Whenever I attend a meeting or give a lecture about the importance of the digital universe for business, people rarely disagree with it. Internet in the business world is a reality. However, sometimes people question the size of the investment that is needed to advertise their brand and generate results. In the tourism sector, for instance, I frequently hear that it’s impossible to follow the investments done by online travel agencies, such as Decolar.com, or metasearch engines like Trivago. Thus, most people believe that only huge investments generate results.
When I’m asked about this, my answer is always the same. The important thing in the digital universe is not the size of the investment, it’s the quality that matters. Money that’s well invested can guarantee good results more than large sums can. There are many examples of this. But I prefer to share a recent experience.
My family – my wife, my three sons and I – always travel at this time of the year. One of my sons – an internet expert – is responsible for booking tickets, hotels, car rental, etc. He pays for everything using the internet, obviously. One of the websites he consulted was Decolar.com, where he found two hotels. Then we reached a fork on the road. We wanted to book three rooms for us five. But the website wanted us to book three rooms. Facing this technical impossibility, we called the hotels to check if it was possible to have an extra bed in one of the rooms. The first one only answered “no, there’s nothing we can do”. But the operator from the second hotel did exactly what we were expecting – she said we could indeed have the extra bed. When she informed us the daily room rate, my son asked if it was possible to book through Decolar, to what she answered that the price would be the same – either through the website or on the phone. But, acting in a totally transparent manner, she reminded us that if we booked with her, the hotel wouldn’t have to pay the website the commission. My son asked about the miles that were offered by the website. The operator quickly asked us what our mileage program was and guaranteed we would receive the points we would accumulate there.
Needless to say, we booked our rooms directly with her. According to my calculations, the hotel saved around R$ 2,000. Not bad for a phone call. Multiply that by all the similar cases, which should happen on a daily basis, and you’ll notice what big difference a well-trained staff can make.
This story shows that having a strong presence on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean making big investments in publicity. Investing is important, but having a well-prepared and qualified staff, able to deal with business in the digital world, is just as significant. It’s very important that they are aware of the competitive landscape and how to face it, they need to know the digital tools available and how to apply them on their daily routine. There needs to be a leader who involves all company in a culture that promotes innovation and constant learning.
That’s exactly what the leading digital companies do. Independently of their size or of the investments they make.
This post was originally published in Brasilturis.