Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

By Lindsey Dietz, MBA Class of 2012

Cambodia has a strong tourism industry despite its troubles past. A temple complex outside of the city of Siem Reap is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site. Angkor Archaeological Park stretches over 248 square miles. UNESCO claims the area is “one of the most important archaeological sites inSouth-East Asia.” The area contains ruins and temples from the Khmer empire dating from the 9th to 15th century. Some of the notable temples include Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm.

Ankgor Wat

Ta Prohm

The presence of these temples has created a renewed interest in the region and a vibrant tourism industry. The influx of tourists has created an array of new businesses opportunities including restaurants, hotels, handcrafts, transpiration and guide services. Locals in Siem Reap can complete a four-year tourist degree and certifications to become guides. The question becomes how to reach international audiences as an independent local guide.

The cost of internet in Cambodia is high and the prices for website development are extravagant. One of the students in my marketing class in Cambodia spent $6,000 on a basic website with few design elements. This may not seem that high but when you consider that nearly 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day it is outrageous. Only the wealthiest citizens can afford to develop a website. The costs are high because the market for web design is so low. Few people have the expertise to develop websites and they command a significant premium. However, the need for locals to reach out to the world is increasing with tourism despite the financial restraints. Economic constraints is one of the elements adding to the digital divide in Cambodia that I discussed in my previous blog. In addition the global nature of the tourism industry requires locals to access their customers. The customers for most Cambodian tour companies are online.

I was a tourist for a week while I was in Cambodia. I spent my days touring ruins and pretending to be Laura Croft from Tomb Raider. Yes, I looked ridiculous but it felt great to use my imagination to become a well armed and beautiful explorer. My travel plans were developed by a friend so I didn’t actually do the due diligance of finding a guide service on my own. However, I would have use a google browser to search one out. I was lucky enough to have been set up with a guide through word of mouth. A friend of a friend had recommended someone for me.

My guide in Siem Reap, named Darith Touch, understands the significance of a web presence and saved enough money to have his own website developed. His web address is http://www.smiles-of-angkor.com/. Strange thing is, I didn’t know about his website until I was already in Cambodia on a tour with him. This defeats the purpose of his site in my opinion but Darith is ahead of the game with a website as most guides work through a larger service or hotel recommendations. Darith is at a disadvantage because he is not backed by a larger organization and is competing with some wealthy established players.

Darith Touch, Tour Guide

Darith is a fantastic guide that wants to increase his clients (sales). His website is a way for him to do this. Darith has no educational background in web design and has had no knowledge of analytics, search engine optimization or even search preferences of international clients looking for a guide service or planning a trip to Cambodia. He has never had the opportunity to take an e-marketing class as we are doing now.

I would like to help Darith with a website evaluation, suggestions and perhaps insight into an e-marketing plan. Darith is a fantastic local English-speaking guide that is competing against large international organizations for business with no budget. Our expertise are invaluable to him. Please help me by providing feedback on his website and suggestions on how to increase web traffic. We have a great opportunity to put our knowledge to work.

What design elements on Darith’s website are positive? What may need to change?

What are some examples of objectives for Darith’s e-marketing?

What should his e-marketing strategy be?