Touriosity Podcast with Chris Torres — Entreverted
Posted by Eric Lomax
Is starting a travel site during a global pandemic insanity or brilliance? I insist it’s the latter and you will as well after listening. Chris Torres created a community with Touriosity that may disrupt the big booking sites. He changed the pricing strategy, shares vital end customer information with the operators, provides marketing advice, and, most importantly, helps tour operators survive the biggest threat their businesses may face in a lifetime.
Eric: Chris Torres is joining us today to talk about Touriosity. Chris, can you do me a favor and give the audience an understanding of what Touriosity is and what it offers?
Chris Torres: Of course and thanks for having me along. And so, Touriosity is, in essence, a platform for tour operators, an OTA, an online travel agent of such and we are there to try and help operators get direct bookings at that is the whole premise of the platform.
We obviously have your big boys like TripAdvisor and GetYourGuide out there, but they seem obviously to charge high commissions and seem to be adding more and more fees to what they are doing to try and call back some revenue that they have lost over the last ten or eleven months because of the things that are happening in the world, but we are commission-free. We are actually a non-profit. So, every fee that the operators pay, which is a yearly fee, that goes towards the marketing of the platform and the marketing of the activities and the destinations are on.
So, we are an online travel agent by name, more of a marketing collective, but we are, in essence, an OTA that is commission-free and nonprofit.
Eric: What I saw at least from the outside looking in, it almost seems like there is a community of operators that are collectively working together to identify not just how to work together, but how to maintain the travel industry itself, especially during all the turmoil that is going on right now. Is that a fair assumption or am I seeing something that really is not there?
Chris: No, I think you are correct. What I have seen and what has been heartwarming is seeing the amount of operators coming together to try and help each other and that sense of community. That is why I love this industry. It is why I work within this industry. The sense of community is incredible. People working together who you — classes[?] competitors working side by side to try and help each other get through this crisis. And again, that is why Touriosity is born from that. I was lucky enough to speak to over a hundred operators opened up my diary, spoke to — basically like having a hours consultation free to try and get them some advice about how to market through this crisis and especially at the very beginning of it.
Do not get me wrong, I have a lot of disheartening stories, companies may be going under that type of thing, but some of the heartwarming stories was just incredible and that is what spurred me on to Touriosity was to give them something, give them hope, give them something that they can put their toes on that they do not have to be charged these silly commissions and something to look forward to in terms of bookings in the future once we get out of all this madness that we are in.
Eric: So, it is almost as though you are providing additional — it is not just a platform, right? It is not just a platform or community. I have also seen advice from you. I have seen business advice on how to market, how to provide more creative alternatives during the downturn. Can you go into that a little bit?
Chris: Yeah, I am just a big believer of educating this sector as much as possible. I made a conscious decision about four or five years ago of putting out lots of free content or offering marketing advice, offering advice on how to grow a business because I could see that the industry was really needed. The tour industry is behind a lot of the other travel industries out there whether it is flights or hotels and especially education level. So, that is the reason why I have put so much content in that regards just to really educate the industry.
Because at the end of the day, I also run a marketing agency, so at the end of the day, all those customers who come to me to gain a little bit of knowledge and once they have that knowledge, gives them a better understanding of where they want to take their business, how they want to grow their business and how they want to market their business and that makes our job here at Touriosity and at TMA a lot easier. And that is what we try to do is more or less educate the industry as much as possible.
Eric: Fair enough. So, I have seen that the operator has — it is different for the operator, right? Touriosity is absolutely different for the operator itself. Does the end consumer also see or have a different experience?
Chris: To be honest, the way consumer books on the site is probably not too dissimilar to any other website or any other OTA out there. They visit the website, they can do a search, they find an activity or a destination they want to visit, look at the tours and activities and attractions, et cetera, that run there and then book or inquire depending on what that product is.
So the experience is not that much different but what they are getting is knowledge from a consumer level of did you know that these — like OTAs are charging twenty to forty percent commission. Did you know that that is being stripped away from these local businesses who are dying on their feet at the moment?
