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19 May 2020 | Posted by Innova Institute

Key hard skills of tourism professionals for PostCOVID-19

The Innova Institute of La Salle-URL discusses eleven skills that will help workers in the tourism industry in the post-pandemic era

Tourism is the economic engine and one of the main tools for socioeconomic development in some regions and countries of the world. The ability of tourism to impact across all sectors of an economy, as well as the opportunities it generates to locate population in places that have traditionally been depopulated, makes it essential for PostCOVID-19 economic recovery.

Now more than ever, companies in the tourism sector must have a presence on the internet. Due to confinement, people consume bits and bits of data of all kinds, and people who previously had not carried out any online transactions are now making virtual visits and shopping on the net. Generating interest and trust so that someone wants to visit a site, or frequent it again, can and should be an action to consider both now and during PostCOVID-19.

The Innova Institute of La Salle-URL, in its purpose of reflecting on the effects of the pandemic in society and in the PostCOVID-19 era, has analyzed what are the skills that tourism professionals must master to get out of the situation of crisis we are in. The study has focused on so-called hard skills, which are skills related to knowledge and abilities, which are generally easy to measure and can be accredited with certifications, studies, or courses. On the other hand, soft skills seem equally necessary, since they are related to the behaviors or behaviors required for optimal job performance, and will deserve a separate analysis.


Marketing Hard skills.

1. SEO: 

SEO (by Search Engine Optimization) is the technique by which a search appears in the top positions of Google without having to pay. Having the knowledge that ensures that content uploaded to a page or blog appears well positioned in search engines is essential for the survival of the tourism business. A company that fails to appear on the first page of Google results is almost doomed to failure.


2. Advertising: 

Having the ability to create an Adwords campaign in Google, or a campaign on Facebook Ads is a clear necessity for tourism companies since you cannot entirely depend on SEO in Google or presence in marketplaces. Being able to interpret data and calculate ROI (Return on Investment) in a campaign is also a skill that can help increase the return on marketing investments.


3. Social Networks:

Social networks have gone from being a social space for entertainment to becoming a powerful tool for communication and interaction with the client and with market players. It is necessary to develop the ability to track comments on networks and respond in real-time, receiving praise as reinforcement and criticism as an element to improve. The strength that informal communication in networks can have for the business and the projection of an image of transparency and service can lead to greater trust on the part of customers. Similarly, social networks are a powerful source of information for adapting and improving the proposal. Professionals in the sector must understand the operation of B2C processes through networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in active listening exercises, and B2B processes through Linkedin.


4. Direct Marketing (via email or WhatsApp): 

It is the ability to target clients or potential clients through personal messages. To do this, you must have a list of contacts to contact and the ability to know how to personalize and adapt messages according to different customer profiles. Direct marketing has the advantage that allows you to section part of the content with a specific focus for each specific recipient. In this sense, for example, personalization can be based on the previous tourist experiences of other users and relate the new experience with those good memories.


5. Use of a content manager:

Basic knowledge about the operation of a content manager, a CMS (Content Management System) such as Wordpress, Joomla, or Drupal is necessary. Having the possibility to create offers, update content, and analyze the reaction to new products or services is a skill that must be part of the baggage of a professional in the tourism sector. The content manager's objective is, essentially, to ensure that the image of an internet business is what is desired. Thus, it cannot be forgotten that the website of a business is the screen and the facade of this towards the world.


Hard skills for decision-making on business

All companies need to reinvent themselves to survive in the current context. Therefore, it is important to make fast and accurate decisions constantly. These ones may generate better results if they are made up of clear and precise information or some type of forecast that allows them to enlighten future events. For instance, hotel managers want to know what percentage of occupancy their accommodation will have this year, or how to classify customers to send them ads that increase such initial forecasts. Consequently, it is essential that professionals in the sector use tools and take advantage of the powerful information that this offers.


