Liz Ward is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tourism Tribe and has worked in technology and tourism for most of her career. Liz started in digital strategy and digital marketing when working for Tourism and Events Queensland. Later, Liz went on to project manage the development of the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW), subsequently taking the reins as the CEO of ATDW for 10 years. I was excited to chat with Liz this week, to discuss two of my favourite topics, technology and tourism.
Training Solutions for Tourism Operators
Throughout her career, Liz has noticed that issues around the implementation of digital innovations often arose when dealing with under resourced and time-poor, small business owners. These business owners would attend training sessions and get excited about the possibilities new technology provided. However, once returning to work, business owners had neither the time nor manpower for implementation. A desire to provide training solutions, coupled with a longing to truly understand the experience of being a small business owner, led Liz to co-found her own business, Digital Coaching International. From there, Liz and her business partner created a platform called Tourism Tribe. Tourism Tribe provides free and paid training solutions for small and medium tourism businesses. Time poor business owners can use the digital training solutions to stay on top of new technology. This is done through a series of online workshops, interactive webinars, courses, face-to-face training and implementation support packages.
Co-Founding a Successful Business
Liz attributes the growth of her business to a successful business partnership with co-founder Fabienne Wintle. Liz shares that a positive collaboration can really make a big difference to any business. Fabienne strengths are digital integration, website building and assisting small tourism-based businesses understand the online world. Liz possesses strengths in empathy, strategy development and implementation, customer relationships and people management. A sixteen-year gap in age has proven an additional advantage, bringing together an advanced level of technological adaptability balanced with experience that only time can yield. Liz describes her business partnership to be like a hand and a glove that fit really well.
Digital Savvy Small Business Owners
Over the last five years, Liz has noticed that small business owners are becoming more digital savvy. Not so long ago, a large percentage of tourism operators didn’t know what webinars were. Or would never have considered completing an online course. These days, small business owners are embracing online platforms and forums, as a convenient way to learn new skills and get support.
Liz stresses the importance of keeping up with the latest developments and trends, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Statistics suggest that two thirds of marketing is not actually carried out by marketers. Instead, it’s created by consumers sharing their experience. Small business owners can take advantage of this by being active on social media and review platforms. Liz explains how business owners can introduce automation into their marketing strategies. This allows them to build stronger relationships with consumers, and offer a more personalised customer experience.
Also, on this week’s episode, Adrian and Liz discuss:
- Liz’s career in the tourism industry
- Personalising the customer experience
- Having the right marketing mix
- Automated email marketing systems
- Connecting with the ideal customer, in the right way, on the right channels
- The growth in online messaging
- Data collection and the role data plays in personalisation
- Reducing our travel carbon footprint
- Putting the customer at the centre of decision making
- The importance of feedback and online reviews
- Trust funnels
- Loving what you do in life