Importance of Networking in Tourism
According to Adam Small, an award-winning South African writer, networking is the most powerful marketing tactic that accelerates and sustains success for any business. It creates connections and builds enduring mutually beneficial relationships.
Adverts, emails, status updates, special offers and sales pitches create clustered messages but personal relationships enable you to establish a strong bond between your business and customers. In the tourism industry, partnerships among tour operators are important for the benefit of all parties involved. Relationships are the catalysts for success. People do business with those with whom bonds are established. When you attend a cocktail party, you meet like-minded people you can work with or learn from. This interaction allows you to engage in a conversation likely to create opportunities and potential partnerships.
Search Engine Optimisation, blogging and social media are effective avenues for marketers but networking is food to the business. It is also important to foster relationships that do not directly convert into money. Do not overlook the simple benefit of having friends in the business cycles with no strings attached. We need to know someone has our back. That we have comrades who are there for us. Building a network creates opportunities like joint venture, client leads and partnerships. Through networking, a lot of useful information can be gathered. There are things that Google can not tell you. We rely on our network to inform us and keep us on track and we give back to our network in return. The more you deposit, the more you can withdraw. The bigger your network is the more you can tap into.
Meeting the right people and expanding spheres of influence is the secret behind many success stories in the business world. To succeed you must continuously connect with new people, cultivating emerging relationships and leverage your network. Successful marketers take advantage of the leads generated by their extensive networks.
With a motivated group of business owners comes abundance of opportunities including joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, brokerages and many more. The list goes on and on. Opportunities in networking are endless. However, Kim Baird, a renowned business writer advises his audience to make sure that opportunities that they get involved with should align with their business vision. Get on board when you identify the right opportunity and avoid jumping into every opportunity that comes your way. A lot of people are spinning their wheels chasing opportunity after opportunity and getting nowhere.
Build a credible source of connections in your network. Meeting like-minded people gives you an opportunity to benefit from their advice especially those who are ahead of you in the game. Networking is a great way to tap into advice and expertise that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get hold of. Through networking, you will be visible and noticed. Attending business and social events regularly will enable you to gain recognition. Through this recognition you can build a reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. You will also be more likely to attract more referrals and recommendations. Expand your horizon and get connected.
Tourism is practiced on the international arena. It knows no boundaries and connects people and places the world over. Similarly, tour operators need to establish links with their foreign counterparts and government agencies to be successful. Tourism and More, a US-based tourism research company divide tourism networking in three basic categories namely networking within the industry, networking with allied industries and networking with industries that appears to have nothing to do with tourism but have a major impact on the industry and its bottom-line.
Attending tourism trade fairs definitely helps to expand one’s network. However, this should not be limited to tourism exhibitions only. Like many others, tourism is a people-centered business. The more you are known and trusted, the more likely you are to attract and receive visitors. Attend as many functions as possible. These functions do not have to be tourism related. Nevertheless, choose functions whose attendees may impact your visibility and recognition or create leads.
Businesses in the tourism industry are enhanced by collective marketing efforts and joint mechanisms. In most cases, tour operators plan activities and make reservations in other countries with help from partners based in those countries. This arrangement creates a win-win situation.