6. Data analysis: minimal knowledge of data interpretation:

Knowing and managing options such as Google Analytics, web scrapping, requests to APIs, forms from the establishment's own website, and the data recorded on social networks are good starting points in a context of smaller scale, to provide the inputs that guarantee sound decisions. For larger organizations that bring together several establishments, such as the city council or a tourism agency, a larger and more personalized analysis can be used, where they generate the logics that will allow them to obtain information from the network useful at a macro level, either through Data Science, Data Mining, Machine Learning, and Big Data, which allow obtaining the necessary information according to the particular characteristics of each destination and the customer segment that best represents it.


7. Business models: how to adapt different components of the business model when the market changes:

The tourism professional must understand the adjustments of their model regarding changes in digitization and new customer expectations. This is the case of needs such as, security and health conditions, and greater agility in its marketing channels with possible virtual visits and interaction tools that provide a clear service offer, focused on experience and discovery, from the first moment of contact. of new scenarios. Similarly, new challenges require local integration to improve supply; By combining actions with other proposals in the region, resources are better used and better results are achieved, integrating actions in the value chain, such as food routes, exploration, transportation, among others. It is also important to know in which online markets the products or their services can be offered.


Using hard skills to be more efficient.

In addition to reaching users via digital marketing, tourism professionals should be more productive, that is, using the resources efficiently. In this sense, technology, through different applications, tools, or programs, helps to optimize resources, get to know the customer better, and to work more efficiently on teams. We highlight: 


8. Collaborative tools

The tools that offer the possibility of working from different places and simultaneously on the same document, through collaborative tools, is one of the great benefits that technology has provided in recent years. There is a wide range of possibilities, between Word, Excel, or PPT type documents. On the other hand, solutions like MindMeister allow collaboratively making mental schemes, or like ExCalibraDraw to create digital whiteboards. It also allows you to save and share a large number of files in the cloud, without the need to store content on computers, thanks to applications such as Dropbox.


9. Using tools for virtual meetings: webinars

Webinars greatly help coordination skills within the company, maintain continuous interaction with customers, and generate networking among attendees. The great advantage of this global tool is that it is handled in real-time, with a specific date and time, and can be connected from any device. Some free tools that can be used are Adobe Connect, ClickMeeting, Webex Meet, GoToWebinar, and Zoom, among others.


10. Use of customer management programs (CRM)

Improving customer satisfaction and increasing the profitability of operations by adapting the service to their preferences are the main objectives of CRM (Customer Relationship Management / Customer Relationship Management) systems. These systems put the organization at the heart of the strategy, personalizing the services, and generating long-term relationships. This results in a higher loyalty rate, less dependence on intermediary tourism agencies, the opening of new business opportunities, and higher company valuation.


11. Use of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) / PMS (Property Management system)

Having a resource management system (ERP / PMS) is a key success factor for most of the companies in the tourism sector. These systems allow you to integrate the databases of the entire company, automate processes, and manage internal and external resources, getting better results regarding time and cost. Currently, complementary BI (Business Intelligence) or CRM systems can be integrated into ERP / PMS systems, gathering all the information in a single system. On the other hand, these systems require high investments and a long learning curve. 

To take advantage of these tools, you do not need to be an expert on technology. Elementary knowledge on managing digital tools and the internet is enough for each one of us in order to take advantage of collaborative tools, webinars, or systems such as CRM or ERP / PMS. What is necessary is that companies acquire digital transformation as an organizational mindset and apply these concepts into all the internal processes. In spite of these tools are not complex, to be able to perceive the benefits of them in the medium-term it is necessary as an economic investment and an implementation plan that includes training for all employees.


Hard skills are focussed on technical skills or knowledge that professionals carry on to perform effectively their tasks. After the analysis of digital marketing, business, and productivity skills, the Innova Institute from La Salle-URL detects that professionals in tourism sectors need to acquire and develop them in order to perform their activities more efficiently that allow companies to survive and grow in turbulent environments.



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