions Track at the upcoming 15th annual eTourism Summit.
eTS: Kelly, tell us about how you came to Viator.
KG: It was a sequence of internet startups, from Hotwire to Expedia through its acquisition of Hotwire, then to Yahoo that led me to Viator, which was funded and poised for expansion in 2005.
eTS: What are the top three trends attractions should be most aware of in their marketing?
KG: There are currently two topics that outrank any others.
First, in the decision and buying process, the shift to mobile is absolutely essential of as yesterday. Since travelers have a guide and a booking engine in their pocket, finding things to do has moved away from the desktop.
Second, attractions should harness the power that mobile provides once visitors arrive. While I have seen some attractions do a good job of this, I’ve never seen one who has done an excellent job. Attractions should start with free Wi-Fi, and then be really smart about the possibilities of helping visitors to share their experiences online in the moment.
eTS: What are the top challenges that attractions need to confront?
KG: The quality of experience on mobile websites means attractions must think through the operational aspects, too. For example, printing and ticketing requirements need to be optimized and simplified.
eTS: How can attractions better partner with hotels, activities, tours to sell more product?
KG: We talk to lots of smaller attractions and non-profits that lack the immediate resources required for developing an app, producing multi-lingual landing sites, micro-sites and other opportunities that present as weaknesses. In partnering with Viator, for example, we can help them achieve better global distribution and get a slice of the big pie, which in turn creates sales and allows them to scale up over time.
eTS: What’s new inside Viator in 2014-15 that you’ll be sharing with us in greater detail at the eTourism Summit in October?
KG: We’re looking forward to sharing details about better tech solutions for consumers to buy deals, sales and last minute tickets from the attractions we work with.