Digital marketing on the Internet is the way to go but many Thai businesspeople are not up to speed with this new technology, said speakers at the “2012 Vision for Tourism Industry Technology” seminar held at the Novotel Patong Hotel on February 9.
Chairing the conference, the President of the Tourism Technology Association (TTA) Apichai Sakulsuriyadech said most Thai travellers were getting information from the Internet before taking their trips, but tourism operators still know very little about online marketing. The seminar, he said, would help them learn how to apply this technology to their businesses.
“An average national growth each year of the number of operators using internet technology is only 20-25%, so there is room for development to meet market demand,” he said.
“This can reduce the cost of hiring foreigners to apply the technology for them – [at a national cost of] more than B10 billion a year. If we can develop our own staff and manage it by ourselves, it will reduce this cost a lot.”
In his talk on digital marketing today, Dr Ian Fenwick, adviser at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Admin-istration and founding partner of digiAindra, a digital marketing company, quoted William Gibson’s view that “the future is already here.” But, he added, “It’s just not very evenly distributed.”
He said people’s behaviour had changed rapidly because of access to new technology. The year 2010 saw a 29% increase in internet users worldwide, or 1.97 billion people, from the previous year. Usage of the web will soon be even higher in Asia than anywhere else. There are already some 825 million users in the region, 420 million of those in China alone.
Online social network is also becoming very popular with 48% of users being on Facebook or Twitter. They check such sites during the night or as soon as they wake up, bringing on a behavioural and lifestyle change.
Dr Fenwick said digital marketing, or digi-marketing, has changed the “4Ps of marketing strategy” from the traditional “products, price, place and promotion” to “permission, participation, profile and personalise.”
“Today’s consumers aren’t leaned-back couch potatoes and passive targets. They are leaned-forward and involved participants,” he said. Dr Fenwick’s slide presentation can be seen at slideshare.net/ina.fenwick.
The conference was attended by some 200 staff from hotels, hospitals and tourism operators from Phuket and nearby provinces. It was organised by the TTA and the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD) with the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Software Park Thailand, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Kasikorn Bank and Chaiyo Hosting.
– Janyaporn Jornjarun