Hospitality Malta 02 - Page 35

From the MTA Chief Executive Officer Managing Reputation: the key to continued success In 2016, a new record was reached with almost two million tourists visiting the Maltese Islands to experience the sights, the lifestyle, and the warm hospitality that our nation is renowned for. This success follows in the footsteps of six successive years of record growth, and 2017 shows all the hallmarks of yet another record year for Maltese tourism. A s tourist volumes and tourism ac- tivity increase, not only in terms of absolute numbers but also by spreading throughout the year and onto localities previously un- tapped by tourism, the question arises as to how a growing destina- tion can ensure that success does not lead to a deterioration in visi- tor experience. There is no simple HOSPITALITY MALTA answer to this question. But what is certain is that Reputation Man- agement is one of the keys that the tourism industry can utilise to en- sure that these remarkable results are maintained. Reputation can be viewed as a form of assessment of either a destina- tion or a business’ behaviour and performance. Reputations have to be continually earned and re- viewed, and as such, need constant monitoring and attention. Repu- tation management is the effort to respond to and shape the conversa- tion around consumer experiences. While price remains a primary consideration for travellers, pub- lished online ratings and reviews are close behind when it comes to consumer conversion: prompting information which travellers seek before pressing the ‘buy’ button on their smart device. SEPTEMBER | 2017 33