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B2B and the tourism industry: Why mobile is key to successful digital strategy

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I have already covered the current growth and widening profit margins of the global tourism industry and the need for B2B companies and marketers in this field to develop a strong digital strategy if they want to capture a greater share of the market.

Here I cover one of the most important and fastest growing aspects of every forward thinking digital strategy in 2012: the mobile factor. Without leveraging mobile as an integral part of your digital strategy your carefully thought out plans might not be secured for the future – here’s why:

Recent research underlines the case for going mobile

For B2B marketers in any industry a common challenge is targeting the key platforms where audiences are most likely to consume information. These are increasingly going to be mobile. Current numbers cite 6 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2011. Meaning that it probably will be safe to accept 2010 research from Gartner forecasting the number of global mobile connections to swell to 6.5 billion by 2014. Even more important whit regards to any digital strategy focused on presenting useful and timely content to prospective users, by 2013, Gartner forecasts that smart phones and tablets will surpass PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.

Staggering numbers that should prompt marketers to start thinking about mobile. The growth in mobile use as preferred access point carries a massive impact for B2B – in fact this is possibly greater than for B2C. Unlike consumers, business people must stay connected to their communication devices in order to stay updated on breaking developments, read emails and share timely information. Unlike consumers business people tend to access emails, review work and, last but not least, do research while on the move making mobile even more important – especially for anyone in the tourism industry serious about catering for business partners in the future.

If you think about it, it intuitively makes sense, but don’t take our word for it. 2012 Google research on the travel and tourism industry further accentuates the potential impact of mobile for B2B digital strategy.

A study published by Google in august 2012 show the increased importance of mobile for all business travelers and how mobile is rapidly growing as a medium for sourcing information and sharing it with others. A perfect area to score leads and sales that B2B companies revising their digital strategy cannot afford to ignore. In fact a larger proportion of business travelers use mobile than B2C travelers and more and more of business travelers are shifting their attention exclusively to mobile – the percentage of B2B travelers using mobile devises to find travel information is up from 25% in 2009 to 57% in 2012.

A bad mobile website or platform can be a real killer.

Hard to read webpages, clumsy navigation, or worse, websites that simply do not run at all in a mobile environment can ensure that your search for a tourism trade partner is dead on arrival. Or to be more precise dead before the journey even begin.

Business people take advantage of their time “on the road” to explore interesting business possibilities in destinations, search for potential partners, and look for tourism-related products and services. For anyone serious about finding partners in the tourism industry this is something worth noting. I know this from my own experience and I’m sure you can nod in agreement with at least some of the activities mentioned.

And I can tell you, if you haven’t experienced this already, that when exploring a destination while on the road you have little time or patience for new websites, blogs or platforms, leaving a bad first Impression. If you try to access a site, or worse watch an interesting video on a product or destination, and it is not running smoothly on your brand new tablet or smartphone, you will skip that source of information almost immediately and turn to what was initially your second option. If this happens to be mobile friendly letting you discover their platform and offering at your leisure guess which one will you remember? The answer should be straight forward. For marketers and B2B businesses in the tourism industry the answer should not be ignored.

To put it differently and accentuate the point: the mobile friendly service will earn all the points that the unfriendly ones are losing.

The “mobile factor” can boost or kill the start of a good business relationship with a new tourist industry client or partner. The sooner marketers and companies in the tourism industry realize this and start to leverage the possibilities the greater the possible rewards.

How are your experiences with exploring what destinations have to offer on the road? Let us know in the comments.

Guest post by Angel L. Vidal. Angel has been involved with numerous businesses, government agencies and NGO’s as an entrepreneur and consultant and has invaluable experience from more than twenty years of working within the United Nations system. Did you like this article? Let us know in the comments and be sure to connect with Angel at Twitter or LinkedIn to continue the discussion.

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Angel L. Vidal

I’m Angel L. Vidal, entrepreneur and cultural, internationalization and sustainability advisor at Copenhagen-based communication agency Eye for Image. The ideas I share are based in the experience I gained during my career in the private sector, NGOs and my more than twenty years work in the United Nations system.

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