A Far North Queensland tourism company is standing strong in the face of adversity utilising technology as a solution to the current economic crisis. The Covid 19 virus and the mixed messages that “Australia was on fire” early in 2020 has made this a challenging year for the Australian Tourism industry.
At the recent Cairns Post Future Tourism event in February 2020 attended by Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Development and Mark Olsen, CEO Tourism Tropical North Queensland, it was clear that the tourism and hospitality sector are facing some dark times without doing something different to retain and grow the tourism market.
A local tourism company in Cairns has just seen one of their strongest December and January months in their online enquiries. This was all due to a clever decision in 2017 to do something different, be innovative and align their customer communications with the changing demands of their online clients.
Passions of Paradise has been utilising the services of a Cairns based technology company Chat2Concierge for the last 3 years. The company offers a unique, innovative, online engagement service 24/7. Through innovation and doing something different, Passions is gaining growth and momentum with its online presence.
Passions engaged the technological service, Chat2Concierge, to attract more online bookings, more leads, more conversions through their website and social media. Chat2Concierge’s highly trained online engagement team of real people respond fast (on average 19 seconds) to Passions online visitors with accurate answers. The team highly supported by some smart artificial intelligence (ai), engage the visitor in the moment they are looking to book. There are also some unique features that track the online visitor to attract them back to the website, without the customer actually being on the Passions website. In December 2019, Passions experienced over 100% growth in online enquiries compared to 2017 and 2018 and even through the dire January 2020, were still recording growth figures of 30% compared to both 2018 and 2019.
During the Cairns Post Future Tourism event there was a strong message to do something different to maintain and grow the tourism industry in Far North Queensland and Chat2Concierge technology is certainly proving to be a great alternative solution for Tourism and Hospitality, not only locally but worldwide.
Karen LLoyd-Collins (Chat2Concierge Chief Operating Officer) was asked how is it Chat2Concierge can make such a difference to a business like Passions who is facing such challenging times within a threatened industry?
“We have been working with Passions for the last three years, so with our service and unique tools, we have been able to grow their online customer base, encourage people to book in the moment and as people spend longer on the website utilising our service, Passions have improved their online presence which has resulted in this significant growth. Online visitors for Passions now know if they reach out to the online service, they are going to get fast, relevant and accurate responses that answer their questions, rather than having to wait on the phone or for an email response. So our team engage them in the moment and more often than not convert them to a booking.”
So why is this channel seeing such growth? Karen advises that, “Online visitors are a little different, they are impatient, can tend to be a little abrupt and want answers NOW. Technology has disrupted the behaviour of our online customer. They are use to getting information fast, so demand from businesses, fast instant and relevant answers. This is a real challenge for modern business, so we are a solution to this growing issue. We are also attracting customers back to our client’s websites through our service.”
So why did Passions consider adopting a unique technological service like Chat2Concierge? Scotty Garden, Passions CEO advised they were looking for a solution to improve their online presence, to gain more bookings and more online conversions. But one of the biggest benefits of the service stated Scotty, is that it has saved their own staff so much time on the phones and on emails. The service answers the constant repetitive questions that use to take up alot of time on the phones and responding to emails, questions like “what do I bring for the trip?” or “Where do I check in?”. Chat2 has alleviated alot of this pressure on our own team, as we work closely with the Chat2 team to ensure the online responses are always up to date and accurate. We have found if the questions are answered online, in the moment people are looking, then it is so much easier to get the booking, in that moment. Chat2 is converting over 90% of our online conversations so we are seeing that growth in our online activity. This service is also reaching more of our international clientele, which is attracting more online bookings internationally.
In these times of crisis, this unique local service to Cairns, has been assisting tourism businesses worldwide, particularly in the face of the Covid 19 virus. Karen advised “In the early days of the Convid 19 virus, we started to get questions like “What is your hotel doing to protect guests?”. It quickly became apparent that there was a potential threat of panic which could lead to people cancelling bookings and trips worldwide. We instantly prepared responses that we shared with our clients for approval and uploaded them into our software to be ready to manage this threat. We are well prepared to assist our clients to save future bookings if this threat evolves.”
Though according to Karen, these situations arise frequently for their local clients, for example whenever there is an impending cyclone, it is easy to reassure online guests how the region is affected and what trips have been cancelled or not cancelled, many times saving loads of bookings. Karen states that “With our knowledge base and decentralised customer service, we are able to ensure the right and consistent message gets out quickly to customers when faced with unstable situations.”
In this dire dynamic economic environment facing the hospitality and tourism industry, there was a clear message from the Cairns Post Future Tourism event, that tourism businesses need to be doing something different for tourism in the Far North to survive and to grow. Technology should be considered as an alternative solution to the current challenge facing this industry. Passions has experienced this first hand, seeing incredible online growth while being faced with adversity.
If you are interested in a trial or free consultation – just go to www.chat2concierge.com – chat with the team and request a consult with Karen. If you mention this article, you will be eligible for a one month free trial of our 24/7 service so you can see the results first hand.
Clipping published by News Corp in the Cairns Post 29th February 2020 pg 32/33