Nowadays, channels are everywhere and it is essential to optimize the use a few of these channels, the so-called; multichannel strategy. The following article describes the ways in how to select the right channels for a tour operating business. It is presented in the following order; the range of channels, the degree of differentiation and the controllability (Beltman and Peelen, 2013).
Figure 1. Right channel combination
The first step in choosing the right channels, is to determine the range of channels. A closer look needs to be taken into the different segments which need to be attracted. A selection needs to be made between conservative or open-minded people, passive or active people and instrumental or social people. Conservative people value certainty, so the use of familiar frameworks is appropriate. Moreover, they use the same channel, while open-minded people tend to use a new channel once in a while. Furthermore, passive people tend to listen to other opinions while active people like to make their own decisions. Lastly, instrumental people are efficient and targeted, while social consumers need to have contact with others. A tour operator could for example make a website wherein a community is situated. In here, they could focus on people who are conservative, passive and social (Beltman and Peelen, 2013).
The second step in choosing the right channels, is to determine the degree of differentiation. This needs to be researched as customers do not have equal wants and needs. Moreover, their behavior on different channels is different from each other as well. In here, organizations have thought of different approaches among different customers. For example, dividing them into a VIP group and a non-VIP group. The disadvantages of this approach is that the non-VIP group might feel disadvantaged and discriminated. Therefore, it is also possible to make no differences between customers. Either option needs to be well researched and well put together to avoid any possible conflicts. A tour operator could for example make no differences between customers and treat them all equally with a high and personalized service (Beltman and Peelen, 2013).
The third and final step in choosing the right channels, is to determine the controllability of the channels. The business needs to know whether it could handle the different channels with the goal that the customer experience is being reinforced. The different channels need to manageable when it comes to the costs and the performance. It is more important to have only a few channels, which are made of good quality and relevant content, then to have multiple channels which are incomplete (Clark, 2016). A tour operator could for example limit the range of channels and the degree of differentiation if the accessibility or the quality is not good enough (Beltman and Peelen, 2013).
As a conclusion it can be said that choosing the right channels can be a complex process which takes time and further research, or it can be made as easy and fast as possible. Nevertheless, a successful multichannel strategy can significantly benefit the revenues and the cost structure of the business (Beltman and Peelen, 2013).
Beltman, R., Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson. Retrieved at 9 october 2016; 259 – 266.
Clark, J. (2016). How to Choose the Right Social Media Channels to Reach Your Customers. Convince&Convert. Retrieved at 9 october 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/how-to-choose-the-right-social-channels-to-reach-your-customers/