We are a tourism marketing agency specialized in the implementation of technological processes, marketing, communication and PR for the tourism industry in Latin America. We are known as a team with passion and commitment. Honesty, loyalty and humbleness are aspects that identify each and every member of our team. Qualities like those are what makes Berry Whale stand out from the rest.
dot Travel Domains: What does Berry Whale do?
Sjoukje Van Alst: Basically, we are a marketing, communication, public relations and technological development agency specialized in the tourism sector in Latin America.
dot Travel: What is your main identity? And your values?
S. Van Alst: We could say that what characterizes us is an absolute understanding of each of the sub-sectors of the tourism industry in terms that have over time accumulated significant experience. We believe in passionate commitment, integration and diversity, and consider travel as an essential part to the enrichment of the life of all human beings.
dot Travel: Let’s talk about the products or services that are most in demand.
S. Van Alst: The development of technology platforms for the Internet (websites, microsites, landing pages) accessible from desktops and mobile devices and also the conceptualization, design and development of mobile applications. In a different line, the development of creative thinking, advertising design and planning and hiring advertising agencies for the marketing campaigns of tourism brands are other examples of the lines of services most in demand.
dot Travel: You are today the leading tourism marketing agency in Latin America. How have you obtained this leadership? How do you complete the job in three different venues?
S. Van Alst: We believe in treating each project as if it were the first and only opportunity we have to make it excellent. The rest is to try to understand what the upcoming trends are, correctly interpret the points where the products and services of our customers connect with their target audiences, select a work force that is prepared and with the ability to learn easily. We would end it by adding that consistency and determination are key attitudes as well. In each location we have specialized teams in different areas of knowledge and although there is an operational independence we always try to combine skills and the experience of the work forces.
dot Travel: What trends and developments are impacting the tourism industry today?
S. Van Alst: There are several trends currently impacting the tourism industry today, I can list some of them below. We are noticing a change in trend in relation to travelers preferring to use the dot-com websites of tourism providers (hotels, airlines, car rental, tours, etc.) to an OTA for online reservations. Young people are experimenting with new formats for their holidays, for example we see a growing demand for cruises among “millennials”. The tendency to enjoy holidays with friends or family for short periods or stays in destinations that are close to where the travellers live is surprising, this happens in almost all parts of the world.
Travelers with a high purchasing power are increasingly willing to plan their own trips, hire their own providers and choose options based on information from websites with reviews and online comments. Finally, without a doubt the great phenomena to observe will be the performance of collaborative economy systems in tourism and how the concept of video streaming in real time and augmented reality are applied to the marketing of travel experiences.
dot Travel: What do customers appreciate? What do they need?
S. Van Alst: Our customers need a value plan with competitive prices, unique, intelligent and emotional creativity, on time delivery and verifiable results.
dot Travel: An adequate tourism promotion strategy requires having an attractive and effective website as it is the first medium tourists use to search for information. How does your website differentiate itself?
S. Van Alst: In principle, it is necessary to present a web platform that can be seen and you can navigate on any type of device. Under this principle the next important step is to establish what the key information a potential customer wants to know is and in a way, showing well organized and prioritized content contributes to a user experience that can change into a business opportunity for the agency. The findability factor from the various internet search engines for a company like ours is essential, therefore, we made a major effort to “write” on the site the main combinations of keywords that a potential customer uses to obtain the services of a tourism marketing agency.
dot Travel: Based on your background and experience, what conditions must an official website fulfill to have a good quality index and be a guarantee for success? How do you improve and optimize online promotion?
S. Van Alst: The website of a destination is the leading digital asset of the tourism brand and on the other hand we know that today much of the content in each of the stages of the travel cycle rests on a mobile device. Given that reality, it is essential to know the tourist and understand what their interests are to be able to offer an immersive and unique experience in the destination for each person by automating the processes of communication and digital marketing before, during and after the visit on the official website for tourism promotion.
Other elements to consider are:
Translate the site in native mode to as many languages as possible.
Present the local culture and customs at the center of the stage.
Show the quality and warmth of the human factor in the destination travel experience.
Demonstrate safety, comfort and quality in the means of transportation available at the destination.
We, at Berry Whale, have some rules when designing an internet platform for a tourist destination:
1. To minimize and reduce the graphical elements in the design interface.
2. Content that tends to educate and raise awareness.
3. Efforts to provide confidence and closeness to the visitor.
4. Development of creative thinking aimed at differentiate the destination from the other existing competitive options on the market.
5. Organize information and knowledge of the destination by interest groups of tourists.
6. Minimize to 0 the chances of failure in navigation on the platform from any device.
7. Understand the processes involved in the travel cycle and display useful information and resources based on the context of the potential traveler’s decision-making.
8. Invest in servers and content distribution networks on the internet so that loading times and publication of the contents of the portal are ultrafast.
9. Entice with an authentic and original story.
10. Design a unique site from the visual aspect.
dot Travel: How and when did you find out about .travel and began to work with us? What has been the development?
S. Van Alst: We learned about this type of domain a while ago. However, the redesign of our identity motivated us to think that the berrywhale.travel domain could become the main domain of our organization.
dot Travel: Choosing the right domain/brand on the internet is the first step to success online. What are the main advantages .travel domains offer currently running websites?
S. Van Alst: I think this .travel domain allows tourism businesses to generate a stronger bond and differentiation within the industry as it makes it easier for the user to identify the brand as part of the travel and tourism segment on the internet.
dot Travel: How has .travel helped to position your page as a solid tool to deliver a message or present a product to your audience?
S. Van Alst: The domain berrywhale.travel is increasing the level of organic traffic coming from Internet search engines.