The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts 9 million tourists would have visited Portugal by the end of 2015, and that number will increase to 11.6 million by 2025. 68.2% of income generated by the tourism industry comes from foreign visitors while 31.8% is generated by domestic travellers. Leisure and business travel spending are expected to grow in the coming years too, with a growth rate of just over 2% each year, reaching €25.8 billion by 2025.
Globally, the World Travel Trends Report 2013/2014 highlights a rise in young people, aged 15 to 29 years old, travelling and an increase in low-cost accommodation. Furthermore, there is a growing emphasis on digital and online marketing within the tourism industry as more and more destinations aim to attract growing markets like China, Japan and Russia.
In response to these forecasts, Turismo de Portugal has released a 10 point National Strategic Plan. They have also released a full report detailing the actionable items for each point which you will be able to read here.
The report outlined various target markets they wish to attract, including countries like America, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Russia. With the introduction of low-cost flights into Portugal, they intend to grow the number of visitors from other European countries like the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Czech Republic and Hungary too.
In an interview with the Financial Times, João Cotrim Figueiredo, president of Turismo de Portugal, highlighted how the team relied greatly on online analytics and social media to communicate to international markets. The team tries to manage what people experience online, from their initial search for travel inspiration to the decision making process when - tourists finally decide to visit Portugal next summer.
They also encourage visitors to share their vacation experience on social media, beginning with leaving a post on their Facebook page that has more than 1 million Facebook likes.
“Great. But how does all this affect my company?” I hear you wondering.
Well, as obvious as this might be, expect an influx of visitors from these target markets, especially non-European visitors. Be prepared for the cultural and language differences. You could start training staff to speak in basic Chinese, Russian or Japanese; or look for guides who can speak these languages. You could also create separate pages on your website with different languages to appeal to your international guests.
Secondly, generate good content. Throughout this blog, we regularly write about the importance of creating quality content. Why? Because we understand that the internet is the number one source of information for people looking to travel. The more information you can provide customers about the destination, the tour and your company, the better. Read about 10 reasons why you should start a blog here.
But before hunting down content generators like travel bloggers and travel magazines to write about your fantastic tours and activities, consider your brand. What makes your tours and activities so much better than the guy two doors away? How do you intend to communicate this to your customers? I’m afraid “the best tours in Portugal” isn’t going to cut it this time. According to this research paper, you need to figure out what makes your tours special and communicate this consistently across all communication channels. A great way of starting this is to make sure that all your logos and slogans appear on all your content, and that they are standardised.
Finally, live up to the promises you’ve made. If you promise a fantastic pub crawl, deliver a fantastic pub crawl. Nothing is worse than looking forward to a great experience and receiving only a fraction of what was promised. Furthermore, there’s always the risk of someone going online and sharing their negative reviews with potential customers. In a report released by the European Commission in 2013, 56% of people made travel-related decisions based on recommendations from friends and family, whilst 46% of people made similar decisions based on various websites such as TripAdvisor.
Portugal is expected to grow tremendously in the next decade. Start building the right foundations for your company to get a slice of that €25.8 billion by 2025.
Which creative strategies do you use to brand your tours and activities?