So, I think what you are going to see, there is a big uptick, a big surge on people and consumers with sustainability in mind, a few can also tie that end with you are really helping these local businesses, you are helping the people on the ground to deliver these experiences, not the big corporate businesses, then I think that will help persuade some consumers to book on Touriosity and not on some of the others.
We know we are not going to capture everyone, we know that, but we do not have the war that these big OTAs have, but we feel we can capture enough of the market and the right market, the right people to book these tours.
Eric: Do you believe that Touriosity is disrupting the industry then or would you see it as that or is that even something you are even worried about?
Chris: I suppose that way — it is trying to something different. Like I said, no big commission fee, being a non-profit. We do not have VC money. We do not have shareholders that we have to pay back or anything like that. So, we can focus on just getting the platform promoted, marketed in the right way, getting the products out there to potential travelers, but we are using Facebook predominantly for advertising. We know we cannot really win and compete against the big guys on Google AdWords because they spend silly money on that side of things, but they do not do so much on Facebook and we feel we can win on there and you could be a lot more targeted on Facebook in my opinion. It is the best platform for ads, in my opinion.
We feel we can win in certain areas and it is just informing people and informing the travelers why we are different and showing them the great experiences around that really. So, I think we can disrupt your market in a certain way.
Eric: Okay, sounds good. From a different side of things, where did the idea come about? Was it the product of necessity or was it just — did you just have an epiphany? Where did this come from?
Chris: Actually, it came to me a few years ago when I was writing my book. I used a sort of dummy company in that book to give across the ideas within it. It is a marketing book called Lookers into Bookers. So, within that, I had a company called Food Drink Tour[?] and that was, as the name suggests, was a food tour company. But I decided to — we bought that domain name for drink.tour.com[?] and we decided, okay, we can make this into a food and drink to an OTA type company. And that was something I had in the back of my mind for a little while and it is one of these things. I just never got time to get back to it, et cetera.
And then when COVID hit, I thought I would revisit it again and thought, well, why just make this for all activities and not just food and drink and I think that is something obviously I thought the industry would need and that is what it was born from, born from an idea on the book all the way through to what it is now. Just I decided to launch it in the middle of a pandemic.
Eric: Perfect time, right? Why not? Yeah, totally counter-intuitive to some but makes perfect sense to some of us for sure. I have seen some really creative ideas on the site. One of the ones I have come across was almost a pre-visit. I have seen other folks offering yoga classes. I have seen all sorts of things. What are some of the more creative ideas you believe some of the operators have done?
Chris: That is a good question. That is the thing, the operators are starting to think maybe a little bit more out-of-the-box compared to what they used to do. There is a number of virtual tours on there. For example, obviously, that is something that a lot of operators are looking at, so people offering virtual tours, letting people see what their destination is like, some of them are offering virtual tours as part of an actual product that someone receives. So, someone who is offering beer tours, beer tasting will actually send beer to a traveler within our local area so they can actually sample it while they are speaking to them online.
So, the good thing about tour operators is they are trying to pivot the business to a certain way of just basically still make revenue during these tough times and we know it is not going to be easy. We know not all are going to be successful at that. But at least they are trying something different and that is sort of what we are trying to do with Touriosity. So, there are lots of examples on there that we could share.
Eric: Do you need my address for the beer?
Chris: I am sure they will send it.
Eric: Well, let us not do that actually, it could get me into a whole lot of trouble or maybe you. I do not know. We will stay away from that one for now.
I notice that you have a partner program, I know it is a little bit different for typical operators. Can you go into that a little bit?
Chris: Yes. So, to help support the platform and to help support the operators on there in the community, we opened up the platform to allow other businesses to become partners, so they pay us every month to become a partner. That gives them access to obviously those who register on the platform, that type of thing but what they are also going to be doing is supplying lots of webinars, articles, dates to help that community and to help them follow in terms of growing their own business.
Pretty much like I do with my own content, so that is the plan. That is what we are hoping that they are going to do. But ultimately, they are paying us money because they believe in what we are trying to do. They believe in the premise of it and that money helps go towards the marketing of the platform as well and the maintaining of it. So, there is a few different things on there and if anyone who comes onto the platform, for example, who does not have a booking system, they can visit one of the guys who are on there to then inquire if that is something that they can take out.
