In winter 2016 marketing consultants Julie Thorner and Sam Voolstra visited most members of the Tibet Eco Travel Collective to answer questions they had about marketing and business development.

Most of the session focussed on online marketing. We reviewed their websites and other online marketing efforts, discussed the use of analytics and SEO to improve their ranking, and looked at online review sites and other online marketing platforms.

Since the domestic market continues to grow rapidly, most of the members are now also marketing to the Chinese market. The younger agents are very creative with using WeChat and other social media to reach out to the Chinese traveller market.

It is more challenging for the more traditional agencies who initially got most of their clients from international travel agencies. They now have to adept to the changing travel market with less international tour groups and more individual online bookings. The decrease of the number of foreign visitors to Tibet is also forcing them to reach out to the domestic market and change their marketing accordingly.

The members requested more marketing training focussing on improving website ranking and creative use of social media and review sites.