Tourism players urged: Explore opportunities of going digital

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |June 19,2018 - 08:51 PM

Heherson Ching Tengco, VYGR Voyeger Innovations, Inc. Accounts and strategy head, discusses how digital technology changed the way we travel during Thursday’s (June 14) Tourism Innovation Forum in Cebu City. CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

DIGITAL technology is changing how people travel.

With more Filipinos getting access not just to smartphones but also to cheap and even free internet, stakeholders in the tourism industry were urged to leverage on this trend.

Heherson “Jason” Tengco, head of VYGR Digital Agency, described digital technology as an “enabler” in the tourism industry.

“Digital technology is an enabler more than anything else. More Filipinos are now into digital. Mobile is very important. If you are a business with no website, plan your mobile platform first even before your website,” he said during yesterday’s Tourism Innovation Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

It is also important for businesses in the tourism sector to make sure their companies are searchable in engines like Google and Yahoo as they would lose to other players if they don’t do so. Searching, he said, is where everything starts for most travelers.

Digital technology has also enabled tourism customers to immediately give feedback through reviews in sites and social media accounts. An unsatisfied customer can easily leave a negative comment on your product or service.

“Thanks to online reviews and instant sharing of experience, customer experience has become a priority for businesses. It’s important you know what people are saying about you and about their experiences,” Tengco said.

“This is how you will be able to service them better and gain their loyalty. And as businesses, that’s what’s very important,” he added.

According to Tengco, there are currently around 67 million Filipinos who are internet users, representing a 63 percent penetration in the country’s population; while 65 percent of Filipinos now have smartphones.

Other statistics shared by Tengco is that 58 percent of Filipinos actually access the internet daily at an average of nine hours and 29 minutes.

There are also around 33 million online shoppers in the country, enabling businesses to have online transactions. For online travel bookings alone, he said total revenues was at P34 billion.

These numbers, he said, prove that the Philippines is already very digital and ready and that changes in the traveling industry are already happening.

Together with traveling, the hospitality industry is also seeing some new trends brought about by not just technology but other innovations.

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