Thailand’s Tourism Board Looks to Social Media to Build Tourist Database
A beach at Koh Samui, Thailand. Fabio Achilli / Flickr
TAT is making a smart move, as long as the agency does not allow social media to drive all their initiatives. Plenty of people who spend big money in the country don’t care about Facebook and Twitter.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is improving its information-technology system to track tourist behaviours via online media in a bid to build a tourist database.
Called TAT Social Customer Relationship Management (TAT Social CRM), the program uses a tourist database to create marketing plans and enhance their implementation.
Silachai Surai, executive director of the TAT’s IT office, said research agencies were hired to survey tourist behaviours, but this took a year to finish, which was too long and prevented use of the information for its marketing campaigns.
“Online media is dominating the Thai tourism industry, and this makes it difficult for marketers to predict trends due to evolving technology,” he said.
Silachai: Online media the new wave
The TAT will collect the data through its monthly events and its website.
The advantage of online media is it can help the agency to conduct research in other countries through its 27 international offices, providing insight into potential foreign visitors so the TAT can craft international campaigns.
The tourism agency wants to understand how to satisfy visitors so they will return to the country through loyalty programmes such as special tour packages to new tourist attractions.
The database can be shared with stakeholders including other government agencies and private travel agencies.
Thailand has set an ambitious target of generating 2.2 trillion baht in tourism revenue by 2015.
Mr Silachai said Singapore and Australia are using a similar programme to enhance their own marketing campaigns and claim a larger market share of international tourists.
Initially, the TAT plans to collect information on 100,000 respondents in its database. This year it projects 24.5 million foreign tourists will visit Thailand.