Go digital to get share of Gen Z market – exec

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita October 11,2018 - 10:54 PM


Tourism players in Cebu are encouraged to harness the power of digital technology in their operations so that they can tap into the growing market of younger and tech savvy travelers.

Harnessing the power of digital technology in their operations will include using this in their processes to digital marketing on social media.

A way to do this is to create compelling content like photos, videos and articles.

“If you are a brand, what you can do is you start making content. Keep on making content. In between those, some may not work. But because it is online, it is easy to adjust. If it does not work out, you can just edit your content,” said Sky Gavin, chief operations officer of WheninManila.com, during the Tourism and Digital Transformation Conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Thursday (Oct. 11) where Gavin was one of the speakers.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) hosted Cebu leg of the conference, which was part of World Tourism Day 2018 that aims to share the latest trends and relevant issues of the global tourism industry to the Filipino travel and tourism stakeholders.

Similar conferences were also staged earlier in Manila and Davao.

According to Gavin, majority of the people who travel now belong to the Generation Z and Millennials.

These demographics, she said, are very social and interactive, tech savvy, but also cautious.

Generation Z people are those born in the mid 90s to 2010 while Generation Y people are those who were born after 1980 and reached adulthood at the new millennium.

Warner Andrada, DOT chief tourism operations officer, said that the tourism industry had been one of the sectors most affected by technology developments.

“Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve. It should also be consistent with our effort to promote our sustainable tourism goals,” he said in his speech.

Alex Macatuno, DOT policy formulation and international cooperation division chief, cited how digital technology had changed how people travelled.

More and more travelers are checking reviews on accommodations and restaurants from sites like Trip Advisor, booking tickets on Traveloka, getting tours from Klook, and using transportation apps like Grab, he said.

And much of these travelers who also rely heavily on blogs are the younger ones.

Citing forecast data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Macatuno said that by 2020, there will be almost 300 million international youth trips per year.

The availability of information from blogs have also enabled travelers to plan their trips by themselves.

Based on the Visitor Sample Survey of the DOT, 83.3 percent of travelers in the country are independent travelers.

These are mostly Millennials, young people, and backpackers.

On the other hand, only 16.7 percent of travelers engage in packaged trips that are provided by tour operators.

Yoshke Dimen, co-owner of the The Poor Traveler blog, also noted the shift into travelers’ use of blogs, social media, online forums, smartphones, and applications for their trips.

These tools, he said, are helping people travel on their own and forego the need to go through travel agencies.

“But in the DIY (do-it-yourself) world, there is a bright spot for travel agencies. Although only around 17 percent of travelers opt for packaged tours, they are the bigger spenders and they have a high purchasing power,” Dimen said.

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