Ecommerce 101 for the Tourism Industry


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Early in 2012, Dan our managing Director gave a presentation at the South Australian Tourism Industry Council's E-Tourism Convention.

Dan's presentation was on what customers look for, the subtle secrets for success, potential pitfalls, security issues and measuring visitor behaviour.

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Ecommerce 101 for the Tourism Industry

  1. 1. Every day, more and more people are going online to research and book their holiday orexperience. As such it is important to ensure that your website can be easily found and that youcapture those potential customers, converting them into bookings.During this session we will discuss the various E-Commerce options you have available fortaking bookings online including what your customers look for, the subtle secrets for success,potential pitfalls and the security issues that you need to be aware of.We will discuss how to manage your own ecommerce booking through your website rather thanthrough a booking agent and how this can integrate.You will also learn how to convert website visitors into sales and how user behaviour ischanging to be more mobile, what mobile E-commerce is and what strategies you need to putin place to capture online bookings from mobile devices. 1
  2. 2. What happens on the internet in 60 seconds (Infographic:• 600 NEW YouTube videos• 13,000 iPhone applications are downloaded• 98,000 Tweets & 695,000 Facebook Status Updates• 168 million emails• Almost 700,000 Google searches performedE-commerce• 78% of Australians making an online purchase at least once per month.• 25% of Australians make an online purchase once a week compared to 17% of Americans.• What are they buying? – apparel, books/music/videos, electronics, events/movie tickets, furniture, holidays, health & beauty, gifts.Findings from the 2011 World Internet Project (Source: Consumer behaviour, CQUniversityAustralia)What does this mean?• Consumers demand electronic information. We are electronically connected/networked. It’s fast paced. Viral sharing is common (viral in this form means fast spreading).• It is expected that your business has a web presence• Web tools can be very effective• Getting ‘on’ the web can be free through use of social media mediums!• It’s not just for the ‘big guys’• Do your research and make a plan 2
  3. 3. Build it right, connect with your customer, reap the rewardsBefore you consider adding ecommerce you should be confident you have a good website • Professional and credible • Attracts visitors, not bouncers • Converts visitors to sales • Has multiple payment options • Has a simple payment process • Is secure • You must have your business policies in place: Terms and Conditions, Privacy, Security, Delivery Policies etcKnowing the customer.• There are lots of tools available to help you analyse how customers interact with your online business• Most customers are searching for information about travel destinations and tourism experiences online• In an electronic world - if your business doesn’t have a website it doesn’t exist 3
  4. 4. • Start with a good website• Let your customers guide you• Keep it simple and up-to-date• Always consider the user experience• Include the finishing touches, like testimonials• Be an informed consumer• Take care setting up your online business• Allow multiple payment options, through a payment gateway• Get a merchant account• How to get the best deal from your bank• If you don’t have the skills or time, get someone to do if for you 4
  5. 5. E-Commerce gateways and what you need to knowA payment gateway collects the credit card info and sales info (price, customer info, etc.) anddoes a basic fraud check, to make sure the credit card isnt stolen. It charges the customerscredit card and deposits the money into your bank account.Popular gateways include: Paypal, Eway and Securepay.• Why is it important to offer payment facilities on your website?• Multiple payment options and why they work• International payment options and working with tools such as Google Translate.For most payment gateways you need to have a merchant account with your bank. A merchantaccount allows your business to charge sales to credit cards.• Get a merchant account and separate business bank account• Get your bank to provide you with the best optionsIs it working?• Conversion tracking and the importance of testing and measuringGive the power back to your business and stop paying large commissions to booking agents bylearning how to manage your own ecommerce booking through your website. 5
  6. 6. Security Options• Security and why you and your customer need to be protected• What are the different security options? 2048 bit encryption, VeriSign.• SSL certificates and the main difference between the types• PCI-CSS certified – what does this mean• Why not to take unsecure Credit Cards via email or unsecured means – NEVER DO THIS!• Open yourself up to be sued or finedA SSL Certificate is important, to protect both you and your customer.Never ever enter in your credit card details if the website isn’t on an SSL Certificate and itdoesn’t look trustworthy. 6
  7. 7. There are a number of different booking systems, distributors and merchants, as you can see bythe logo’s above, that can help you and even take payments on your behalf.Advantages• Encourage and simplify online transactions• Increase the rate of conversions• You can see what’s available instantly• Reservations / bookings made and updated (inventory updated)• Make payments• Reduces manual processes, like data entry and human errors• Real-time online bookings and secure payment 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.• Automatic confirmation of bookings by email or SMS• Reservations easily tracked and reportedUse TXA to distribute your product through 3rd party booking systems:• 3rd party will most likely have a bigger online presence and therefore a higher Google ranking• Use the distributor that is right for your marketUse channel managers to get listed on multiple sites. 7
