It goes back to our early days when we gathered in groups to protect ourselves from wild animals. We trusted others in the group to keep watch while we slept.
Trust is now the most dominant commodity in tourism. Travellers trust the opinions of fellow travellers who they have not met and people even allow strangers to sleep in their homes.
The basis of this new domination of trust is being able to read independent ratings of those using the service. This is linked to a loss of trust in politicians, large businesses and tourism websites that use a one-way style of promoting.
The latest stats show that less than 19% of tourists go on to destination websites when researching and booking their trips. Social media shares, ratings on the TripAdvisor’s of this world are trusted way more and these drown out our product and destination websites. Collaborative platforms such as Airbnb and Uber have taken advantage of being able to show potential customers the independent ratings and comments from previous users of the service. New platforms such as Trivago also build guest ratings into their searches.
Believe me, these trends and the disruptions will accelerate relentlessly.
So we have two choices in this matter. We can either passively complain about these new competitors, or we can embrace this new dominant trend of user-generated trust. We need to brainstorm how we can innovate our approach to get competitive advantage over these platforms and recapture a higher level of trust from our customers.
There are a few non-negotiables that will decide on the success of our efforts:
- No more lone rangers. B&B’s for example, need to work together on a common platform as the disruptors do,
- We need to embrace complementary platforms, such as TripAdvisor, as a partner platform to leverage in our efforts,
- We need to be a true proactive partner with our destination products in creating the best customer experience throughout the customer journey, and
- We need to upgrade the way we present our products and services to deliver contemporary visitor experiences that users will rate and share with positive emotion.
This means excluding weak players from our brand and collaborating with the belief that the rising tide lifts all of the ships.
So, are you up for it? Will you join the brave collective who will embrace and innovate the new normal in tourism. Lets gather around the camp fire and look after each other again.