So, the partners have been great. It has allowed us to do a few extra things in the platform that we did not think we were going to be able to do and be able to spend a little bit more money on paid advertising, that type of thing. So, the partners are helping the community massively to be honest.
Eric: Cool. Do you have a typical type of operator that you appeal to and do they appeal to this — you mentioned that some of them are almost competitors or are competitors. Do you find them to be going after the same customers as well? So my question is basically who are the operators? What do they look like as a customer base? And what does the end customer look like as well?
Chris: So, it is a good question. We have got a mix on there in terms of operators. We have day tour companies or multi-day tour companies and some offering bake tours, food tours, just general sightseeing, bus tour. So, it is a real mix of businesses that are on there. But in terms of the competitor’s state of things, what we are doing is we are limiting — there is a couple of things on that actually. We are limiting the number of operators within any given sector. So, if say, someone was in Glasgow, where I am, and it happened to operate food tours, we do only allow five companies who do food tours in Glasgow, for example, to be on the platform.
Competition is good, but we do not want to over saturate it as well with lots and lots of similar tours. But in terms of the other way — if I am just putting my marketing business app or a lot of operators think that their competitors are other operators, and actually that is not really the fact. The main competitor for operators is time. It is people’s time, but it is other forms of entertainment, going to the cinema or going out for a bite to eat. We are doing all these things that people want to do when they arrive at a destination or whatever. So, do not think of your competitor as another operator. It is everything else out there that they could be spending their time on rather than being out on a tour with yourself.
Eric: I agree completely. It is not necessarily your market. It is what is competing for your customer dollar is always the big point every single time. To follow up on the question, from a size perspective, are the operators about the same size? Are they particularly large? Particularly small? Are they two-person, five-person, big companies all over the place?
Chris: Yeah. Again, it is a mix. There are some people who are just starting out, one-man, one-woman band, and then all the way through to companies who are larger and who have — although a lot of the big companies have reduced in size because of everything that is going on, et cetera, but classify them as bigger companies.
So, we do have a mix. We have some companies from Gray Line for example, who are one of the oldest and largest sightseeing companies in the planet. We have some companies on board from them all the way through to your mom and pop businesses and everyone in between.
Eric: You mentioned Facebook before. Do you use anything else other than Facebook to gather additional information on your customers? I know that resources are — you cannot spend like the big boys to go acquire them. But what can you gather about the folks that are using you now?
Chris: We do a lot of research because I am working up to have a marketing agency and a really good team there as well. We do a lot of research anyway in this sector with customer bases all over the world and although we are based in the UK, ninety percent of my agency’s customers are international.
We have been going for fourteen years. We know a lot of the different destinations, how they buy, how they work, how they purchase, all these other things and every time a new customer comes on board, we do research on that country, their customers, their area, their buyer personas, we create all that before we even go into any marketing stipulation, they have to go through that stage and we use that information to help with Touriosity as well and we are going to be actually creating new research and reports and putting them out there for Touriosity so people can see. “Okay, this is what we are doing.”
So, it is not just about being a platform to host your tours and get out there to your potential travelers, the community is going to be a big aspect of this. We are going to be offering them their own dedicated help gaze[?] and reports and everything else to drive them forward because at the end of the day, whether it is on Touriosity, whether it is through them direct, it is all about getting direct bookings and getting that customer information to the operator, which a lot of the OTAs do not provide, and that is what we believe in. That is the difference between us as well as we actually — they get the information of the customer because a lot of booking actually through Touriosity booking platform, they are booking direct with whatever platform that that operator uses, so they are always going to get the details of that customer.
Eric: That is actually really worthwhile. What is the response from the operators on the detail of their — have you seen people that have shifted from or that are using multiple platforms that are getting more value from you or getting different value from you? What are they saying?
