Holiday packages get a facelift

After looking at the medical industry and their use if social media in my last post I’ve been doing some more digging and am extremely excited about some of the gems I’ve since uncovered.

Your next op could be more fun that expected

Joburg city council has just launched the first ever South African Medical Tourism portal – essentially a platform where tourists (international and local) are able to find appropriate doctors for a wide variety of medical procedures.

medical tourism portal joburg social media social medical tourism

Having a medical procedure or going to hospital in general is pretty somber and not really what one would consider much of a holiday. Not anymore.

The aim of the portal is to expose tourists visiting Joburg for medical reasons to other attractions and encourage them to extend their stay and incorporate a bit of a holiday either before or after their procedure. Talk about looking at the glass as half full.

South Africa has emerged as a medical tourism destination of choice and the medical tourism sector has been identified by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) as a niche market with significant growth potential for the country.   The intention of this portal is to bring about initiatives that advocate and promote Johannesburg’s position as a premier destination of choice for health / wellness and medical care, enabling its members to excel in this regional and globally competitive market, with a clear code of conduct in place.

As a vital travel and medical services hub on the African continent, Johannesburg hosts a large proportion of medical tourists in South Africa.

As the City of Johannesburg’s destination marketing arm as well as the Johannesburg Department of Economic Development, in supporting and amplifying MTASA’s efforts, Joburg Tourism is also unveiling its own medical tourism portal on the JTC website: www.joburgtourism.com to coincide with the official launch of www.medicaltourismassociation.org.za

I think this is a great concept and am excited to see how it will roll out to the other regions. Watch this space.

Holiday planning is more social that ever

Keeping tourism in mind – today the Social Tourism Forum @socialtourism12  is taking place and trending heavily on twitter #socialtoursim

This is another industry I think is about to explode into the online space and definitely one to keep an eye on. About time if you ask me.

When you planning a holiday what’s the first thing you do? Google it. Then you’ll probably chat to family or friends to get their opinion and recommendations and only then are you likely to start looking to book your trip.

Unlike regular ‘purchases’ tourism is very dependent on trust and reputation because if you make the wrong choice, your whole holiday experience will fall flat. Not ideal, especially considering the amount of effort – time and money – that goes into planning a holiday.

From an operator point of view it’s critical to build a strong presence within the social media sphere and monitor conversations happening about your brand. Consumer experiences when shared with others are more powerful than any marketing campaign you can come up with.  So the bottom line is to make sure you customers walk away singing your praise and sharing it in the digital realm.

But we have a website?

A lot of tour operators, hotels, B&B’s – you name it have cottoned onto the fact that most of their business is generated online. So they have got themselves a website. Great! And possibly a blog. Even better!

But they don’t have a social media strategy. Not so good.

Social media is critical to drive messages to your market. If this isn’t in paly then all the content that is created is really not doing you any good as it’s not getting the eye balls you need to grow substantially.

I think this offers a massive opportunity to tourist orientated businesses, especially in Cape Town (being one of the most popular tourist destinations) to get on board and use portals like this to their own and their patients advantage.

Where to from here?

So having a website and or blog but blogging on deaf ears is really not going to help get bums in seats or heads on pillows.

Here are some interesting points to note that came out of today’s forum (via SocialTourism12)

They key is communicate content that is relevant and provides substance for your customers.

“If you are a place that provides hiking / surfing, you should be putting your content online that helps people learn about this @farai

“You need people to talk about you to their networks and friends (nobody wants to hear about you talking about yourself)” @farai

You need to tell stories that people would like to know and you need to help people tell their stories @farai#socialtourism

You need to think about how you can help people make the decision to come to your country / city / hotel etc @farai#socialtourism

If you’re in the tourism (or medical tourism) biz and are looking for a little help in getting started get in touch –  DigitLab is that spoon full of sugar that helps the social-media-medicine go down.

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