How to support tourism companies in their e-strategy?

Cybermassif presented to the DANTE partners during the third workshop of the project in Clermont-Ferrand

To understand how important it is for tourism professional to have an e-strategy, two figures are enough: 80% of tourists use Internet as a source of information and it is the main source of information for 50 to 60% of tourists. Therefore, it is essential for tourism companies to use Internet if they want to stay in the game.

In the territory of Massif Central in France, many tourism companies are lagging behind in that respect. How many hotels still don't have a website presenting their rooms and their services? It has to be acknowledge that tourism professionals must have many competences already: managing their employees, their infrastructure, the daily contact with the customers, etc. We cannot blame them for not having on top of the rest knowledge on Internet technologies. However, companies that do not use this channel loose chances to resist against their competitors.

It is to support the professionals in accessing Internet technologies that Cybermassif was created 10 years ago. Since its creation, the network of resource centres has grown and several projects specifically targeting tourism professionals have been developed. Those actions have been presented to the DANTE partners on 25-26 September, in Clermont-Ferrand, during the third workshop of the project.

The first day of the meeting took place during the "Green France" fair, a fair for tourism professionals in Massif Central, where CyberMassif animated workshops on e-strategy. The three workshops "have your own interactive, visible and attractive website", "make a success of your E-marketing strategy" and "commercialise your offers legally and in an efficient way". Those workshops have been created in the framework of the Tourisma'TIC project, one of the good practice of CyberMassif. They aim at raising awareness on the necessity for any tourism professional to engage into ITC. Those workshop have been held on the territory of Massif Central, and not only in main towns but also in more remote centres in order to reach as many professionals as possible.

Other interesting practices were the questionnaires of diagnosis on ICT developed by the CyberSudoe project (www.cybersudoe.eu, Project Interreg IV B). By filling in the questionnaires (which contain questions such as "how many times a day do you answer your professional emails" or "can your customer book online"), tourism professionals can obtain a first assessment of their strength and weaknesses in the field of ICT use. They receive some first advice on how to improve their ICT strategy and they are proposed to meet with someone from the CyberMassif network to get more advanced counselling. The objective is here to give some first level information and to liaise between tourism professionals and ICT professionals.

For the DANTE partners, the lesson learned from the meeting in Clermont-Ferrand is clear: the digital agendas for tourism that will be prepared in the next phases of the project must also include a reflection on how to bring ICT knowledge to tourism professionals. The tools presented by CyberMassif are interesting practices that can be easily adapted and reused by the partners.

For more information:

- On the DANTE project: http://danteproject.eu; www.facebook.com/DanteProject

- On the activities of CyberMassif: www.cybermassif.org