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‘Exploit technology in tourism’

Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) has urged owners of hospitality establishments to increase their internet and social media presence to boost their international exposure.

This came out at a workshop which was held by the tourism body at the State Library for representatives from all graded hospitality outfits from around the country.

The workshop was intended at informing the proprietors of the graded facilities on how to market themselves via the internet, social media and all the e-marketing related platforms. It also sought to assist the tourism players to break into new international markets thereby increasing bed occupancy and revenue.

The seminar was held in conjunction with this year’s tourism month theme, ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’, which aims at boosting tourism through the use of technology.

LTDC head of strategic marketing, Tebello Thoola, said that the world had become a village through the use of the internet therefore establishments must increase the use of the internet to market their products.

“E-marketing plays a crucial role in exposing your facilities to the rest of the world at cost effective and reliable manner as one can easily weigh the reach through the interaction with customers online,” Mr Thoola said.

“To make your online presence felt, engage competent graphic designers who will make your products trigger interest from whoever may be viewing them. The most important factor of all is to make your campaign sustainable and be able to respond to enquiries timeously.

“I also advise you to be members of the Trip Advisor, which is an international hospitality website that will expose you to the global market. Online presence does not actually require one to have a website, but through social media you can still be able to win a share of the market.”

LTDC information technology administrator, Relebohile ‘Musi, said that a recent survey which they conducted revealed that 29 percent of tourists who visit Lesotho learnt about the attractions through the internet.

He said that establishments need to increase their internet presence which will also provide first-hand information.

“Online presence offers high returns on investment in that you invest little money once in a while but you can use your website or social media accounts for long time at low costs.

“Web development and design are at the heart of successful e-marketing however, ensure that your websites are user friendly and attractive. Optimise your websites so that they can easily pop up when tourists search for Lesotho.

“The Visit Lesotho website is also at your disposal to market your establishments but it is important to furnish us with your hyperlinks so that from the limited information we offer, visitors can be directed to your websites by clicking on those links,” Mr ‘Musi said.

‘Manapo Tsuinyane, the LTDC communications and social media officer, further equipped participants with skills to harness social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which are easy and cheaper to use but can reach huge audiences.

“Social media is the new way of communication as almost everyone now owns a smart phone and people have found social media to be cost effective. I encourage you to open social media pages which will enable you to get a word out quickly and get feedback instantly.

“You easily get to know your market and build relations with them through the two-way communication. Increase your presence by identifying your goals and objectives and ensure that you know how each platform works.

“Create valuable content which is relevant for your business and explore various ways to post it. Engage your followers through quick responses to enquiries. Have online customer care and post content consistently, do not lose momentum,” Ms Tsuinyane said.

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