“The Goal in the Current Tourism Industry is To Create A New Value through Innovative Ideas ” – Ken Worker (Part II)
In the first half of the panel, “Blog Worker” Ken Worker shared the development of Taiwan’s Tourism websites and the strategy of “Project for Bloggers”. Ken Worker further shared the successful tips on this strategy in the second half of the panel.
Why Is “Project for Bloggers” Successful?
Since there are many blogs introducing details of the travel information, people might doubt the needs of tour guides in current tourism industry. “It is true that some places are so popular and well known that people are able to explore by themselves. However, some locations are still under development, or are not yet attractive to most people. And it is time to let those tour guides give you a lead on those places,” Ken Worker said. “For example, Angkor Wat owns one of world’s cultural heritage and the special Indian religion culture that are hard to express the real value by blogging. We need someone to tell the story, and this certainly cannot be gained by backpacking or by reading the blog.” His principle as a tour guide is to make sure that everyone in the group is enjoying the journey in a “right atmosphere” that includes what he told to the group during the trip, which is the value that group’s member can gain from the tour guide.
Ken Worker joined LionTravel in 2009, and established “Travel Agent Center” hoping to play a role to connect the traditional tourism business and modern social media together. The platform provides senior tour guides, popular travel bloggers, and the local guides, which allows people to combine any of those option as their travel package. Customers are here to get “experiences”. The platform also encourages the customers to share their travel experiences that provides more information to the public.
The blogger became Ken Worker’s travel diary exchanged with travelers. The relationship between the tour guide and the travelers does not end after the trip ended. People would comment on the blog, share pictures of the trip, and gave feedback of the trip, all of which became the best marketing because people are able to check on the evaluation of the tour guides based on customers’ interaction with the tour guide. “And because I will post all of the comments, pictures, and feedbacks customers provides, please give me some appropriate pictures. I have one customers asked me to take down the photos I shared on the blog – because the woman standing next to him is not his wife!” he amused.
Ken Worker also mentioned that he realized that blogs that introduce Kinmen are not popular in Google search engine. Most blog are related to B&B in Kinmen rather than the trip introduction in Kinmen, which means that B&B’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is well developed, but it also shows that those official websites are more difficult to attract people’s attention to take a look in their websites.
Accept New Ideas – To Create Your Own Track by Using Different Internet Tools
“I was trained traditionally in the tourism industry, but I am very willing to accept new ideas and concepts.”
Shi-Bi Lin, the owner of JapanTravel, is a travel blogger that Ken Worker appreciated the most. This blogger creates a Facebook group and used a very “unique and innovative” strategy managing the travel information. “Lin often visits Tokyo for business trips, and he would pick different hotels every time he visits there. He takes photos of the hotel and write a blog to introduce the hotel. His article became so popular that the blog even attach the hotel’s website for booking service, which not only provides a source to the readers, but also benefits him from the website Agoda, Booking, and Hotel.com are all examples of travel innovations, which allows people to find and book hotels that meets their requirements by inserting budgets, number of peoples and specific requirements. In addition, those booking websites provides rating and comments for customer’s reference.”
“Sometimes we are limited by traditional concept in the tourism industry, but we can install more value in this industry if we are willing to learn new Internet tools and marketing strategy.”
Are You Ready for Travelers from Mainland China?
Because of the policy and current position, we are opened to accept more travelers from Mainland China. Are you scared or excited to embrace their visits? If those travelers from China are the main customers in the tourism industry, how can we provide a better service and experience for them? “I would like to introduce MyTaiwanTour, a team composed of members from different countries. MyTaiwanTour accepts visits specifically from English-speaking countries. You have options to narrow your target on customers. You do not have to do business from people from any countries.”
“Once you have decided to do business in the tourism industry, there are different ways to conduct your ideas. For example, WalkingTour provides a walking tour that “walk” you the through whole Taipei City in one afternoon. Moreover, 甲仙 designed a 3-days trip that offers you an in-depth local cultural experience,” he said. “You have to increase the value of your business so that customers are willing to spend money on your ideas”
Ken Worker also shares different travel websites that provide different business models:
It is a backpacker service platform that not only shares travel information but also provides a platform to look for travel company. The websites received RMB $2.5 thousand from Series-A funding in 2013, and again received Series-B funding in 2015.
Tuniu Travel Website
This website includes different kinds of travel services, including backpacking, trip planning abroad or in China. Tuniu was established in 2006 and started to promote its travel packages. Tuniu earned USD $100 million in 2014 and held its initial public offering in the same year.
Mafenwo (Ant-Bee) Website
The website creates a game that allows people to obtain “Honey” (money value in the game) if answering travelling question asked by other people. This also creates an interaction between customers.
“Demassification Might Be a Way to Face the Transition of the Industry”
At the end of the panel, the audience from the panel raised a question – how do we face the change of the environment of the tourism industry and the transition of the industry? “’Demassification’ might be the answer for this question,” Worker said. “for example, the stype of B&B in Kinmen are all much alike, and it is time to develop a different B&B style.”
“Before developing the website, you have to do homework, understand your targeting group of customers. The traditional Tourism business will not disappear. I believe they will stay in the market for at least 20 years. But now is a good moment for you to explore the opportunity if you are interested in developing an innovative tourism business.” Ken Worker left LionTravel in 2015 and funded PanTravel, a travel media, which he wishes to create his another “journey” by offering more travel information.