Lessons from #eTAS14. Hire a teenager & talk to your granny.

7th e Tourism Africa Summit.


This summit was a collision of new meets old.

We were told to RETHINK TRAVEL, and I did.

There were three recurring points that shouted at me once I filtered out the buzzwords, technical jargon, slick presentations and statistics.

  • Tourism is about people
  • If you care, customers will share
  • Technology and social media are powerful tools


We were told that customer expectations are at an all-time low. This presents a huge opportunity that can be embraced with a simple mind shift.

Understand that your brand is not about you, it is about what your customer thinks about you, so focus more on your customer and less on your brand.

Go back to the ethics of forty years ago where the customer was king, and great or at least good service was expected and delivered.

In those days your actions created your brand reputation, not clever words and contrived marketing campaigns. A genuine desire for satisfied customers dictated people being seen as individuals. This attitude guaranteed good service, which led to brand loyalty. This is how good relationships are built.

Make your business all about your customer. Be friendly, be human and go the extra mile.

These were the default settings of successful businesses back in the day.

Kindness, humanity and a good work ethic will never go out of fashion. Be generous to your customers. People want to at least feel that they received the service that they paid for, and your aim should be to make them feel that they received more than they had expected.

Do this and they will remember you, recommend you and if you allow them, they will tell the world how wonderful you are.


Social media is nothing more than modern day word of mouth on steroids.

Technology allows us to amplify our customer’s voices and reach the whole world.

You need to create a presence on social media, allow people to know and understand you. Be human, be real and engage with them.


If you are in the tourism industry FREE Wi-Fi is a must.


Make it easy to for clients to share information about who you are, where you are and how great you are via pictures, videos and stories.

Ask for, support and encourage sharing. Engage with your customers when they do share.

You don’t have to tell the world how great you are.

Be great and your customers will tell the world for you.

Customer generated content is authentic and free.

Curated by you for marketing, it is priceless.


On a lighter note, the way I see it is to succeed in the tourism industry in 2014 and beyond you need to do 3 things.

  • Talk to your granny, and learn about old school customer service.
  • Hire a teenager, to create and manage your social media platforms.
  • Focus on your clients, serve them, listen to them, and delight them.