Chris: Everyone has been very positive. It is still very early days. We only launched back in November. Obviously with COVID and the whole crisis that moment that, there are not many bookings happening as you can imagine. So, the big driver at the moment is all a bit brand awareness. So, we are doing a huge brand awareness, Facebook campaign just now where we are just letting travelers know from all over the world who we are, what we are all about. So when things do improve, hopefully they will remember Touriosity, come back and then start booking up activities, et cetera.
It is all about brand awareness but just now, it is far too early to call and I would always say, “Have a mix.” I would not expect anyone to suddenly leave TripAdvisor for example and come on Touriosity. I would not advise that they would do that anyway. You should be on multiple platforms and you should not put all your eggs in one basket anyway, but if it gets to a stage where — to give you an example, when I was speaking to a lot of operators, there was scarily a huge number of them who are sixty, seventy, eighty or even a hundred percent reliant on their bookings from TripAdvisor or other OTAs. That is what scared me and now because of COVID, because they do not have any direct bookings or direct channels or customer details, they actually do not have a business nor — this may sound harsh to some but a few are a lot that reliant on these big OTAs, nothing more than an Uber driver because you do not really own your own brands. They own your customers, they own your brands. All you are really doing is going along for the ride. Whereas I am more in the cap of if you drive your own direct bookings through your own website or whether it is through Touriosity or not, you are always going to get those details. You are always going to get those direct bookings without paying a commission and you have that customer so they market [inaudible] and that is the big differential between us and them.
Eric: Spectacular. You actually — before I hit the record button, you said that demand was high. I mean, obviously, you have heard some of the horror stories, but what do you see happening for the travel industry over the next year or I mean, obviously you do not have a crystal ball. But let us assume that the vaccinations come about, you said demand was fairly high and it seems as though people are just dying to get out the door and go visit new places.
Chris: We have got a number of customers who we are helping with in my agency who are getting lots and lots of inquiries and that is the difference of next to no bookings happening, but they are getting lots of inquiries to us for bespoke itineraries, get a quote, even if you are a day tour company, have a page on your website for someone to inquire about, “I would love to come to your destination, take a tour, how much will it be? Can you do this for me?” Even it is not something you normally do, get that on there because the pent-up demand is huge.
But in terms of going forward, I see some international travel may be happening in May, June time, but even at that, it is going to be short-haul. So flights that are — or even if you are driving — distances of three to four hours I think will be the most that people would go to which may only be allowed to fly to internationally. So it is going to be short haul first. Locally, it is still going to be huge this year, local sort of tourism destinations, local businesses are still going to be huge.
Then by the end of the year, hopefully, that is when we start to see more long haul international travel open up again. But we sort of say local for sure, then short haul and then longer because one of the things you have got to think about as well is a lot of people are working from home. Once we start getting out of this, they will maybe start going back to their offices, their businesses, all that type of thing.
More so in the UK because United States, for example, you guys only get like two weeks holiday a year or something like that but as we get like five or six, there will be a bit more emphasis on short weekend breaks, there will be more emphasis on maybe staying for five to seven days at the most. So these long haul ones will be harder to sell because people will have less time to do so because businesses will just want people, yes, they can really stop from taking a holiday or a trip but businesses will want them to try and help them out while things are opening up again and taking longer holidays is going to be few and far between in my opinion. So, short haul holidays, short weekend breaks, a week at the most, that is the sort of things that I see being the trend going forward.
Eric: Got it. Yeah, I have to admit, as soon as I am allowed out of the house, I do not know if I am coming back. I am going to spend as much time away as I can. It does not matter where. I might be at my next door neighbor’s house. I have no idea right now just to get out of this place.
Chris: Oh, if it just a way to get — if I get away from home schooling, that would be even -
Eric: Yeah, maybe the holidays to get away from the family as much as anything else.
Let us shift gears for a sec. You started a tourism business in the middle of a pandemic that was probably the most impactful on your business. What have your mentors said? What have other people around you said? Did they just say you are crazy or did you even tell them what was going on?
