Via Zoom on 25th September 2021 from 9am – 5pm
The Tourism Value Chain of EFECS, a 02-years pilot programme conducted in the Northern Province launched “The Real North” initiative in September 2020 with the intention of assisting the affected SMEs by boosting Domestic Tourism in the post pandemic era. Line of activities carried out in terms of Training, Digital Promotions as well as exclusive Content Creations to promote the province among global and local travellers and investors.
EFECS assisted the ASMET (Association of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Tourism) to establish a central office in Vavuniya to initiate domestic tourism in North and to be expanded to the international tourists with the global recovery. Parallelly, the project supported to revamp the ASMET website www.asmetsrilanka.com to enhance its brand image.
Additionally, the project sponsored 25 Travel Agent members of ASMET to conduct 03 months social media campaign directed through their individual Facebook, Instagram and programmatic directed to their individual brand.coms. This campaign was exclusively design to build the awareness of Real North through the selected travel agents’ platforms which was helped to keep the affected travel agents social media pages alive during this pandemic time. The campaign is successfully ongoing with one of the most popular creative and social media agencies, Triad Pvt Limited.
In order to improve the knowledge on the Digital Marketing, EFECS organised an online programme for selected SME travel agents for those who are in connected with Northern Tourism on 25th September 2021 from 9am – 5pm via Zoom. The programme was conducted by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) which is the National Marketing Body of Sri Lanka established by the government to develop the skills of the marketing fraternity in Sri Lanka. There were 25 participants including 19 SME travel agents attended this forum.
The morning session was conducted by Mr. Nawoda Perera who is an award-winning digital media professional with longstanding experience in the digital industry including digital planning, strategies, social content, and agency operations. He is currently linked with number of leading global and local brands in the hospitality, fintech, banking, insurance, and FMCG sectors. He is currently contributing for the Digital Marketing Promotions of Sri Lanka Tea Board who is the no. 01 ranked digital spender of Sri Lanka.
Understanding the gap of knowledge regarding social media as the majority of entrepreneurs are reluctant to invest on Digital marketing, the session was completely focused on the social media promotional mechanism, how it can be used for awareness building and importance of connecting with the existing clientele even during a time there are no active sales happening. He emphasised the importance of social media into the sales growth as well as their importance in attracting effective clientele. He explained the current situation of Sri Lanka’s Digital Landscape while bringing live examples on digital to the audience. Ultimately the participants were able to gain a better understanding on the importance of Digital Marketing as well as the methods of customer engagement with the use of social media contents effectively.
The evening session was conducted by Mr. Charana Randeni who is one of the most experienced Digital trainers with hands on experience in Performance Marketing, Marketing Automation, eCommerce, and Social Media Marketing. Starting from 99X, he has worked across tech, start-up building and travel trades as an expert in inbound lead generation through marketing automation and performance marketing. This session was an interactive session with more technical knowledge sharing. The session explained the key pillars of Digital Marketing Plan providing an idea on how to develop an efficient and effective plan which is workable for the travel industry in future. It was further explained about the top channels of Digital Advertising and how to create a solid inbound digital strategy. The discussion on Search Engine Optimisation as well as the Facebook and Instagram boosting was attracted by the audience and the trainer were able to resolve a large number of practical issues highlighted by the SMEs during this programme.
“It was a very successful event, and we learnt many insights which we could use for our future marketing efforts. The two presenters were very professional, knowledgeable and the event was very interactive and thanks for arranging such an event” said Mr. M. U. Lantra, Managing Director of Exciting Travel Holidays in a post comment.
“The workshop was very informative, and we were able to acquire valuable insights of digital marketing activities. Hereby, we would like to thank Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing & The Real North for organizing the workshop” said Ms. Nethmi Anjana, Assistant Marketing Manager of Tropical Asia Tours who attended the event.
“Thank you for organizing such an informative session which I really learned a lot of digital marketing tactics and depth during the workshop which we could adopt soon. Big Thank you EFECS and the moderators for organising this timely workshop. Look forward such more forums in near future” stated Mr Sampath Mendis, Director, Deluxe Vacations Pvt Limited in a post comment.
“Firstly, many thanks for organizing this webinar. As an SME business we are not always able to outsource these services and knowing how to develop, manage and make the most of our social media platforms by ourselves is valuable insight. The two presenters were very knowledgeable and their commitment in conducting a 3-hour session without a break was much appreciated. The content was useful for getting a sense of the potential of social media platforms. Understandably there was limited time to discuss detailed plans & options for DMCs specifically. We thank the whole team for the organization of the webinar” commented Ms. Mutiara Tegal, Director, Paradise Holidays at the end of the programme.
Ultimately the session was able to improve the knowledge on Website and social media (FB & IG) for a better promotion of Tourism and Investment. The importance of having updated contents and the practical aspects of uploading contents into social media promotions were explained. Similarly, an improved knowledge on Monitoring and Evaluation of Digital activities to generate better ROIs and prepare annual digital marketing budgets for business would be able to drive these SMEs into their expected heights.
The overall training and capacity building programmes under the EFECS pilot programme were concluded with this programme. “It is indeed a very fruitful session on Digital Marketing and the decision of the project of conducting such programme is actually sensible. Because this would help these assisted SMEs to drive their promotions further even after the project operations. Although, we do have very limited funds for capacity building, Northern Province Tourism Bureau would like to continue these good practices with the assistance of the government as well as the trade” said Mr. Stanley Mascarenhas, Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau after attending the overall workshop online.