  8. 8. Bringing visitors to your site and converting those visits to sales/bookingsThe checkout / booking / E-commerce process is generally the number 1 reason why a saledoesn’t go through.The best way to ensure more conversions and bookings are as follows:- Ensuring your booking process is easy to use- Offering multiple payment options as discussed earlier- Quick access to terms & conditions, privacy policies, security policies- Is the payment secure?- Do I trust this company with my credit card details- Evidence of a physical address with a phone number they can call – this is a legal requirement in Australia- Offer a Guarantee on your booking- Show testimonials and happy guest feedback and ratings 8
  9. 9. • Visitors will bounce from a bad site particularly if the booking process is convoluted and requires too many steps.• Security options – ensure your website is secure with the padlock. Check it in all browsers• Avoid disputes by providing clear descriptions on what exactly the customer gets, have fair and simple policies, state all charges clearly, under promise and over deliver and act quickly on any issues that arise.• Having up to date Terms & Conditions, Privacy & Security Policies is a mustWebsites can be very impersonal so the more you can demonstrate that there is a real businesswith real people behind the website the better. Use photos of your business and staff. Yourvisitor will feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that your business doesn’t have thepotential to just vanish into cyberspace.The ‘all round professionalism’ of your website will have a huge impact on the degree ofcomfort that your online visitor feels when dealing with you online.4 common stumbling blocks in ecommerce transactions include:• a cumbersome checkout or purchase process• overwhelming amount of info• unexpected steps in checkout• Lack of clarity (i.e. with inclusions or delivery costs)If you don’t have the skills or time get someone to do if for you 9
  10. 10. User behaviour is becoming more mobileSoon mobile internet use will surpass the traditional desktop internet useMobile includes smart phones, tablets, laptops, ebook readers, however phones and tablets arethe main focus area.What is mobile E-commerce?A website that can be accessed through any browser on any mobile device. Dynamic layouttechniques mean that a site responsively adapts to fit the screen that it is being viewed on –whether a small phone, or a larger tablet device. They are easier to navigate and quicker toload. They require no download or cost by the user, and can be found through many means.Benefits for clients• Share, through social media, email, SMS,• Review and compare options• Look for local attractions and services• Customer provides updates, reviews, tweets instantly, leave comments on Facebook, read TripAdvisor and post a review• GPS function, to find your business• Apps, eg, Skype, book airline tickets, book servicesBenefits for tourism operator• Monitor your business, check and respond to emails, check bookings• Take and post photos to Facebook, Flickr etc• Take and post videos to YouTube, Facebook etc• Tweet, post, blog• Online banking 10
  11. 11. Graphic source: made by CultureLabel.comtext source: 2011 mobile statistics (USA based), Microsoft Tag (graphics)Mobile phones are of high importance, Lots of people have one – or more!Mobiles are used in new ways• 1 in 7 searches are made via a mobile Microsoft tag say 1 in 7 searches made online was done via mobile, however Google recently mentioned it’s more like 1 on 5 when it relates to travel search• 9 in 10 mobile searchers result in action• Over half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices• 95% are looking for local information• 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour.• 86% of mobile internet users are using devices while watching TVNote how high the at home usage is – this is when you would expect someone to be using theirdesk computer, so even when a computer is accessible people still favour their mobile phones.The same applies for ‘at work’. You may have a desk computer, but you can book an event ticketwhile riding in the lift.It is anticipated that there will be a rise in the use of mobile devices whilst on public transport.Mobile marketing & QR codesUse your analytics to see how people are accessing your site. 11
  12. 12. M-Commerce is here to stay, and your customers are using it every day.How can I tell if my clients are using mobile phones to look for me? Google GOMO 2012• Your desktop site analytics can tell you a lot about how people are accessing your site.• Look for searches coming from mobile operating systems and determine what percentage of your total traffic this is.• Also note what these users are looking for – this will help you prioritise the right information and features when you build your mobile-friendly site.Not all websites or booking sites will be suitable for use on a smart phone! 12
  13. 13. The important things to take away from today are as follows:- Start with a good website- People are searching, sharing and buying online.- Mobile internet devices will overtake desktop internet soon.- 1 in 7 searches are done via a mobile phone (1 in 5 for travel related searches) with 9 out of 10 resulting in an action. This is a great stat and show’s the importance of ensuring your are ready to take payments online through a mobile website- Ensure you Booking / E-commerce facility is easy to use, has multiple payment options, is secure and has all the necessary information to ensure a successful transaction. Getting this area right will result in more conversions.- Get the best deal from your banks and consider gateway options such as eWay- Ensure you have a Secure Certificate on your site when accepting credit cards and never store the information yourself- The use of external booking systems are great, however you need to weigh up the costs to determine if it is right for you- Avoid the common pitfalls and ask yourself would you enter your credit card into your website if you didn’t know you?There are also some great tools provided by Tourism Australia through the Australian TourismData Warehouse which you can view at the website shown.It is definitely worth a read through as it covers all areas of the various areas including websitedevelopment, online marketing, booking systems and social media. 13