“We can now get at least 50% of all the content we typically require via the [TIH] platform. It’s like a shared drive for the industry."
If there were any lingering doubts about the necessity of digital transformation for business survival, COVID-19 showed otherwise. Knowing how to leverage technology has become critical for tourism businesses to manage the current pandemic and chart their
path to recovery in the long run.
With consumers hardly travelling and business networking kept to a minimum (mostly virtual), it is essential for businesses to maintain their international presence and build demand for when global travel
resumes. This means being able to continually engage their business partners and customers, deepen manpower capabilities and strengthen their business foundations.
Smart digital transformation strategies can help with that, but this does
not necessarily have to involve heavy investments in complex technologies like machine learning, cloud computing or virtual reality. To start, travel businesses can tap on readily available industry tools such as the Singapore Tourism Board's Tourism Information and Services Hub (TIH) to ramp up their digital savviness.
So how does TIH help?
1. Enrich your marketing with free-to-download quality content
With its wide selection of high-quality Singapore images such as the above, the TIH platform can be a useful marketing tool for travel companies.
In its essence, TIH is a digital resource platform with myriad tourism-related content and software services available for free to registered users.
To get started, businesses can leverage the platform’s wide selection of over 12,000 free quality
images in their marketing efforts, like full-service destination management company (DMC) Tour East, which has been a TIH user even prior to the onset of COVID-19.
According to Managing Director and General Manager – Dominic Ong, the self-service
portal has helped his team cut down on an otherwise protracted process of having to individually reach out to hotels and tour operators for images that would be used in their business proposals and overseas agents’ tour brochures.
now get at least 50% of all the content we typically require via the platform. It’s like a shared drive for the industry,” he remarked.
Since businesses need to register for an account via Corppass before uploading and extracting content
on TIH, the reliability of the platform’s content is ensured.
2. Reach more local and global customers
TIH's Deal Listings feature allows Woopa Travels to share its deals across various consumer channels.
With the pandemic making it virtually impossible for businesses to maintain physical touchpoints with
their customers, TIH has proven to be particularly useful.
When Singapore rolled out the SingapoRediscovers campaign to spur domestic tourism and in turn help local tourism businesses, tour operator Woopa Travels benefitted by tapping on
TIH’s Deal Listings feature, which allowed it to share its deals across various consumer channels, including the VisitSingapore app and visitsingapore.com.
Said founder and CEO TY Suen, “After listing our deals on TIH in addition to our
website, our product views increased by 60% to several thousand, as deals that were uploaded were similarly made available on Singapore Tourism Board’s marketing channels. This really helped to bring more awareness to our offerings.”
local tour operator launched virtual tours in the midst of the pandemic, TIH also offered an additional channel for them to expand its domestic and international reach – this ultimately provided them with a new source of revenue.
From a B2B2C
perspective, this also means that other businesses like DMCs can discover tour operators such as Woopa Travel’s experiences and distribute this information to their own client base.
3. Enhance customer experience on your digital channels
Insightful content on Singapore heritage precincts such as Little India can be found under TIH's 'Ideas and Inspiration' feature.
With social media, consumers are bombarded with information all the time. To rise above the “noise”, tourism businesses need to own the narrative by offering interesting nuggets of information.
Through the “Ideas and Inspiration” feature offered
by TIH, tourism businesses can benefit from a wide range of editorial stories available – from insightful features on Singapore’s various precincts to tourism marketing tips and unique local buys.
Ong shared that being able to incorporate
the heritage stories his team gleaned from the site into their story-telling allowed Tour East to better curate products that suit their customers.
Another method to capture the attention of customers is to look at how to improve their overall
experience across digital channels. To help with that, the digital repository offers over 150 easy-to-use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), allowing businesses to seamlessly extract information and update content on their platforms in
This can help them to personalise and enhance their customers’ digital journey, and is one aspect that Tour East plans to explore soon as part of their digitalisation efforts.
“Previously, everything was done manually.
For example, when guests arrived, we would give them a hardcopy welcome letter along with the itinerary. We’re now working on a digital itinerary that would allow them to see all the services they’ve booked with us, and gain value-added insights such
as recommended to-dos based on where they are staying. TIH’s APIs would be a good way for us to extract such information in real time,” Ong elaborated.
With APIs, users can automate information propagation onto their business platforms in
real time, which directly translates to significant savings in man hours and effort as compared to manual updates. This will allow the staff to focus on other more meaningful work, as opposed to manual data entry.
4. Build stronger trade ties and explore collaborations
The Business Directory on TIH enables industry users to scout for leads and be discovered by potential partners. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Built on the foundation of collaboration, TIH allows trade professionals to uncover and partner on new and niche offerings – essential to the renewal of the tourism industry.
By tapping on the platform’s Business Directory, business users can
scout for leads to explore tie-ups. In the absence of physical trade networking sessions, this is especially beneficial for tourism businesses who can list their business details for free and get discovered by potential partners via the platform.
“As more people come onboard TIH, there is an opportunity for it to evolve into a networking platform so we can liaise with suppliers from around the world,” opined Suen.
5. Useful digital resources to improve your business operations
The APIs available on TIH allow travel companies to integrate information onto their business platforms in real time.
Amid the current downtime, there is no better time than now for travel companies to get started on enhancing their business operations, and TIH will be a useful tool for their businesses, regardless of where they are in their digital transformation.
its suite of free-to-use content, images and over 12 categories of tourism content ranging from accommodation, to tours and walking trails, listings function and plug-and-play software services such as Enhanced Navigation Service, Recommendation
Engine and Smart Itinerary Planner, the platform is a one-stop shop for all kinds of digital resources.
In fact, TIH’s broad appeal is a key reason why Suen would recommend the platform to fellow tour operators.
He said, “There
are a lot of resources here that’ll benefit all kinds of tourism trade businesses. Everyone should at least have an account to keep themselves updated, and try out one or two functions to see what’s the best fit for them.”
the suite of services available at TIH today by registering for an account here.
This article is brought to you by Singapore Tourism Board.