For hotel and tourism businesses, the 2012 Olympics represent a great sales opportunity. Visitors from all over the world will need places to stay, and things to do when they’re not busy at the sporting events.
In last place…
However, with 87% of hospitality businesses saying they have not taken any steps to prepare their business, and a further 63% claiming they do not intend to take any steps nearer the time, are we really ready for the onslaught? Why are businesses not seizing this opportunity to maximise their slice of the action? Why sit back and wait to see what happens, when this could be the opportunity of a lifetime?
As Visit London’s chief executive, Sally Chatterjee, says: “London is the world’s most visited destination by foreign travellers, and one of the most accessible cities in the world.”
It’s estimated that 350,000 foreign visitors will come to London each day during 2012, with around 5.5 million “day visitors” in total between the end of July and mid-August.
If these predicted visitor numbers prove to be accurate, then the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector is woefully unprepared for the influx of foreign tourists who will arrive this year.
Emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil have been identified as key targets, and have therefore been the focus of the international Olympic marketing campaign.
On your marks, get set…
Many overseas visitors will be taking a long break to come to the games, and are likely to take time out to escape the crowds of the capital and see other parts of Britain; so regional attractions and accommodation will also get a look-in besides the capital’s usual must-see attractions.
Whether the aim of your website is to increase visitor footfall to an attraction, ensure a hotel is fully booked, give international customers important information, or simply to welcome them and tell them a bit about your organisation, it’s important to be realistic about how good a job your existing website can currently perform.
Are you making it easy for international customers to communicate with you? If not this is something that’s worth exploring before they end up in someone else’s hotel or venue spending their hard-earned cash.
On the Starting Blocks
Many companies are put off the thought of expanding their website due to cost, but localising a website doesn’t have to be a long, expensive or painful undertaking to achieve results. Sure you can overhaul the entire site, but plenty of companies have seen a massive increase in international enquiries just from having a multilingual homepage and contact form.
Everyone searches in their mother tongue, and once they’ve found a website of interest, visitors stay there twice as long if they can read information in their own language. We’ve all found ourselves on a foreign website by accident and gone elsewhere pretty sharpish! That’s what international internet users do when they come to your site, if none of the content has been localised to encourage them to browse and read more. Visitors are also 4 times more likely to complete a transaction (buying, booking, or completing an enquiry form) from a website in their language. Give them extra peace of mind by offering translated information, and you’ll win their trust, and ultimately their custom.
Over the finish line
Whatever efforts you make to engage an international audience, it will help increase your bottom line. As long as you’re making some effort to relate to them and make their customer journey as easy as possible your efforts will be noted and subsequently rewarded. At a time when the economy is still struggling and there’s the opportunity of additional business from new channels, we are at a loss as to why more companies are not jumping at the chance of reaching new markets.
As the Roman philosopher Seneca said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
It’s got to be worth investing in opening your business up to new customers – done right it will pay for itself several times over, so when looking at ROI it’s a bit of a no-brainer…We urge businesses in the hospitality industry to get kitted up and ready to forge ahead – now’s the time to leave the competition on the starting line as you roar over the finish.
Web Translations is launching its ‘Olympic Gold’ package specially designed for leisure, tourism and hospitality industries next month. Will you be joining the race?
For further information please email us sales[at]web-translations[dot]co[dot}uk or call +44 (0) 113 8150460.
23 April 2012 18:35