The E Tourism East Africa Conference will be commencing on the 2nd of September and I can’t wait.
The press release sent to me partly reads:
East African tourism industry stakeholders are set to benefit immensely from discourses on e tourism to be presented at a regional e tourism conference set for early next week. The conference, which will feature global online giants such as Trip Advisor and Expedia, will focus on how East Africa’s tourism sector can harness the potential of the web, especially following the enormous interest generated in Africa from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Below is the gist of it all. I have written before that the Hotel and Tourism Industry in Kenya stands to benefit the most from the advent of social media. Allow me to reiterate that point.
In the past month, many of my friends have been writing on their Facebook walls and tweeting their experiences from how they have been able to purchase Air Tickets via MPESA, how they some have finally managed to book a flight online, how JKIA fairs when compared to other Airports, how they changed hotels because the one they were staying at did not iron clothes, which local flight operators were cheaper, to the prices one should expect to pay for a night’s stay in the various cities across Africa. Basically, from my Twitter and Facebook streams, I acquired information based on user experience on how to book my flights with ease via MPESA, which hotels not to stay in when I am in Uganda, how much I should carry when I travel to Angola (expensive) etc.
That is the reality today. With everybody today being a broadcaster thanks to social media, they are determining whether people will book a flight to your country, whether they will stay in your hotel, checking their wallets to see if they can afford you, and looking for alternatives if they don’t like what people have to say about you. It is that real.
It is with a deep appreciation of this reality that I feel the E Tourism East Africa Conference in Nairobi on the 2nd and 3rd of September is long overdue. As a Kenya business especially those in the Tourism, Hotel, and related industries, I believe that this conference is where you should be. I have looked at the invited list of speakers and I must agree that it is impressive.
The bottom line is that your bottom-line will in the future will increasingly be determined by how adept your company gets at integrating social media to your business strategy. People don’t care what you think about yourself, they care about what other users think and it is that information that they are using to make their booking decision from choosing getaway destination, booking flights to the hotel they are going to stay at. As a business, you need to know what people are saying about you, understand brand sentiment, learn to monitor this sentiment, and learn how to leverage the intelligence you gather to sway what people say in your favour.