Chris: Some of them thought I was crazy. I actually do have a business coach and he liked the idea to be honest. To be honest, it is something I am used to doing. When I set up my agency back in 2008, it was during the financial crash, so I do not make it easy for myself. I just felt it was the right time. Operators, like I said, I was seeing a lot of things like Viator for example starting to charge even though it is a small fee, starting to charge twenty-nine dollars per tour that you want to list or get listings where the quality control something that they should be doing for the commission that they are paying anyway in my opinion. But anyway, that is another story.
All I am seeing is businesses trying to charge the operator even more when they are not generating revenue. That is the big thing whereas with Touriosity, yes, it is a small yearly fee. It is only a couple hundred dollars. It is a small yearly fee, no commission. I think a lot of operators are thinking, “Okay. It is only two hundred dollars, two hundred fifty dollars.” Let us see if this works.
And I have been completely honest with everyone saying, “Look, we are going to give this a good two years. We do not know if this will work. We know we have got an uphill battle against everyone but I am very much the camp of let us try something. Let us see if this will work. If we get it to work, fantastic. If it does not work, at least we can hold our heads up high and say look we tried to do something.” And that is what a lot of the operators are jumping on board with.
When we first announced this, we did not put out any marketing. It was all word of mouth through Facebook groups and everything else. Within forty hours, we had seven hundred operators register their interest, which was incredible and that just shows that people are looking for hope, people are looking for something different and in this day and age some element of people just want to try anything to try and generate revenue, but with the fact of this not charging a commission and everything else, we will hopefully see that this will be in the long-term a better revenue for them.
So, launching during the pandemic I think is probably a smart move to be honest to try and get people interested and then build up that brand awareness for when we do come out of this pandemic. We will hopefully have all that ground work done and in place because once marketing starts back up properly again with a lot of OTAs, it will be harder to cut through that clutter because budgets will start to soar and everything else. So if we are doing this now, I think it is probably a smart move to be honest.
Eric: Yeah, I cannot disagree with that at all. I think downturns are when everyone else is walking away, that is when you start walking toward it. I think that is the best opportunity always. It is always the hardest choice, but absolutely to me is always the best one.
You mentioned a business coach. Do you have other mentors? Do you have other folks that are in the industry that you collaborate with or talk to? Who is your support system and what kind of advice have they been giving you?
Chris: It is a good question. So yeah, I do have a business coach. I have been using the same business coach for about ten years or something like that or close to it. He is based in Glasgow where I am based as well. And just having someone you can send off to or scream out or be happy with when you win something. Running your own business or being a business owner can be a very lonely place. Yes, you could talk to it with your partners and everything else, but if they do not run a business, they do not quite get it. You are not just running a business to help support you and your own family, but you have got all the families and people who are working for you and all these other things as well. It is such a bigger picture that you have got to look at. It can become a very lonely experience.
The business coach, I was with that, and all those in the industry and all those many in the industry who I speak to every now and again to get ideas, bounce ideas off of, get opinions with, or Shane from Tourpreneur is one of them, Peter Saim[?] from A Thousand-Mile Journey who is a very outspoken guy, but very knowledgeable, another fellow Scott, he is another one I speak to, Alex Bainbridge[?] as well. I have to give a massive shout out to Alex Bainbridge because for those who do not know, he started up TourCMS, which was one of the very first booking platforms to be created. He pretty much invented the booking industry that we are in and although he is now sold out his business off, he helped me grow my own business. We did a lot of websites in the past for TourCMS. He has offered us a lot of advice in terms of how operators work, that type of thing and Peter Saim, for example, we have a Slack channel where we chat pretty much every day on things that are happening, all that sort of stuff.
So yes, those guys, my coaches probably have been my go-to people to get advice from and again, if you are just annoyed at something, then you can just have a little bit of a grievance with them and allows you to cool down.
Eric: Makes complete sense. If you were going to advise somebody else who is in a similar situation, thinking about starting a business right now, what was the best advice that you have received from these folks and what do you think you convey to somebody who is starting a business now in the middle of a pandemic or what have you told some of the operators who are talking to you?
