Tourism firms in the North East need to get online or risk losing business to their rivals according to Deloitte.
Research by the business advisory firm indicates that over 91% of all domestic travel transactions are digitally influenced, which includes direct online sales or multichannel transactions. This often comprises of a number of touch points, including stores, online, social media, smartphones or tablet apps.
The North East tourism industry is worth almost £4bn to the local economy, employing over 50,000 people and increasingly the chances are that even holidaymakers to the region who book over the phone or in person on the day, are likely to have used a digital channel at some point during their decision making process.
Rob Seldon, technology partner at Deloitte in the North East said: “Consumers have embraced digital media and are increasingly confident about interacting and making purchases online. North East tourism businesses need to recognise this and ensure their business is set up to serve the digital consumer.”
More than 10% of those researching UK travel went directly to a hotel website, while 9% used a hotel room price comparison website, and 9% browsed a catalogue or brochure.
Due to the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, businesses also need to consider whether their websites are mobile friendly to ensure that visitors making a last minute purchase can use the service on reaching their destination.
Mr Seldon added: “The move online presents many challenges for the tourism industry but it also creates new opportunities, for example allowing accommodation owners greater flexibility on pricing, such as offering discounts to drive demand for late bookings or using social media to promote their business.”