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By Olukayode Kolawole
The Vice President of Jumia Travel Nigeria, Omolara Adagunodo has stated that harnessing big data properly and improving emotional intelligence will help to personalize the African traveler’s experience through technology. She made the remark at one of the panel discussions hosted by Afro Tourism at this year’s Social Media Week in Lagos.
She pointed out that for the African traveler’s experience to be personalised through technology, there has to be a right mix of data to reach out to the customers. “Some of the recommended tips for achieving this will include, sending personalized messages to customers, understanding, and analyzing website traffic to have a clue on what travelers are looking for.” Omolara further emphasized on the role of big data as the godfather for the internet of things, data collection, information analytics, artificial intelligence, data science, and growth hacking.
The panel discussion also had other seasoned hospitality experts and travel bloggers in attendance, such as Ikechi Uko, organiser of Akwaaba & publisher of ATQ magazine; Bruce Prins, hospitality consultant; Chiamaka Obueke, Founder of Social Prefect; Innocent Uchenna, Travelstart; Tosin Ajibade, Founder of Olorisupergal; and Sam Adeleke of Afrotourism as the moderator.
In his comment, Ikechi Uko of Akwaaba identified the need to create networks that enable Africans to travel within Africa. He queried the current deficit in the number of airlines flying within Africa, as this has forestalled many travels in Africa. “We need to create more profitable airlines flying within Africa; this will encourage more travels within the continent. There are interesting destinations in Africa but how many Africans visit these destinations?” he added.
While answering questions on the kind of effective method of sending personalized messages to travelers, Omolara stated that operators in the travel and hospitality business should start keeping customers’ data. The data should consequently be used to pitch personalized messages to the customers. She cited for instance a hotel sending a wedding anniversary message to a couple who lodged in the hotel during the wedding ceremony. When you personalize or tailor make your messages to customers’ special dates, it will have a lasting impression on them, and encourage return patronage.”