Chris: There is never a right or wrong time in my opinion to start a business. There are opportunities no matter whether we are in a pandemic or whether we are back in 2019 and other things are rosey or with tourism being at its highest point ever back in 2019. There is never a bad point to start a business. The good thing about starting a business during a pandemic is a lot of other businesses are not marketing as heavily as they would normally do. So, that gives you opportunities to sneak in, hopefully get your brand out there, get your messaging out there even during a pandemic and I know this will be hard for businesses, especially if you got a tight budget, but marketing should never stop.
If you are stopping marketing, you are literally killing your business because no one will know who you are, where you are, that you exist. Even just putting out — but there are lots of free things you can do. Putting out content, putting out social posts that you can do, letting people know that your business is still here, letting people know that you still exist, that you are still trying to help your local communities or help your guides or help whatever it is that you want to get across.
I am a big believer when it comes to marketing about this personal story, the journey of the people behind the business. To me that sells a business better than selling a product online or anything like that. It is the people behind, it is the experiences behind it. That is what makes a successful marketing campaign in my opinion.
There is no right and wrong when starting a business. Just make sure that you have the research in place so you know your target audience, select a niche, do not go too broad. I started up my own agency, we worked with everyone and anyone, lawyers, dentists, tour operators, you name it, and we quickly got a lot of tour operators on our books, and that is when we decided to very quickly focus on that sector.
So, if anything, focus on a niche because if you try to cater for everyone, you will basically talk to no one. If you focus on a niche, you will talk to more people, get a better quality customer and you will generate revenue and build your business much, much quicker.
Eric: Well, thank you. You took the words out of my mouth. So I can stop now. I do not have to say anything else. What other tools do you use? You mentioned Slack? I had never even thought about using Slack to keep in touch with other folks. Is there anything else that you are doing?
Chris: Yeah. So, Slack is a tool we use internally for my team. So especially now, we all work remotely but we have actually now just given up the office completely. So, even when we come out of COVID, we are just all going to work remotely anyway, so the money we saved on office space and that type of thing allowed me to hire two new staff and that was more important to me. So, it allows us to be more productive and everything else.
But in terms of tools, Slack keeps us in communication with people and I always create certain groups. Alex Bainbridge, for example, does not have a Facebook page or it does not — on Facebook, he is LinkedIn more, so it is just a place where you can go to bring everyone who is on different platforms on to the one platform if you want to at least chat there and it is free as well. You can have a paid version of it as well.
But I have lots of Facebook groups that I talk to operators on, offer free advice on as well. Frequent other Facebook groups. So, Facebook to be honest, for me Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack are the three main communication channels that I use to be honest. That is probably the three main ones I use.
Eric: Okay, I should have asked this one before but I noticed that you do have sort of a threshold or business criteria for the operators to join. It is not — I cannot start up a company today and join, is that correct?
Chris: No. Actually, you can. The general stipulation is when people come on board, when operators come on board, we only allow five tours per destination per listing. So every time you pay for a listing, we have co-operators have paid for multiple listings. So when you pay for one listing, it gets you five tours at a particular destination. So, if you are day tour company, that is per city. A multi-day tour company, that is per country, region or state depending on where your tours are.
The only other stipulation we have really got is if you are an established business of over a year, you have to have a four-star rating or above for your business either on TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, wherever your main review platform is, we will go with that. But if you had a new business or under a year, we expect and we know that most people would have that many reviews or especially now with the pandemic, there is not going to be many reviews happening at this moment in time.
So we will give people time to build up those reviews, so even people who have come on board just now, we will have set twelve months to build up your reviews, but we know with COVID, that will stretch, so we will probably give them a year-and-a-half, two years or a year from when things start to open up again.
And then from there, we will review it every time but if you are a new business, you can most certainly be on the platform but if you are an established business, we sort of say, okay four stars, but after a year if you do not have any reviews or after a certain period once we are rid of this pandemic, then we will probably sort of say, “Look, can you build up your reviews or we are going to have to pull your listings.” We are not like a lot of the other OTAs where it is just all about quantity, getting as many tours on there as possible. We want quality products on there and that is why Viator have now started charging for qualifying products, et cetera, because they now realize that they basically on-boarded everyone and anyone and realize that it is so much rubbish on there. Now, they are trying to get rid of some of it really.
