Taking Advantage of the Digital Space for Tourism Industry Players

Taking Advantage of the Digital Space for Tourism Industry Players

After agriculture, tourism is Kenya’s second largest foreign exchange revenue earner. However this sector has been significantly threatened by rising insecurity in the country, more specifically from terrorist attacks instigated by the Al-Shabaab.

It’s unfortunate that the western media has depicted this country in the negative manner that it has. Although it’s a tough call to control them, there is much that can be done through   efforts on the part of tourism industry players both public and private, to push Kenya’s tourism agenda. From observation, it’s clear that the industry is very dependent on events and holidays to promote packages . For example, this being February, Valentine’s packages are the promotional hooks.

Tourism industry players clearly need to be more proactive in communicating their products to customers. Visibility of this sector is relatively low. According to research firm Ipsos,  industry advertising exposure charts for 2104 , tourism does not feature in the top 10 despite it being one of the top revenue earners of the economy. Most significantly how are tourism players taking advantage of the digital space?  This is one medium that allows communication to seamlessly and cost effectively cut across local, regional and international audiences. One that top tourist related brands use as their key business driver. Think Travel start, J0vago ,  TripAdvisor. Their communication platforms are practically 100% digital. According to data derived from Istats Kenya, a social media listening report,  the highest rated websites in the tourism sector in Kenya in  January 2016   were Eat-Out Kenya at position 319, the second was Bonfire Adventures at position 1266 and the third was Magical Kenya at position 1273.

On terms of social conversations tembea Kenya rated tops but the first hotel was  relatively low compared to restaurants

Tourism Related Conversations comparison by Interantional School of Advertising - ISA Africa

Hospitality Industry players by Internation School of Advertising - ISA Africa

To claim that these positions are depressing is an understatement. Current figures put the number of Kenyans with access to the internet at 67% translating to over 25 million Kenyans and that just covers Kenya. Digital marketing has taken the world by storm. Those who’ve utilized it properly will attest to advantages such as explosive growth and exposure, accuracy in measurability, greatest value for money, etc. Sadly, however many organizations in Kenya – not just in the tourism industry - are yet to fully take advantage of this powerful tool.

According to Jack Mugi, the brainchild of istats, the tourism sector has a huge host of  assets compared to less ‘appealing’ counterparts like banking and insurance to drive their digital media agenda

The reality of today’s situation is, if people want to find out about anything (that includes your company), the first thing they do is ‘Google’ it. Another reality is that every organization has a virtual brand either a strong one or a weak one. What people discover about your organization online can either boost your brand or damage it if there is an inconsistency with your company’s values. If your company doesn’t appear on Google or Bing, that’s telling too; either that you don’t exist or that you’re completely outdated and/or obsolete.

For more information on  that state of the tourism sector on the social media space visit


A company’s brand image and reputation are valuable. It makes no sense to leave its determination solely in the hands of other parties e.g. review websites like TripAdvisor for tourism players, influencers, consumers, trolls, etc. Digital marketing may prove difficult but it need not be. For this reason, the International School of Advertising (ISA) will be hosting  a 2-day conference to give better understanding of digital marketing skewed to tourism players in collaboration with Jack Mugi, the brain behind Istats Kenya and Martin Kiarie from Bean Interactive. This conference will be held on February 23rd-24th at the Royal orchid hotel. Contact sharon  on 0733 476841 or sharon.k@isaafrica.eduaction for more information.

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