A debate on what industry is most important to sustained growth in Africa can easily be won when you bring up Travel and Tourism. Africa may be rich in oil in some parts, and minerals in others, but it is rich in beauty in all places and is increasingly attracting domestic and international tourists.
It has been mentioned many times that in Africa the majority of the population access the Internet using their mobile phones as there is a huge lack of fixed line Internet connectivity and reliable electricity sources. In most first World countries, accessing the Internet via a mobile device has overtaken accessing it via a Desktop computer, in addition most of these market are using Smartphones and are very comfortable using Mobile Apps.
These are some of the reasons why mobile has dramatically altered travel, whether it is pre-trip planning or location aware information. Mobile has transformed every phase of the travel process and as a result has created new marketing opportunities for astute travel and tourism organisations.
If you walk around your village, or city, you see tourists taking pictures with their mobile devices all the time. They then share the picture, influencing friends, and then maybe they search for a place to have lunch, or an activity to do for the afternoon. This creates a touch point for marketers, and opens up avenues for incremental revenue after the big elements of a trip are booked.
The best way to reach domestic tourists is through a simple mobile website or a USSD interface, for the growing segment of Smartphone users and International tourists though, the mobile website or App needs to be feature rich. Payment is another important consideration; African organisations may default to implementing a mobile money solution, however credit card and PayPal is still the preferred method of payment for International visitors.
Here are some best practices for mobile marketing to the Travel and Tourism sector:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) for your mobile website is very important, the chance of a user going to the second page of results on a mobile device is even less than on a computer.
- Embrace location based services, they will allow you to pin point your potential consumers.
- Use Mobile Banner Advertising to build brand recognition and knowledge, as well as generate leads.
- Facilitate social networking and sharing, it is the most cost effective marketing tactic you have available, and the influence friends have on each other is massive.
- Look for innovative and fun ways of engaging visitors, for example create a mobile game, or allow consumers to subscribe to monthly wildlife wallpapers, global once-off and subscription payments that are added to a users mobile phone bill are easily facilitated through products such as InMobi SmartPay.