So, we do not want to get down that route. We want to make sure that the people that we have on, the operators we have on there are high quality and we think that is only right for the customer.
Eric: Makes perfect sense. I know you do not have a crystal ball and especially during the middle of a pandemic in the travel industry in general, but I would imagine you have got multiple plans for moving forward where there is a plan A if vaccinations take effect by the summer. There is another one if they take another year. Can you give me some insight or give the audience some insight on what the future holds from multiple perspectives?
Chris: Yeah, so in terms of strategy, we have laid out for Touriosity, we are aiming for six months of this year. So basically by May, June, it is predominantly going to be brand awareness of the platform, getting the name out there, letting travelers know who we are. By about month four or five, we are going to start planning on marketing more or advertise more activity-based, more purchasing, more activity-based ads, destination-based ads, putting that out there on top of those people — obviously targeting those people that visit the website initially through the brand awareness campaigns, so we can target them and say, “Hey, things look like they are going to improve. Vaccinations are going around.” We are starting to see hopefully by that time bubbles or whatever name they come up with these days between different destination starting to open up again. So until that happens, we are keeping it fairly broad at the moment, but once we can see, for example, okay, the UK is now opened up to Spain or France or Portugal, we can then start advertising through Facebook. Okay, let us target people in the UK to come to visit Spain, Portugal wherever is opened and target ads because we have — whether we have tours on there who are from Spain or Portugal in the platform. So we will do more things like that. But until we know when things are opened up.
So, the marketing rulebook, to a certain extent because of the pandemic has been thrown out. But another way is you have to basically react quicker to when things happen. So if in two weeks’ time, all of a sudden COVID was to suddenly not exist and the things opened up again, they will react, we will get things out there, we will publish stuff, we will do ads and get things marketed for those destinations.
So it is just reacting to the market as and when things happen and that is what we are looking at. But we do have a base strategy of saying, “You know what, hopefully next six months, we could do mostly brand awareness, then activities, then destinations.” I am not going to be doing content. We are going to be doing travel gaze. We are going to be doing all these other things and our co-operators[?] and how they are going to be doing all these things as well.
So it is about SEO and rankings and not just about Facebook ads. So we are going to be doing a number of different things. But yeah, it is more about reacting to what is happening in the world and looking okay, America has now opened up to Iceland, first thing that came into my head, let us do advertise between those two and that type of thing.
So, it is really hard to put down a definitive strategy in terms of each level of nuance, but you can have a base strategy of what you want to achieve that will just stretch depending on what happens across the world or the timings will just stretch but then once things open up, that to me could be a little bit more nuance to do more targeted ads on potential destinations, et cetera. So wait and see game that is what we are going to do.
Eric: It almost sounds like you said to wait and see game but it almost sounds like you have got a lot of different micro strategies that are moving parts that are part of a bigger one. At least, it is what it sounds like to me.
Chris: No, you are correct. I am probably trivializing it a little but my team have been great. They support me massively so they are doing a lot of research in terms of what they see going forward. I am actually in the process of doing a field market research that I am looking to release the next few weeks about what people or travelers’ interests are, what are they looking at doing, what is holding them back, all these different things as well. So, all that will help towards Touriosity as well. So there are so many different facets that will help towards a strategy as well.
So yeah, we do have all these plans. We do have in the background all these things we want to do in normal circumstances and it is just a matter of okay when something happens, it is packing out that is part of that strategy, slotting it and doing it, but we do have all these things in the background that we would love to do. We just cannot do it quite yet because of everything that is going on.
Eric: Again, makes perfect sense, Chris. Chris Torres, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time. Absolutely wishing you the best success and send the beer. I will give you the address as soon as I hit the button and by the way, tell the guys in Lisbon to watch out. I am on my way and expect to have a whole lot of fun out there. Thanks again for everything.
Chris: Thank you so much for having me on. Been an absolute pleasure.
Eric: Man, absolutely.
Originally published at https://entreverted.com on February 15, 2021.